Farewell New Zealand – and US

09112016 - Auckland - _MG_8451I started the day with a lovely first breakfast in the backyard with mom and Juni. After enjoying the cup-noodles (or actually they left a few things to be desired but still) we woke up the others and packed out gear and checked out. We had a few hours to kill before returning the cars so we drove to Devonport Naval Museum but honored the great weather and took a stroll along the waterfront.

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Muesli and fresh fruit with nice yoghurt never gets old

Walking by the sea made us hungry and it was time for second breakfast. After enjoying a tasty meal we continued along the sea promenade to the ferry and then turned back. It was time to return the cars so we drove off to Jucy Rentals and a nearby petrol station. This time we arrived at Jucy in decent time, but not enough time to stop at a supermarket for more baby formula for Juni – but we had some in the diaper bag and what could possibly go wrong?

Auckland in blue skies this time

Auckland in blue skies this time

There was no hassle at all at Jucy with the damages from the parking incident, apparently all the paperwork was already done and the 75 NZD for administrative costs had been deducted the day we called so that was a smooth matter, and we got a shuttle to the airport where we had plenty of time.

Idle hands are the devil playthings, and this is when I checked my Twitter feed regarding the US elections. Things were starting to look really grim really fast and a growing realization that enough people voted for a male, fabulist, sexual predator with no experience in running office over the most experienced candidate but being female and not enough populist. That put a damper over things to put it mildly.

The flight went OK but Juni wouldn’t fall asleep until we were minutes from landing. I have to say that Emirates do know how to provide good service – everything from check-in to the dining options were great. We managed for the second time to go through border security with a green note (no check) so next mission was to locate cars and new sim cards.

That proved to be easier said than done, the sim cards were a breeze but the pickup desk for the cars we walked back and forth before we finally were able to locate their disk – which was closed so back to where we were with all luggage and a foul mood. We opted for maximum insurance and packed the cars and headed off different ways since parents were going to Torquay while we had Melbourne as next stop.

We took a quick detour to a supermarket to pick up some baby formula (remind me to always have  roaming or sim-cards when traveling in the future – Google Maps is a lifesaver) before they closed then drove towards St Kilda in Melbourne. Since it was rather late we had a self-check in with instructions, and then it stated that the parking spot was a bit tricky to park they weren’t kidding. After a bit of commotion with a hungry and tired Juni, tired parents we finally got into the apartment, provided power to the router and went to bed after an exhausting day.

Auckland in style

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Devonstyle apartment

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.

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Juni is more interested in Lydia then the new menu from Mexico

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.

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Ponsonby Excursions

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.

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Dad approves

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.

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You had me at Indian Fine Cuisine fusion


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Auckland from Devonport beach

That rain we expected the day before had been hammering the corrugated metal roof during the night and was still coming in bursts as we packed our stuff so it seems we had timed the day of travel right. After a quick lesser breakfast we got in the car and drove off towards Auckland to meet up with my parents again.

The rain kept coming in bursts and Mona even had to stop by the side of the road at one point since the visibility was too bad – but it started to clear up as we got closer to Auckland. We drove over the impressive bridge between Auckland and Devonport, the suburb which we had booked a place through AirBnB at and met parked on the street while meeting up parents. It had not been very easy to find the apartment, but since my parents arrived earlier that was settled and we could unpack everything in the very shabby chic apartment with a lovely garden.

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Old tree near Devonport library

We took a stroll in the overcast Devonport after settling in and walked towards Devonport city-centre (which also is where ferries depart to Auckland every quarter or so). The houses were right up Mona’s alley, carpenter love and general coziness all around. We had a proper lunch at Corelli’s and mom and dad praised their pasta while I almost managed to finish a “summer abundance bowl” and had a mango lassie.

The economy has really been harsh in Auckland.

The economy recent years has really been harsh in Devonport.

As we were leaving we got a brief rain shower, so we gave up further excursions and instead walked back to our apartment. Well safe and sound we had a calm evening with cheese and crackers while solving a few of the world’s problem that hadn’t been solved previously.