Sad times. Our last couple of days in this fabulous city. I have to admit that I stole the blog title from the Lonely Planet description of Wellington, they describe it as ‘The Coolest Little Capital in the World’ and it really is.
What we like best about Wellington is the fact that it doesn’t shout ‘like me’, ‘look at how amazing I am’, or ‘how great do I look’. It just sits back quietly and lets you decide all for yourself. That’s what makes it so cool I suppose. The people seem to be exactly the same with a real live-and-let-live attitude. It really must be a fabulous place to live.
Cable Car to the Gardens
Obviously as its a city it’s very built up in places but there are some wonderful escapes such as the Wellington Cable Car and the Botanical Gardens. Nestled right behind Lambton Quay you can get the cable car up to the top of Kelburn and the entrance to the Gardens. Great ride up with lots of excited families and tourists and a couple of annoying American ladies who spent the whole trip discussing what they needed to wear on their flight back to LA the following afternoon. Important stuff eh?
Beautiful wander down through the Botanical Gardens, which descended all the way into the city. I’m not really a flora and fauna type of guy but even I enjoyed the walk. Pretty impressive.
Then into the city to have a look at the New Zealand parliament buildings and the very modern cathedral before heading down for our most important job of the day. We had to get our tickets for the Big Bash on Friday night. Don’t know what the Big Bash is? Stay with me and you will.
Tickets purchased, bizarre conversation with the ticket lady about the weather and the Edinburgh Tattoo (don’t ask), so what we really needed was a beer. A jug of beer.
Excellent. Sitting back in the sunshine in the lovely Karaka Cafe Bar together with our tickets and our jug and a lovely view. Bliss.
Life in Wellington
Because we’re staying for a couple of weeks we had plenty of time to explore but also plenty of time to catch up on emails etc and generally do nothing. We’ve had a couple of days where we guiltily just laid about doing absolutely naff all. After the rushing around of the South Island Road Trip we appreciated a bit of lazy time. Bit of reading, bit of planning for JWalking stage two, bit of eating, and a fair amount of me looking out of the window spying on the neighbours and all of the local comings and goings! I’m just too nosey. Jo gets a bit embarrassed but it’s not like I have binoculars or anything (wish I did have some though).
After too much sitting about we hit the street and made for the local Mountain that overlooks the city, Mount Victoria. There was a track up through woods to the summit so we had a go and realised that we weren’t as fit as we thought. So steep and so knackering. It was well worth it though. Such amazing views at the top only spoiled slightly by the coachload of Germans who weren’t as sweaty as us. We were far more smug obviously!
My favourite moment was overhearing a conversation between a local guy and his American visitors. They were looking at the view and asked him what the sports stadium was, he said that it was a cricket stadium. “Wow, a cricket stadium. Awesome” came the reply followed a minute later after a long thoughtful pause by “Do you guys play cricket here?”. The questioning look of disbelief that the Kiwi fella gave was just priceless. I almost applauded.
More exploring down to another fabulous lookout away from coach parties and daft tourists before descending for some well earned refreshment and lunch. We needed our strength for the big night ahead. The Big Bash.
No. Not just more cricket for those of you that haven’t been educated correctly. This was a T20 international between New Zealand and Pakistan at the very impressive Westpac Stadium. They call Twenty Twenty cricket the Big Bash here. To say we were excited would be an understatement, we could hardly contain ourselves. Jo has turned into a complete cricket groupie since we left the UK and that doesn’t mean she hangs around the changing room doors either. The match at the Basin Reserve was brilliant but this was a whole different level.
Down here they like to call all of their national teams by different nicknames so the cricket team is known as The Blackcaps. And for one night only we were the biggest Blackcap fans going (feel like I’m saying the word Blackcaps too much, did it again ….sorry). Match report if anyone is interested ……
Won’t go on too much about the game but we destroyed them by nearly 100 runs. Some amazing cricket in a wonderful location that has only depended Jo’s love and obsession for the glorious game now. After 38 years she finally gets it!
Obviously we enjoyed people watching as much as usual and the three guys next to us who ate twenty barbequed chicken legs and two tons of rice were fairly interesting. As were the three girls who chatted for 3 hours without even looking at the pitch. And the muscle-bound fella who drank 8 pints and munched on more Doritos than I’ve ever ever seen.
But the game was fabulous. Another great night out. Sadly what excited me even more was the fact the both the Westpac Stadium and the official Blackcaps both liked and retweeted my photos and comments on the game. How geeky! Need to get out more I guess.
18.1 – 22.1.2016