Friday, 8 July 2011

New Zealand Pt I: Auckland

17/12/10 - 02/01/11

You can tell a true friend when they are at the airport at 4.30am to pick up two slightly dopey Travelling Marshes with a big smile on her face (how can someone look so stunning that early in the morning?!).

This particular friend was our lovely kiwi, Nicole. She took us under her wing and whisked us away through the dark of dawns crack to her lovely apartment in Parnell, a suburb of Auckland. After a cup of tea and some breakfast she handed over the keys and went off to work (bless her); we went for a wander and a coffee to get our bearings.

And Parnell is just the right place to do that. A lovely little place (and more upmarket than we’d become accustomed), ideal for sitting and watching people go by (over a lovely cup of proper coffee for Tim and a delicious mint tea for me). We didn’t see much more than the high street that day and it was very strange seeing everything in English after our four months of Spanish.

By the evening our jetlag was hitting in; especially as we had lost Thursday en route from Chile (now that’s ALOT of jetlag). We managed to stay awake until 9.30pm but it was hard work, involving a lot of prodding and kiwi TV.

After a very good night’s sleep in our new home, I arose to heavy rain falling at the window and went out for a run to explore. I found a gorgeous path through the woods which brought me out at the top of the hill, known as The Domain: home to the museum and an elegant war memorial. It also provided an amazing (if somewhat damp) view of the city.

On December 19th it was Nicole's birthday and we went out for drinks at the Sale Street bar. Very nice it was too; we met lots of her gorgeous friends. We pulled the pin on our night at about 11pm,(not bad, 90mins on the following evening) and got a cab back to the apartment leaving the birthday girl to it.

Nicole took us for a delicious Sunday dinner at her parents (Mr and Mrs Merrie), her sisters and their significant others. It was so nice to meet the family and be in a family atmosphere with delicious food. Thank you Merrie family. It was around this time that homesickness really crept in for the first time in our travels.

While we we're in NZ I had people to catch up with, one of those being my lovely friend from our M and S days, Rhiannon, who at the time was very pregnant with her second babe (hello baby Ash). After catching a bus we found her and the family, young Fox who we spent the day at the beach with and later Chris when he'd finished work. We had such a lovely day and ended up staying for dinner and playing xbox kinetics, fun, fun, fun. So nice to catch up.

Now another very special birthday while we we're in Auckland was Tim's 40th! I know, i know - he doesn't look a day over 30...for his birthday I baked him a lemon meringue pie (his favourite). I decorated it with some fab 4 0 candles sent over from the White Juniors.
Later we met up with Nicole and went to a delicious Thai Restaurant. I think he had a memorable birthday.

With Christmas on its way, we moved into the bigger Merrie house with Nicole. Her parents had gone away for the festive season, leaving us with a beautiful house to try not to trash! We did all our food shopping and we we're ready for a sunny Christmas.
Christmas morning after a jog around the park together, we had a delicious champagne breakfast and then started to get dinner ready. Rotisserie turkey on the BBQ, with all the trimmings, very much like being at home except we got to sit outside in the blazing sunshine.

We were spoilt by the White Juniors who sent us a stocking each with chocolate coins, a small Christmas pudding, a bottle of port and new socks. I also got some fab clip on antlers :) We had a fantastic Christmas definitely one to remember. But also really missing home and family by this stage, I guess because of the normal sense of family celebrations, home-sickness was at a real peak.

Boxing Day for us, was Christmas day for our families. We managed a skype chat with them all which was lovely. Made us feel not so far away after all.
Also Boxing day was race day in Auckland. Nicole was meeting up with the girls for a swanky day. I got to borrow a beautiful dress and some heels (haven't worn those for some time) from Nicole. Tim and I headed down all dressed up for a day at the races. A lovely sunny day, with some great people watching and some super horse racing. It was nice to be girly for a while. We had a lovely little picnic under the umbrellas and had a very relaxing day.

We ended up staying with Nicole until the new year. we got to go to the beautiful Waihiki Island for dinner one day and also Brick Bay Sculpture Park for a lovely lunch time walk finished by a glass of wine from the vineyard / winery.

New Year was spent with Alesandro, (a friend of Nicole's) who cooked us a fine chilli and nachos to line our stomachs, ready to head out into town to welcome in 2011. It was a lovely evening all dresses up, under the Sky Tower watching the fireworks and drinking champagne. A fantastic start to the new year, with such lovely people.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful memories for you. You'll have reverse homesickness this year. Just think, its only 24 weeks until Christmas 2011! :D