Festival beginning along the waterfront plaza in Wellington
Saturday, Mar 12, 2011:
A marvelous night of deep sleep.......in a great bed inside our little efficiency apt. which we had for lastnight. It was a wonderful place, we fixed a lite supper and watched the tellie showing the horrible pictures of the tsunami that happened there after the 8.9 earthquake. Then....later in the evening they issued the tsunami watches for New Zeland, but.....we were not to fear as we were in the south center of the north island, about 120 km north of Wellington.
This morning.....a few waves had been a bit higher than normal on the northern tip of the island.....but no problems. As far as the rest of this day....I know nothing as we were traveling and sight-seeing all day.
We left Sanson about 9AM.......and since it was 120KM....about 72 miles.....it took us a bit over two hours to make the drive. These roads.....well, 60 mph is the maximum....and, THAT is difficult to maintain as the road goes through the center of each little town and village.....a great way to see how these smaller communities live, but not too good if you want to make a bit of time. Four lanes motorways are almost nonexistent
The bay front along the waterfront of the city
here......and with the high amount of traffic going up and down this main artery from the north to the south tip of the island......it can make for some harrowing driving. Especially when I am driving on the opposite side of the road......soooo damn difficult to judge where the left side of the car actually is on the road!!!!! Funny....I don't have problem when driving in the states with the right side of the car.....but I sure as hell do over here.
We arrived in the Wellington area a bit after 11AM......after taking a small detour into Plimmerton to check on a backpacker hostel.....to see if they had any rooms available for just tonight. I drove around, up and down, along the cliffs and hills through residential areas looking for this place, and finally gave up, found a wide section of this narrow street and called them. NOPE....no room at the inn(hostel).
Soooo, on down the road and into Wellington.....WHEW!!!!! What a tightening of my sagging ass when I drove down into the city center....OMG!!! Not an easy task, especially when I had no damn idea of where we going, other than we were attempting to get to the
The Te Pap National Museum in Wellington
Information center. One way streets, no street runs parallel to another one....all in various angles and triangular intersections.....and on a Saturday afternoon when there was a special festival going down in the city center along the waterfront!!!!!! After locating the information center, then I had to locate a place to park......found a parking garage but couldn't reach it at first for the one-streets and.....for my inability to drive very easily on the WRONG side of the damn street. Biggest problems are turning the corners....and remembering just which side of the street I am supposed....repeat, SUPPOSED to be driving on. However......with the 1st Lady navigating with maps in her hand, her pushing back and gripping the door when I would make a tiny mistake......like just being on the wrong side of the street.....little things like that......but, we did finally get parked!!!
A few worries mentally about leaving everything in the trunk of the car with the damn Apex Rental Cars plastered on the rear window, but we left it with a quiet pat of the trunk and a blowing kiss to Sunny. The information office had to be found again on foot....and, OMG........we had to navigate through a fun-filled plaza
Te Papa Museum
The largest giant squid ever captured....now being shown in this encasement.
where there was an arts festival underway......sponsored by the local gay organizations!! Yep......it was such, such fun.....HAHA......the dancing, the drag queens, the hundreds and hundreds of straight people all enjoying the entertainments as well as the arts, food stalls, crafts, books, etc., etc. We loved it.....and we finally emerged on the other side by the information office.
Taking a number, we waited patiently.....and finally got to sit down at the desk with a really nice young lady. Asking about backpacker hostels here in the city center....she called around and found one that had a room for two, along with this wonderful FREE WIFI!!!!! Only $72 for the night and parking garages were close by!!! Yep.....we told her to make the reservation and soooo....we now had a place to lay our graying heads for the night. Always....always a tiny bit of concern about not having a secure place for the night at a price we want to pay......but, so far....everything has worked perfectly!!!
Sooooo, I bought a cup of dark coffee......really, really hot.....and we walked back through the growing number of people at the festival, enjoying the folks, the entertainment again.....and having a great time. Walking on around the
waterfront where there is sooooo much to do, to see, to enjoy......we then went Te Papa....the national museum of New Zealand. WOW.....a wonderful place in such an incredible building....brand new.....and soooooo many wonderful things to see, to read, to experience about the life and culture of not only the Maori people who were here "first", but about the grown of the people in this wonderful island nation.
From there, we went up the cable car ride to a beautiful scenic overlook of the city of Wellington, as well as the bay and the mts. on the other side of the bay. A great view....a walk through some of the botanical gardens....and then some of the view was really enjoyable. Back down we went...and then walked along the hundreds of unique shops and stores and cafes to find a place to eat.
After several hours there, we went for a late lunch......VERY late. Once again....made it lite....and enjoyable. Then we walked to the hostel......in a tall building with many floors, all filled with young and old alike.......checking in, getting set up in the kitchen area where they allow food to be cooked/shared and an internet area with library beside
it. Met several young people from Germany, England, etc., etc.......as this is the preferred way of traveling by the youth sub-culture of today's travelers. We checked in.....returned to our car parked in the garage and then began the struggle to get the car over to the hostel area and locate another garage. FINALLY, it was done.....and we took only what necessary items we needed for overnight into the hostel. A very clean room with bunk beds.....been years since I have slept on the top bunk......a desk....and towels for the showers/toilets down the hallway.
And soooo, we are tucked tightly away in the center of Wellington, surrounded by people from around the world, of all ages and descriptions, and the bars and clubs are hopping on Saturday night, just a few feet from this hostel. Right now, it appears most of the younger crowds are gone to the clubs/bars, as it is really quiet in here. However.....I can only imagine what it will be like in a few hours....after midnight.....haha!!! Like being on a band trip or a trip to Europe.....when I took sooooo many young people out and about for their first times away from the home and parents.
And sooooo, we have to be at the ferry by 7:30AM in the morning.....it departs at 8:30 for the 3.5 hour trip over to Picton, on the south island. And.....then off we go around the south island for the next three weeks!!! What fun.....soooo much to see!!! Soooo much to do!!!!
I will put up some pictures after I finish posting this....hopefully!!!! Will get as many as I have time to do with this wifi, which has slowed down as soooo many other use it. However......this day was just soooo great........and, as always
LIFE IS JUST AMAZINGLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also !!!!!
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