Life is so tough when you are locked into the hotel bar 20-12-2017A tough 40 kilometres took me to a hamlet called Studholme. On the way, I passed a major milestone, the 45th parallel, halfway between the South Pole and the Equator. I would have to find a way to celebrate that night!Looking for a place to camp in Studholme I asked the security guard of the Fonterra milk processing plant if I could pitch my tent on a nearby patch of grass. Instead, he pointed me down a laneway towards The Studholme Hotel.
When I said I might stop in there for a plate of chips he obliged by ringing on ahead for me. I was greeted at the door by Sarah, the duty manager. What transpired was nothing short of amazing. My bangers 'n' mash dinner was on the house. Just before she locked up and went home she gave me a key to a hotel room. She had phoned Sam, the owner who invited me to stay a couple more nights. I could launder my clothes and I had a great time for the three nights I was locked in there lol! I was told to help myself to whatever drinks in the bar that I wanted! Locked in a bar for three nights. Well, I'm not much of a drinker, even still this was amazing hospitality.
Previously, the hotel was owned by the same Russian company that used to own the dairy plant. I was told that every few years that the owners had to get certificates of compliance that they weren't making too much noise and a nuisance of themselves to neighbours. To avoid hassle the Russians just bought up all of the surrounding properties near the plant. It's been refurbished and the rich wallpaper classic style fittings and antique furniture make the hotel a truly boutique-style country pub.I walked 21 kilometres without my baggage and then I thumbed my way back to the hotel. The driver was a Russian who has been living here for 17 years and before that, he lived in Germany. He mentioned (what many Russians told me when I was there) that much to the contrary to what many people believe, that Russians have always been free to leave their country. Even during hard-line communist times. However, he plans to go back to take up a land allotment scheme where the Russian government offers people free land in areas that they want to populate, like in Siberia.Back at the hotel, Sam had a delicious lamb shank dinner waiting for me. Thanks so much to him for his wonderful kindness.He chatted about his other business. He also runs a couple of trips per year where groups of about 15 couples get their kicks driving Mustangs across the historic American Route 66 highway See www.gilligansroute66.com
, once again I thumbed a ride out to where I finished the day before. This time with a man called Rory Foley. His company raises money for a cancer charity. They have a unique approach to scaring people with their company called 'Fear NZ' Impressive Events. They put on a range of haunting games and shows. So I tramped out just under 20 kilometres as far as Timaru and thumbed my way back to the Studholme Hotel.