Well, here we are enjoying a Napier summer. We arrived on Sunday afternoon and checked into our seafront hotel, where Trailfinders had booked us a room at the front, and so we look out from the fifth floor at a South Pacific of quite unbelievable turquoise. We chose Napier as a stopping place as it sits on Hawke's Bay, home to New Zealand's. red wine industry. Yesterday we spent going from one winery to another, at each one being offered tastings of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay to prove that they also make excellent whites, followed by Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah. At a couple of wineries we were ALSO offered a late harvest, sweet Cabernet Sauvignon, produced as a dessert wine. We visited six wineries in total, so even though I did a lot of spitting, I had a gentle, warm glow for the ride back to the hotel.
We chose Napier, as I say, pretty much by chance, so it was a bonus to discover the city's other claim to fame as an Art Deco city. On the 3rd February of 1931, around one o'clock in the afternoon, a devastating earthquake which lasted for three minutes, flattened the town. When things had settled down seismically the decision was taken to rebuild on the same site, but also to build a city that would be a monument to those who had been killed or injured. They chose the then very much in vogue Art Deco style. In the USA, home to Art Deco, construction was virtually at a standstill - rather like Spain today - as the country was in the grip of the Great Depression. Napier can justly claim to be the world's foremost Art Deco city. A fascinating place to walk around.

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