Day 9 – Wellington
Pohiri – (Maori Welcome)
Today was Wellington, population 150,000. The harbor was formed by the flooding of a long-extinct volcano crater. And all of the land we walked today was reclaimed land due to an earthquake in 1855. This is one of the very first times we have completely set up our own tour. The ship wanted $90 US per person for walking tour, and we did it for $25 NZ per person, so I am proud of myself that I researched Wellington last summer and figured out our tours. It just looked like Wellington was easy to do on your own.
Our guide was very informative. We not only walked past, but went into the old government building which is the oldest wooden building in the southern hemisphere. It was built in 1870, and it is hard to believe it is not stone. We also saw what is considered the most distinctive and well known building in Wellington, the Beehive. It is where the Government Cabinet offices are. Its copper round shape gives it the name, not to mention the beehive of activity one finds inside.
When we first met our guide, Tom mentioned that if she can walk the route it should be a piece of cake for us. As you know, Tom walks over 6 miles a day. Well, ‘not so much.’ This lady, probably in her late 80’s was moving. We ended up walking at a rather brisk pace for over three hours. Of course, we stopped when she was explaining something. So we got our exercise.
All of the buildings were interesting, but yesterday’s white water rafting was much more exciting. I don’t want you to think today was not good because it was, especially in the light of the fact that Christchurch, our next stop had an earthquake today measuring 5.8. So when our guide talked about how buildings were being brought up to code, we listened much more intently than maybe we would have a day ago.
We then rode a city bus to the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand. It is one of the largest museums in the world. The best part is it is free. Also finding the right city bus is always a good challenge. Of course, to me the most fascinating floor of the museum was the geological floor explaining how the continents separated; simulations of volcanos, and even a house that shook as it simulated an earthquake. They tell you it is like trying to walk on jello, and that is a good description. They also had a large number of skeletons of creatures past and present. One animal which was completely intact and preserved (not a skeleton) was a giant squid. You then watched a 3D movie of a giant squid being caught, and Tom decided that diving with a great white would be a much safer idea.
Well as I mentioned, you cannot leave the ship with food. I guess some people just don’t think the rules apply to them. There was a rather large group of people, all traveling together, (won’t mention their nationality) and the first person was carrying an entire bag of food. Oh boy! Was immigration upset with her, yelling, NO FOOD!!! The rest of the group was dumping large amounts of food out of their packs. Maybe by the end of the cruise, people will realize, no food can be carried off the ship.
No great pictures to post.
“…if you are wise and know the art of travel, let yourself go on the stream of the unknown and accept whatever comes in the spirit in which the gods may offer it.” – Freya Stark
Haere ra (Goodbye)
More to Follow
Tom and Holly