I feel that I should preface this post “with apologies to Mr Harrison.”
I realise that it also gives the impression that it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter… which it hasn’t, but “short, mild, friend-filled winter” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue the same way. Oh, and we’re already more than a month into spring (if, like me, you have to switch into northern hemisphere equivalents to put seasons into context, we’re at the end of the southern hemisphere equivalent of April, our clocks went forward a month ago).
Facebook’s handy On This Day reminder thingy (also known as Here’s a Reminder of How Much of a Twat You Look When You Update Your Status, Please Stop Doing That) tells me that on this day in 2011, I updated my Rimouski blog (apparently my ability to think up names for blog posts has not improved over the past 6 years… also, 6 years?! What?!). I, of course, took this as a challenge to update my New Zealand blog today. I figured I should finally tell you a little bit about Wellington, seeing as I’ve lived here for 6 months now. Time flies, and all that…
My time here in numbers:
- 6 months since I arrived in Wellington (as of yesterday)
- 4 months until I leave New Zealand (about 3 until I leave Wellington, depending on jobs and such)
- 2 hostels I stayed in during the first month (one very good one, one not so great)
- 2 flats I’ve lived in since May
- 2 jobs I’ve had, I start the third tomorrow
- 5 places I’ve been outside of Wellington since I arrived at the end of April (must do better)
- 45 minutes walk each way to work (ish)
- 4 times I’ve been to Te Papa
- 12 pictures I’ve managed to get of the Wellington Writers’ Walk quotes (I tried to find out how many there are in total, but articles vary between 15 and 23. Apparently, there’s a pamphlet, but I haven’t been able to find one)
- I tried to work out how many times I’ve been out for meals, but that was a losing battle. Let’s say “lots”
My original blog titles for a post about Wellington were “but in Wellington, they call them gumboots” or “if I have to read ‘absolutely positively…’ one more time, I am absolutely positively going to scream” (I’m really not as funny as I think I am). In the end, I decided to take this opportunity to post lots of pictures from Wellington and my two recent weekends away all in one post. This is mainly because it gives me an excuse not to update again until I’ve done something interesting.
Waaay back when I first got here, I went to Te Papa (New Zealand’s national museum) for the first time. They have an exhibition about the battle of Gallipoli with huge, lifelike models made by Weta Workshop. Not only is the exhibition itself very well done and interesting, the models are incredible (and did I mention huge?). It’s probably the one indoor thing that I would recommend to anyone passing through Wellington, especially if it’s on one of our many rainy and/or windy days. Plus, it’s free. Yay!
Speaking of when I first arrived in Wellington, here are some of the pictures I took on my initial wanderings (you know, that one week I had to explore before I got a job. Good times.).
It’s quite strange going through these now. Some sights, like the Circa theatre, Te Papa, the cranes and the Parliament buildings, are now so familiar that I barely notice them. Others, like the cable car, I’ve only done the once. I walk down by the waterfront several times a week, so that harbour view is now quite normal, though it never gets old. In fact, here are some of the pictures I took along the waterfront yesterday (the perfect Saturday – sunshine, ice cream, lunch, and cocktails in the afternoon).
Yes, this is basically a picture post with a little bit of writing in between. I’m pretty sure that 90% of the people looking at my blog only do so for the pictures, anyway. Here are some more, from my walk up to Mt Victoria lookout back in July (that time I had an impromptu month off and didn’t really go anywhere – but I was VERY well rested :P).
Finally, before I move on to my October outings, here are my pictures of the Wellington Writers’ Walk. I have something between 3 and 11 outstanding, depending on which article you read (only a slight difference, really). All of the quotes are about Wellington, by noted New Zealand writers (most of whom I’ve never heard of, I’ll be honest). They are placed along the harbourside, each one supposed to give you a different perspective (visually and metaphorically). My favourites are “I live at the edge of the universe, like everyone else” and “It’s true you can’t live here by chance, you have to do and be, not simply watch or even describe. This is the city of action, the world headquarters of the verb.”
Ok, on to my trips out of the city. Obviously, you already know about Napier/Hawke’s Bay back in September. If you don’t, go back and read my last blog update. Do it now! Done that? Good. Moving on…
As I mentioned in that post, I went out towards Cape Palliser (though not that far) to do the Putangirua Pinnacles walk. For Lord of the Rings fans, this is the Dimholt Road (“The way is shut…”). Unfortunately, the weather was a bit crap on that day, very overcast and constantly drizzly. This meant that my pictures didn’t come out very well, and all look a bit like a big, grey blob. My strongest memory of this walk will probably be losing my balance on the stepping stones across the stream and ending up with both feet in the water up to my ankles. Turns out that even waterproof walking shoes aren’t THAT waterproof. Oops.
The weekend after the Pinnacles, I took the train out to the Wairarapa to visit my ex-penpal, Andrea. I say ex-penpal, because I kind of stopped writing to people and fell off the face of the earth. No surprises there. Andrea and her partner, John, were both lovely, and welcomed me into their home for the weekend. They have 3 cows and 2 cats, so I was very happy 🙂 On the Saturday, we went out to Castlepoint Lighthouse, and on the Sunday, we went to Greytown and Featherston. Greytown is a beautiful little town, and Featherston thinks it’s a book town (it’s not QUITE Hay-on-Wye, but it does have an excellent not-book-related cheese shop called C’est Cheese). We didn’t have time to make it out to Martinborough, but hopefully I’ll be able to make it out there again at some point.
Last Monday was Labour Day in New Zealand, meaning that last weekend was a long weekend. I couldn’t just stay in Wellington for that, so ended up going to Taranaki for the weekend. Though the weather was ok for the most part, we only had a clear view of the mountain for about an hour or two over the whole weekend. By the time we made it to the visitor centre, it had clouded over again. Mt Taranaki is an “active but quiescent” (according to Wikipedia) volcano, that last erupted in 1854. No, it wasn’t smoking in that picture, those are just clouds. Other highlights of the weekend include seeing two lighthouses (Cape Egmont Historic lighthouse, now a museum, and Cape Egmont the actual lighthouse that still works) and the Wind Wand in New Plymouth (which is something that someone once thought would be a really good idea for some reason).
Well, that’s all for now. I’m off to see Thor: Ragnarok. If you notice any random typos or sentences that don’t make sense, please let me know so that I can fix them. My bluetooth keyboard doesn’t cope very well with quick typing.