Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Next Best Thing

As we got into the Big Sur area on Highway 1, the coastal drive slowly transformed from beautiful to fantastic to stunning. "Is this what New Zealand looks like?" Sarah asked.

Good question. More than anything it reminded me of the drive along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia, which was pretty amazing. I tried to think of comparable experiences in New Zealand, and first came up with the cliffs and water color around Takapuna and Long Bay--it wasn't too much of a jump to imagine Big Sur with bright red pohutukawas dotting the hills. I also made some mental connections to Cape Reinga, Abel Tasman National Park, and the Coromandel Penninsula. But really, no matter what I tried, Big Sur just doesn't quite compare to any of them.

But it tries. And it comes so close.

There are beautiful coastlines:

Cool plants and beautiful flowers everywhere:

Even some koru:

I guess until I can get the courage (and my loans paid off) to move back to New Zealand, weekends in Big Sur will have to do. Luckily, it seemed to know how much I miss Godzone and sent me a little message that the California coast will be a sufficient surrogate: On our last night, we stopped for sunset drinks at Nepenthe, a restaurant that overlooks the ocean. There, on the wine list, was my favorite NZ wine, Spy Valleny sauvignon blanc. It's one of the few things that I will happily use the food miles for, but I haven't been able to find it in the US. But there it was, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

Thank you, Big Sur. Nothing will ever be New Zealand, but this certainly makes a pretty good second best.

1 comment:

Jaya said...

You found Spy Valley sav on this side of the Pacific? Bloody brilliant!

Now if we can just get the Brookline Trader Joe's to carry it.