Yesterday, we were coming back from Cardrona, an old gold-diggers town that was turned into an alpine resort (with a heart of gold).
Fluffy snow, breathe-taking landscapes, the kindest people, and delicious evenings at the both comfortable and intriguing legendary Cardrona Hostel.
On the way back, we made a break in Oamaru, the « capital of steampunk ».
Steampunk art seems to be involving a lot of machines using steam and references to the 19th industrial revolution era science.
The visionary and fantasque genius Jules Verne is a great source of inspiration for steampunk artists, as he was able to imagine very striking stories based on the best scientific findings of his time.
But I have sensed visiting the museum that there was also something as a vanity that was being shown, as a « what for? We are transient beings. Time cannot be stopped. Death is ineluctable. »
So, what if the whole of science was, in fact, an aporetic project?
Then, maybe the most beautiful about science would not be in the results of it, in the mastery over
natural forces that it is supposed to provide, but in the dreams, fantasies and poetry it is made of.
The thing I preferred by far in the museum was what they called « the portal ». I’d rather not say more about it as the surprise effect is part of the experience.
Some buildings outside the museum are also worth seeing. More than one hundred years ago lime stone was found in the ground, and some (free-masons?) builders and architects found inspiration from the most beautiful European monuments to erect outstanding constructions such as an opera house that could genuinely belong in majestic Vienna.
On the harbour, we discovered something we had not expected : a colony of blue penguins! After seeing five of them nesting, we could not resist to stay until sunset to see them coming back from the sea and regaining their little houses for a good night sleep.
We sat and waited for the sunset, and about 6 pm, they arrived swimming, went up the beach through the rocks, and then right to their little homes. One arrived first, alone, then two, then groups of 8, 4, 10 … We saw 43! They are the smallest (and probably the cutest) species of penguins in the world. The way they waddle is just too adorable for words, especially when they try and walk very quickly. It accentuates the fun of their move. I wish I could have filmed this … But the light of the phones damages the penguins eyes …
I understand why Walt Disney has added penguins to Travers’ story Mary Poppins, despite her protests. They seem to have the power to trigger joy and exhilaration in us. I could not stop smiling and giggling.
I was so touched by this sanctuary.
It was created for a few penguins that were once threatened … today over 300 of them are thriving in a safe haven.