Nov 13

Auckland, I have been here nearly 24 hours. I arrived at 6 am, all well, my backpack made it too. Then with the Skybus into the city center. 10 minutes walk from the bus station to my hostel. I knew check-in was only at 2 pm and I had hoped that I could check in early and get some sleep. They were fully booked. I was so exhausted that I slept near to a running tv in the common room for 2 hours. Then I felt less zombie-like 😉 Had some tea and little breakfast in the hostel kitchen. Very interesting chat with a teacher from Malaysia and two young people who work and study here. A good landing into the world of travelling.

Then a walk through Auckland to the harbour, checking the place where my bus to the North would leave the next morning. When I arrived at the hostel after my first city stroll, I really needed some rest. My room was ready and I slept for another 2 hours. That seems to be a good nap length for me to keep me going.

In the afternoon I was setup to meet S., a friend of my friend K. from Finland who I had met while she was studying in Kiel, my home town, when we were 21 or 22. S. and K. had spent a high school year in the US. In my experience, those are some of the best friendships you make when living abroad, or getting friends with people from abroad.

S. and I had a very good time. She took me for a drive over Harbour Bridge, we took a walk at one of the many beaches in the North of the city. She showed me a tree which will blossom in red around Christmas time, making it the “Christmas tree”, learned about the housing situation, the rise of dairy production in NZ and how after realizing how bad dairy farming can be for the environment, people want the sheep back. More sightseeing in the South, and we went to a sacred Maori site. Tea and a very nice potato dish in a coffee place close to the sea and back to the hostel. Thank you S! What a beatiful and lively introduction to Auckland. Uups was told that of course Wellington is the NZ capital.

Woke up this morning at 4 am to a party in front of my window. But feeling rested ok after 7 hours of sleep now.

And so many impressions already that want to be communicated and digested. I remember 2 years ago when I was travelling in Iran how I started to write in my head toward the end of the day, longing to express what I had experienced and then the relief and joy in sharing which made it possible to start to integrate the events of the day.

Nov 14

I wrote this yesterday morning before my bus trip to the North. After 4 hours on the bus through super beautiful green scenery, I am now in Kaikohe staying with a friend. She picked me up from the bus and had prepared a picknick which we had in a loveley little park. It is noticeably spring here. The young people in the hostel had warned me to always put on sun screen and wear a hat because the sun can be very strong here.

Oh, and the sun is in the North, that will take some getting used to.

Then some shopping and to the house she is staying in at the moment. I joined in for some work in the garden, some weeding and picking strawberries which we had after dinner.

I am invited to stay here until I have adjusted to NZ time and climate before I start my walking. We are 12 hours ahead of Europe time, so as some of you are starting your Sunday evening I am getting ready for a new Monday.

A friend sent a message asking if I was safe because of the Earth Quake that happened in NZ. We did not notice it here, I am in the very North of the North Island and the Quake was around 1000km away from here. I hope everybody is ok down there. And hope you are safe and well wherever you are. I am feeling blessed and being taken care of, was just served a cup of tea to my bed and M.s friend promised me to sit with me tonight at dusk and listen to the different birds sing.

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