So, we’re in Auckland for a few days before our flight home for the holidays.
Yesterday, we had a nice time walking down to the waterfront and people watching.
Today we had the very good fortune of being shown around by our friends on Mariposa (the ketch, not the cat), Kerri and Andrew. She the Kiwi, he the Brit/South African and now living in NZ. They picked us up at our hotel and spent the day showing us some great places we would never have found on our own. In particular the extraordinary views from Waitakere Ranges and the Gannet rookery at the Muriwai Beach. Gannets are similar to the Albatross. They are huge and graceful (in flight) birds. Quite a bit less so when landing. The rookery was amazing as was seeing these great birds glide along just a few feet away from us standing on the cliff. Spectacular.
We finished the day at my favorite pub downtown, the Belgian Beer Hall. Great Belgian beer on tap as well as dozens more available in the bottle. Amazing food as well. As a bonus, Ann and I also learned some of the nuances of Cricket. There was a test match between Australia and GB on the TV and Andrew, having grown up in GB, was able to take us through the game. We learned about how to score, defend, bowl (that’s the same as pitching for us yanks-sort of) and how the most vicious players wear masks so they won’t be able to bite anyone. Tough sport, Cricket. There would probably be a lot of blood if it weren’t for those masks. And I thought rugby was rough!
Tomorrow, we tour the Aukland Maritime Museaum, then it’s off to the airport in the afternoon for our evening flight. We’ll be back in the US Monday morning local Calif time.