We woke up after a good night’s sleep, had some early breakfast and sorted out seating for future flights and cars for Australia (used Carflexi, some compare-all-car-rentals-site which seemed to work fine, time will tell though). The plan was to meet up Lydia, whom we met two years ago during 17th of May celebrations in Norway, for lunch and later dinner and also get some tips from a local.
We walked to the ferry and went over to Auckland, it was a 40 minute walk to Mexico in Ponsonby (which Jonte and Janelle had recommended in advance) and we trusted google to guide us there. Note to self, the shortest way is what google selects, absolutely not the nicest or most scenic one. After walking along windy highways for awhile we realized our mistake but at least we got to see things we wouldn’t have otherwise.
Ponsonby was then a nice change and a cosy area, we met up with Lydia (and her boyfriend Ben) who lived and worked on Ponsonby road so she for sure knew the area. The lunch was really nice, and I think lunch is the meal to have there – unless you are up for more party-style dinners. After a lovely lunch and some general pointers from Lydia we strolled Ponsonby again with parents and headed towards Queen Street as a way to end up back at the ferry eventually.
On Queen Street Mona spotted a long queue to a Gelateria, Giapo Ice Cream to be precise. So lots of people would mean it had high quality, right? While Mona and dad were in the line we saw some people coming out with unholy ice-cream creations including donuts used as topping but this was not surprisingly a highly ranked place according to Tripadvisor. Mona and dad were really happy with their ice creams, they offered only five flavors (which one could sample) and refused to mix and match crazy – since that would destroy some flavors. I like when people take their craft seriously even though it meant that Mona’s lemon sorbet had no toppings at all.
We found a book shop and secured the classical Hairy Maclary from Donaldsons Dairy to complete the earlier visit of the statues. I also realized that there was a new book by Peter F Hamilton (A Night Without Stars) so that solves how to spend the return flight.
Back at the ferry we handed over Juni to my parents who where heading back while we had the planned dinner later with Lydia and Ben still in central Auckland. Time with babysitters is valuable, so I suggested we would pamper ourselves with a massage before the dinner. Said and done, we went for “Massage Me Day Spa” which had good reviews and got ourselves a deep tissue massage and foot scrub each. It was bliss and I really feel good about us skipping the cheaper mediocre-looking massage on the way. There is a big difference between a nice massage and a really nice massage.
A quick walk to Cassia where Lydia had made reservations the day before and we managed to get their not only in time but approximately 20 seconds before Ben and Lydia. Not often that happens.
We decided to go all in at this renowned Indian fusion restaurant with the tasting menu and a eggplant dish to share on top of that. It was without a doubt the best meal we’ve had in New Zealand. A new experience of Indian food and all dishes were to my taste. Staff was attentive and company great – an epic dinner later we said our goodbyes and took the ferry back to Devonport. Juni had, according to my parents at least, behaved well and slept as we got home.