Published: January 8th 2009January 8th 2009
The summit - at last!
Well, an interesting few days for us here.
Tuesday was the day of our move into the city, to the Metropolis Apartments. It's a superb building, with some excellent accomodation, so we were a bit disappointed when we arrived and found that instead of a nice harbour view from the 25th floor, as arranged, we were offered a much inferior view of the backs of some buildings. When we saw the manager and expressed our disappointment, we were offered a luxury suite with a nice lounge and separate bedroom, with a lovely view over Albert Park, at the same price as a studio apartment, so all worked out well, and we are here for the next 11 nights. The building also has a pool, sauna, hot tubs and gym, so watch out for the rippling 6-pack when we get back. It's in a very pleasant part of the city, with plenty of restaurants, bars and delicatessens on the doorstep. What we need most though is a trip to the hairdressers; even I need one, you don't think of such things when you plan a long trip like this.
Having settled in, we decided to take a trip the following
day to Rangitoto. I've mentioned it before, it's a volcanic island that forced its way from the sea bed, just off the coast of Auckland, about 600 years ago. That sounds a long time but I suppose in geological terms it was like yesterday. It's always fascinated me so it was nice to have the chance to catch the ferry across to the island and spend the day exploring. Matthew came along with us, and the first thing we did was head for the summit. You can book a trip which takes you up in a truck, but that's for wimps, so we walked it. It's pretty rough terrain, with lumps of lava everywhere, and with a backpack that got heavier by the minute, there were times when I wished we had taken the truck, as we seemed to have chosen the hottest day of the year to do our walk. Matthew leapt up the hill like a mountain goat and got to the summit about 15 minutes before us. I'm going to have a metal rod inserted in my leg too, if that's what it does for you! The views from the top are fantastic.There are several more tracks
Waiting for the ferry
signposted on the way down, including one that took you around the rim of the crater, and another one that takes you through a rocky cave in the dark, so we followed those and eventually got back to the jetty in mid afternoon, shattered, but with the satisfaction of completing a demanding but interesting day. We had earned our beers in O'Carroll's bar that evening, but we retired for an EARLY BATH, the first since we left home!
The following day we decided to have a day at the tennis. There's a big women's tournament on at the moment (That is, a big tournament, not a tournament for large ladies!), featuring a few of the top-ranked world players. Elena Dementieva was there (world no 4), and the top British woman player, Anne Keothavong. Unfortunately all the covered seats had gone, so we had to squat on the concrete seats, on another scorching day, but it wasn't too uncomfortable, the view was excellent and we had an entertaining day's tennis. The crowd had thinned a bit towards the end, so we managed to sneak into the luxury plastic seats in the stand. When Dementieva came on court I could have watched all day the lithe, taut well-formed frame gliding sensually across the court, and that was just her racket (Why? What else could I possibly mean?)
I might have to cut down on photos this week, the internet's a bit expensive here and uploading pictures takes ages, but I'll do my best.