back at sydney’s airport: 15 minutes after the plane started rolling to the runway, the captain announced “it may feel like we’re driving all the way to new zealand, but we’re not. in fact, we’ll be at the runway in a few minutes!”
i received a warm welcome to new zealand by julieanne and her friend martin, who spent a lot of time showing me around, and …basically made me feel like they were my personal 24-hour-tourguides (i was also staying at julieanne’s).
they took me out on scenic drives around the banks peninsula [G], namely to the port of lyttelton (the location of one of the last working time-balls) and akaroa, a little town way out in the east of the peninsula.
- back in 1840 (the same year that the british claimed the south island), the french created a settlement there and tried to establish a colony. it’s still considered an artsy french town, and still has lots of french place and street names.
while we were in that area, we also visited akaroa scenic reserve, a place known for its new zealand fur seals. when we got there, there was a single one swimming around. this “singular tendency” prevailed for big parts of my stay in new zealand ;-)
another spot we went to check out was a viewpoint overlooking all of christchurch. we tried twice (on different days), but everytime we approached it, clouds built up in a matter of miutes (starting from perfectly clear sky), making it hard to see anything that was more than a meter away. i still felt like taking a photo, so we decided to just imagine the beautiful view :-)
we also paid a visit to ferrymead heritage park, a reconstruction of a victorian village with original buildings, “doing-it-the-old-way”-businesses, a working “oldtimer-tram”, and more.
3 days after i arrived in christchurch, i headed all the way down to invercargill [G] for one of the few fixed-from-the-outset points on my itinerary.
when i first got to new zealand, the friendly immigration office lady (let’s call her donna, to make the dialogue more personal) asked my where i would be for christmas. to keep the potentially long story short, i just said “invercargill”.
- donna: “do you have friends down there?”
markus: “umm, yes.”
donna: “i thought so. why else would anybody want to go to invercargill?”
anyways… in invercargill i was enjoying the hospitality of joy and her family. she’s a professional soloist singer (studied classical music in italy), and had some exciting/scary stories to tell from her own round-the-world-trip several years ago.
total time spent in invercargill: 24 hours, most of which i used to sanitise all of my baggage for… (see next rtw-related post)