It was a rainy, dreary day and Clare has the flu. So, I decided to head up to the War Memorial Museum. There is A LOT there to see and it’s overwhelming. They have some exhibits called “Scars of the Heart” about WWI and WWII that got a little too real and somewhat frightening for me. I did enjoy seeing the museum though. I did also watch a Maori (the indigenous people of NZ) performance that was very good. There was dance, song and history. Back at the hotel, I went to the rooftop bar/restaurant and had a late snack. It was very beautiful to see all the Auckland lights.
Clare was feeling better and managed to make it on time for the bus to Hobbiton. However, the pickup wasn’t at the right place, so we missed it and the driver had to come back. No biggie. We stopped at a café about ½ way there and Clare wanted hot water with lemon-they ran out of lemons, so they just went out back to pick some more-A+ for freshness! We continued onto Matamata for lunch-I tried a chicken, bacon, leek pie with some sort of sweet sauce. It was pretty good. I don’t need to have it again, but worth trying something new. We then went to the “start” of the movie set tour. We got on another bus (this one is specific to the movie set) that took us to the start of the walking tour. It is located on a farm that some family owns, you can’t just wander down in there on your own. Our tour guide was Hori and he was fun! We walked all over the Shire and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was to see all the familiar places! We were able to see Bilbo’s house-only the outside. None of the houses are finished on the inside-that was all filmed somewhere else. We had a drink at the Green Dragon. Goodness knows how many pictures I took, not to mention, Clare was using my camera also. We got back to the city around 9pm and I just hung out in my room.
Did basically nothing today. Finished some things for work that needed to be taken care of before I start my new job when I get back. I got food from the little bakery down the street that I think might be vegan. Dinner at the rooftop restaurant-saw my French bartender, David, again. Then when I got back to my room, there was a lot of street noise so, I went to the lobby to check it out. I was told it’s pretty normal Auckland. It was a a bunch of people playing music and dancing in the street.
Another relaxation day. Clare is still pretty sick, but she came over and we went to the planetarium together. Then came back to my room and just had order in pizza.
Last full day here. As I was getting into bed, I realized I am leaving tomorrow instead of Tuesday like I originally thought. I had it in my head all week that I was leaving on Tuesday and not Monday. That sent me a little over the worry ledge. I have no idea how I got that idea in my head, but so glad that I figured it out in time. Clare and I picked up Lauren (whom we had met on Waiheke) and we met Erika (Clare’s friend) at the market at Takapuna. It’s there every Sunday and there are lots of vendors. We then went to brunch at a Mexican place and were told by the waiter that he loved our accents. J We then walked down to the beautiful beach and then back to Clare’s car. She dropped Lauren and I off at the bus station and I rode the bus back to the hotel. Lazed around this afternoon, went to dinner at the restaurant at the top of the hotel-delicious.