Thursday, October 4, 2018

Tongariro National Park, and, of course, Chateau Tongariro


Chateau Tongariro is an elegant place to stay at any time of the year, but for us people who live in a more temperate climate, the idea of staying on a chalet in winter has a certain appeal to it
The day we visited it was 6 degrees Celsius outside, but lot higher inside.

Passing through the front door you are greeted by the sounds of Shirley Bassey pounding out Goldfinger, a James Bond theme, in a way kind of fitting for the scenery, the snow, and the implied idea that action will be happening.

A car chase, sleds being pulled by Huskies across the snow-covered tundra, gunshots, and not the least of which, glamour.

Pity today is not that day.


It's not snowing, it's raining.

There's no snow on the tundra, and the Chateau is surrounded by low lying cloud making it impossible to see the snow covered mountains, that certain look and appeal of being in Russia, you know, those snow-peaked mountains that the Beatles sang about in 'Back to the USSR'.

We came earlier in the week when the skies were blue, there were no clouds, and the snow covered mountains were clear to see.

For a building built in 1928, it is both showing its age and holding it's old world charm.


Right down to the 1920's style big band music that had replaced the more risque James Bond themes, in amongst a few other 1940's movie musical themes such as 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow', by Judy Garland.

But, like our previous visits, we are here for the High Tea.

For the British in that period between the world wars, high tea was an occasion, especially in the colonies like Singapore and Hong Kong.

Of course, originally High Tea was a treat for the upper class, used as a mini meal between lunch and dinner which was, for them, quite often at 8pm.  So, traditionally, it was set between 3:30 and 5:00 pm.  Moving out of the 1800's it became a treat also for the middle classes, but post WW2, it came into its own where everyone was able to partake in it.

Depending on where you go, each establishment has its own variety of teas, and their own variation on cakes, pastries, scones, and sandwiches.

Me, I'm kind of boring, and prefer the Earl Grey, though I've been known to try something more exotic from time to time.  Today, it is Earl Grey.

I love the cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches.  Good thing no one else does.

Scones come with jam and cream.  In England, they come with clotted cream.  Sometimes I just eat the cream with a small spoon.

As for the cakes or pastries, maybe not today.

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