Life at the research station was becoming routine. One of the things Laetitia missed most was the absence of the fresh vegetables that she used to get at Hibernia’s farmers’ markets. Considering that most of the food at the research station was freeze-dried, canned or frozen, it was reasonably good. There were occasional exceptions like those tasteless miniature pizzas that the staff dubbed “pizza pucks” or “death disks.” Having a few hours of time off, Laetitia sat on her bunk, closed her eyes and soon was in the Emerald Victorian’s library with a fresh cup of coffee planning the day’s tour. She chose Dunedin, New Zealand.
Founded by settlers from the Free Church of Scotland in 1848, Dunedin is now the New Zealand’s seventh largest city. Its name comes from Scottish Gaelic. Dùn Èideann
was the historic name for Edinburgh. That the spiritual leader of the group was Reverend Thomas Burns, a nephew of Robert Burns, likely accounts for the large statue of the Scottish bard in the Octagon, Dunedin’s City Center. Shortly after the settlement’s founding at the head of Otago Harbour, gold discovered in nearby Gabriel’s Gully led to rapid growth of the city. It soon became a thriving metropolis with an international population.
Laetitia began her tour by taking her group to see Dunedin’s ornate railway station, built in 1906. Then they went to Baldwin Street. Guinness World Records deemed it “World’s Steepest Street.” It is 1,150 feet long and has a 35% grade. Afterwards, they rode the Taieri Gorge Railway. The excursion train follows the canyon of the Taieri River between Dunedin and Middlemarch. En route the train passes over twelve viaducts and through ten tunnels. Laetitia circulated among the train passengers. Among others, she talked to a honeymooning couple from St. George, Queensland, Australia. At a moment when almost everyone on board was looking at scenery that was particularly stunning, Laetitia noticed that both slipped into one of the lavatories. They remained in there for a long time with the door locked. This observation and a little imagination spawned the limerick of the day.
A couple that hailed from St. George
Found libido soon burgeoned so large
That they could not refrain
Though they were on a train
That was climbing through Taieri Gorge.