After the Fulbright NZ orientation, I found myself with a fair amount of free time to explore Wellington, and I also found myself home alone, as Julian and Joanna went to visit their farm, which I am eager to do with them at some point once things get situated with orientations and scheduling, because – wait for it my friends – their farm is in fact a vineyard – and they have their own wine – a fantastic Pinot Noir that I just love – they also do olives and other things – and I have discovered that maybe I don’t hate olives as much as I thought – please keep that to yourselves though – the last thing I need is one Sydney Gunter celebrating that she is right! 🙂
Anyway, all of that meant that I was free to really have a weekend getting to know Wellington, so armed with a wide brim hat, some sunscreen, good walking shoes and a water bottle I set out.
Since it was a truly lovely summer day in a city that has not had much summer weather to celebrate, I did what anyone might do and headed to the beach – I was eager to see Oriental Bay, determine exactly how far away it really was from where I am currently staying and what the beach was like. I walked to the beach which from my current location took right at an hour – and it was totally fantastic- and even better it is less than 20 minutes from the flat I will hopefully be in in a month. Friends, I love this beach – I can foresee a many a day relaxing, reading and writing from right here. So gorgeous and calming!
Here are some lovely videos of the beach – they made me a pretty happy camper!
After I left the beach I strolled back to the waterfront area, and just enjoyed people watching and the sights along the way!
At this point I decided since I was at TePapa (the national museum) I would just stop in. I felt like I needed some coffee (I know you are shocked!) so I headed to the 4th floor where I relaxed with coffee and a nice caramel cake, before heading up to the 5th floor and checking out the observation deck.
After this I decided that I wanted to wander back to Aro Valley – well – specifically to check out the Garage Project – so I went first to the brewery (which is an old converted petrol station) to the location they call the Cellar Door – and got set to sample beer – and discovered that samples were free, and this was the location you go to sample beer to buy and take home. (very cool – and they had a lovely cereal milk stout on tap that I tried, and loved, so I bought some to take home). Since that was the only dark beer on tap at the cellar door – I popped across Aro Street to the tasting room, and had a nice dark flight and some fun conversation with some locals before going home, having dinner and going to bed.
Sunday morning I woke up with an alarm with plans to go to the 10:00 Service at St. Johns in the City – one of 2 Presbyterian Churches in Wellington that piqued my interest as I was looking. The service was nice, I enjoyed the minister, and the coffee/tea time afterward gave me a great opportunity to mix, mingle and get to know the people – they were all very nice, welcoming, and made me feel right at home. I will definitely be back! The first 4 pictures below are from one of the many walking paths that I can choose from to get from the house to the main street.
After church, I grabbed lunch at a Noodle place – I do have a goal of trying as much different cuisine as possible while I am here in the culinary melting pot that is Wellington. After lunch, I explored the farmer’s market.
I then came home and spent some much needed time looking at research notes, reading and other “Academic” stuff, including some blogging.
Monday in New Zealand was a holiday – Waitangi Day (Which I talked about some in the Fulbright Orientation Blog). It was also Super Bowl Sunday back in the states, and I was pretty excited for the big game.
The Ludbrooks and I started the Day with a lovely tramp through the Otari-Wilton’s Bush area – what an absolutely stunning place. I saw plants trees and landscapes I have never seen before – Julian and Joanna were so incredibly kind, and pointed out lots of the unique plants and birds – but I am not harboring a talent as a budding horticulturalist or botanist with the names – I just know it was paradise!
After our hike, I said adieu to the Ludbrooks and went to a sports bar to watch the Super Bowl. I think my reaction to the game can be summed up in emojis by quarter. 🙂😀😁😭
I was heartbroken for those boys to have the season end that way – but hey – they had a great season – and surpassed all expectations – so while the sting is real – it is still great to be a Falcons fan.
After the game I went to my favorite spot on the Waterfront (it seems to be my happy place) until it started raining on me, then I went home to a most excellent dinner of New Zealand Lamb, Gold Kumara and salad prepared by the Ludbrooks – have I mentioned I might be getting a little spoiled?
Unfortunately, I have to get up in the morning at a normal hour for my orientation at Victoria University of Wellington, and as a result I should really go to bed, so the update for Tuesday – Thursday will have to wait – but I hope I have given you all enough pictures and words (Over 1000 words and at least 100 (I am guessing) pictures in this post!) that you will forgive me. I will get caught up – I promise – I just keep having to much fun! 🙂