Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 18th: Wellington

This morning we woke up at the Bolton and decided to get in a little exercise/sightseeing combo with a jog through Memorial Park, Anderson Park and the beautiful Botanic Garden. The garden was quite impressive with all types of flowers, herbs, succulents, and regional plants along a series of meandering paths. Due to the geography of the city, we had some steep hills to climb, and worked up an appetite for our breakfast, which we cooked in our room (we have a little kitchen) at the Bolton. We made brussels sprouts and garlic with an egg on top and nashi (cross between apple and pear) and orange slices. Brussels sprouts might sound like a strange breakfast, but we needed to fit them in somewhere!

After breakfast, we checked out the Parliament buildings (below is one called "the beehive") and then walked down to the departure point for the Wellington Cable Car, which climbs up to the top of the city, with panoramic views below. It's sort of a tourist attraction, but was fun to do:

After a light lunch at a cafe, we were ready for the highlight of the day, a tour of Wellington given by Jane's dad, John. He picked us up at the Bolton and drove us around the city with commentary and some stops at scenic points. He lives in Lyall Bay, a few minutes outside of downtown, and has lived in the area his whole life. We also briefly stopped at his house so I could see where Jane grew up, and the local dairy (corner store) for some Tip Top ice cream. Wellington is a beautiful city and we both loved spending the afternoon with Jane's dad!

Next we dropped into Te Papa, the museum of New Zealand that opened about 10 years ago. It is a nice, modern museum with six floors and lots of different exhibits all related to culture, wildlife, geography and history of NZ. What's amazing to me is that the museum admission is free. Yes, that's right - FREE! We focused our limited time before closing on the 4th floor Maori exhibits which were very well done.

Dinner tonight was at the Backbencher, a pub next to the parliament buildings which is supposed to be a popular hangout for the government employees working across the street. The inside of the pub is decorated with tons of political cartoons and larger-than-life wall-mounted caricature sculptures of New Zealand politicians:

Dylan and I both had the fish and chips - the menu listed them as made with terikihi, a type of fish that I discovered on the South Island and fell in love with. Since the first time I tried it, whenever I see it on a menu, I make sure to order it. To me it tastes like a cross between salmon and halibut. I will miss it when this month is over!

No comments: