Monday, 4 January 2016

NZ: Auckland

As expected, the internet connection here is shocking!!! In Amy's house it was good but hostel wifi just isn't cutting's the long awaited Auckland post minus any photos :(  However you can look at the pics I put on my Instagram instead here and a crappy google photos album here (internet isn't strong enough to upload any from my posh camera)

After a hectic moving back home session, a lovely Christmas filled with lots of food and board games and family time, and an emotional farewell at Heathrow, I boarded my million hour flight to Auckland.  As per usual my hand luggage got searched, nothing suspicious found and I was on my way!

The flights were fairly uneventful apart from Dubai to Brisbane, which was delayed by an hour and a half as the guy in the aisle next to me was having some sort of fit and hyperventilating and sweating profusely. Was all a bit scary - turns out he was diabetic and was waiting for the sugar to kick in but it was taking it's time...they removed him and his wife from the flight for medical assistance just as he was recovering and pleading to be allowed to stay on the plane but they weren't taking any risks. I felt very sorry for them both!!

Anyway spending 30 odd hours on a plane really isn't fun and I don't want to see a plane let alone sit on one for a while now!

Amy picked me up and we headed back to hers where I had a much needed shower.  We then headed out again, picked up her friend Steph on the way and drove to Cornwall Park to do a little walk up to the top of One Tree Hill (a bit different to our one tree hill Dan!), which used to have a tree on it but it got cut down and now there's a monument at the the top of it instead.  On the way back down I slipped and cut my toe - first holiday injury! It's always my feet I end up hurting.  Must look after them better.

We had a burger for dinner from BurgerFuel which was delicious, everything else was shut as it was a bank holiday, and had an earlyish night.  Surprisingly neither of us have had any jet lag!

On day 2, Amy got up and went to work and I had a bit of a lie in before walking into the CBD to join a walking tour.  It was very informative and I learnt that New Zealand is so called because the guy who discovered it was Dutch and he named it after the Dutch provence Zeelant.  I met a guy called Merritt on the tour and we went for lunch then he joined me on the ferry across to Devonport, which is a little inlet over the harbour.  We walked up Mount Victoria and North Head to get views of Auckland from across the bay, turns out he's a US Marine and didn't break a sweat as we walked up as I was huffing and puffing and barely able to speak - bit embarrassing!   He then dropped me off at Steph's house and we spent the evening eating and drinking and talking and it was really nice and made me feel quite at home. Ahhh.

As we were getting ready for bed that night we heard a squeaking noise that got more persistent coming from the corner of Amy's room - it was a bit freaky and we I spent an hour taking everything out of Amy's desk as she cowered in the corner, doing it very tentatively incase a huge animal jumped out at us. Such babies.  After taking everything out the desk and giving it a good shake, we heard a very distressed squeal then silence, so assumed we had killed whatever it was....until we turned the lights off and is started again. WEIRD.  We still haven't discovered what it is and have decided it is a mouse stuck in the walls which we can't do anything about.

I spent the next day wandering round Auckland, I went to the art gallery by Albert Park which was OK, and walked to Silo Park to do a geocache that mum had worked out back home.  It was a nanocache attached to a bench and there were 5 of them, one of them occupied by a man eating his dinner.  As luck would have it, turned out that was the bench I needed so I had to saunter around and make myself look busy whilst surreptitiously checking the metal of all of the benches for the nanocache. Must have looked well dodgy.

On day 3 I caught the ferry to Rangitoto and walked up to the top, where you get brilliant views across Auckland and the surrounding islands.  It was a really warm day and I am pretty pink even though I used loads of sun lotion!!! If you find yourself in Auckland then I would recommend this as it's a pretty walk and the views are rewarding.

Back home Amy took me to the bank so I could get myself a NZ account in case I decide to do any work.  We then headed round Stef's house where we made dinner and chilled out before joining Ryan and Pat at a house party nearby to see in the new year.  It was pretty low key and good fun but I did feel a pang of sadness not spending it with friends back home!!

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