In these first two weeks it was merely arriving in this beautiful country and trying to settle. I still have the feeling of “I have to do something. Go go, don’t waste time” in me. And it’s hard to get rid of it after years of functioning. So it seems that I have to start dealing with expectations, values and held back fears.
But how will this blog go one? Well, I think just writing about „I did this, then that and then I was on the bus…“ will get boring very soon. So I just post a short route overview and a special moment in each spot. And pics.
Let’s see how this goes.
Route done so far:
- Hamilton – Hobbiton – Hamilton
- Taupo – Tongariro – Taupo
- off to Wellington
Rangitoto Island. Lava fields, green bushes, trees and a diversity of birds – I walk along the paths, quiet and listening to the sounds around me. It’s a strange and beautiful feeling to walk on an island made by a volcano just 600 years old. What thoughts might the Maoris have had when they saw this natural wonder rising out of the ocean next to them? How did it smell and sound?
A funny voice interrupts my thoughts. The Tūī is unimpressed by me passing by and starts his call anew.
At home my mother never stops trying to teach me the names of our local birds. Somehow I always listen but never really remember them later. Being in Australia and New Zealand suddenly raised my awareness for this great unknown variety all around. Maybe after all I finally learn and remember some of their names?
What if you could actually walk into one of your favorite movies? See the green fields, have a beer in the Green Dragon and wait on the bench at Bag‘s End for a wizard to pass by and send you on an adventure.
A lot of people are walking around in the hills of Hobbiton who haven’t even seen the movies – Lord of the Rings or Hobbit – let alone read the books. Only few, striding along the paths between hobbit holes and having a special glare in their eyes, know where they are. A silent alliance is forged between us when our eyes meet or we shyly ask for a picture in front of Sam‘s house or the party tree in the back.
And somehow there is this unspoken question: „Would you like to go crazy and reenact all the beloved scenes with me?“
The very simple sign above the door states Coffee and leaves me a bit irritated with the garages left and right and cars to be repaired. I stopped in Hamilton because I didn’t know where to go after Hobbiton and thought this to be a good point for a last minute decision. And I don’t want to leave this town with at least having one good coffee. So Google says I’m right. And once I open the lightly going glass and steel door I find myself standing in one of the best smells: freshly brewed coffee. So I sit down at the counter, chatters all around me, and order my typical flat white.
While I wait for the coffee to be prepared I look around. The shop looks like the old reception to the garages. It has an old worn-out look, but in a very tasty way. In the back the coffee beans are roasted. The people are so friendly that I instantly feel welcomed as the barista passes me my coffee over. They have these old little silver spoons with the squared head for their coffee cups.
A record player is playing country music. I drift away in thoughts. Once the record is done the barista very carefully picks a new one and smoothly sets the needle to it. I sit and sip on my coffee.
Simple moments like this keep me happy for days.
I’m walking in completely soaked pants. Why didn’t I bring my rain pants? Oh, yes, I was sure „Ah, I don’t need them. The forecast seemed to be fine.“ Yeah, like there has never been a fast changing weather in the mountains. Beginner‘s mistake. But the good thing: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is just a one day hike.
The chats with my fellow guys are distracting enough to not feel the constant trickles of rain inside my trouser legs. Comments like „Has anyone a ring we can carry through Mordor?“, „This looks like the ending of Star Wars – The Force Awakens.“ or „Achievement unlocked.“ when reaching the first crater let me think I found by incident just the right company when we got in and out of the bus 3 hours ago.
The landscape is changing fast from open grass valleys to upwards winding rock stairs, over plains of snow and ice, steamy black lava sands, green forests and bushes, all along ever changing weather from fog, mist, sun and rain. Sacred places, active volcanoes – and therefore warnings here and there – and the first dive into New Zealand‘s outdoor beauty let me remember why I chose this country for the first longer stay.
„Hey, my trousers have dried!“
It’s the small things that you are grateful for after a long day that started with an alarm at 05:30 am and ended with sun and snacks at the car park in late afternoon.
“Gosh, should I really do this?”
I look at the little barber shop in a row of highway facing stalls with everything to offer for a short car stop. Groceries, coffee, mechanics and this little “Industry barber”. It says 10$ on a handwritten paper sheet posted to the glass window from the inside.
After coming back from the little hike to the Huka Falls I have been complaining again about the struggle with my hair. On one side I want to let it grow for a while and don’t take too much care of it. But otherwise I start to look like a Monchhichi.
“Stop complaining or go to a hairdresser! They have this service in New Zealand.”
So, why not try this? Without the pressure of looking good and trimmed for work the next day nothing can go wrong, right?
The woman inside just finishes the cut on her customer and greets me with a smile. As soon as I take the seat in front of her we start chatting about traveling and coming to New Zealand. 5 years ago she took the same route over Singapore and Australia to New Zealand. With the slight difference that she would stay with her family in New Zealand and I travel onwards for now.
Well, the chat was well needed to distract me. Then after I described her what I want – top long to grow out longer, sides very short – she took the razor and cut the sides to 1.5 mm.
After 15 minutes, a good talk and the ongoing sound of the electric razor I am finished. In more then one meaning. My hairdresser would call it a “Konstablerwache cut” – if she would call it a cut at all.
But somehow it also feels so freeing to not care too much about my hair. And well, there is a craft beer tryout tonight in company of my new mates to soothe the possible regrets and missing my beloved hairstylist back home. And with just 10$ spent for the cut there’s even money left for beer.
Cheers to more crazy and new things!