Weekend up the coast

I spent the weekend up on the Kapiti Coast. Just to relax, which I really need to but don’t get to do in Wellington.

The campground was really busy, but most of the time, I was out and about anyway, going for walks or reading a book in a nice sheltered spot.

View of Kapiti Island:

001 Kapiti Island (400x300)

Dunes stretch along part of the coast:

002 Duenen bei Paekakariki (400x300)

The coast faces West, with some pretty decent sunsets:

004 Sonnenuntergang in Paekakariki (400x300)

All this just an hour by train from Wellington. Not bad eh.

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Back again

The flight back to Wellington was not that great. Bumpy already just before Cook Strait, I arrived rather sick. Sandra was on a later flight which was a bit better, which was good because she tends to get sick from flying, too.

Sandra stayed with us in Wellington for a couple of days. I only worked half days which was great since my brain really struggled to get back into work again. After 10 days of holidays you really have just started to relax, and then finding yourself at your desk again for the next six months is really hard.

On my first afternoon off, Sandra and I caught the bus & train out to Plimmerton on the Kapiti coast and went for a beach walk. Plimmerton is a nice little seaside village, and you can walk along the coast for hours there, up to Pukeroa Bay if you want to.

Kapiti coast bei Plimmerton

Back in town, we stopped by the World Unicycle Championships and watched unicyclists trying not to break their necks while doing amazing jumps over old cars or off containers and forklifts.

On my second afternoon off, we went to the Karori Sanctuary and had a look at the tuataras and kaka. We did not see many other birds, partly due to a lot of feeding stations currently being closed, and partly due to us being clueless about birds. We then went to Mt Vic, again to have a look at the unicyclists (the mountain biking race this time), and to walk to the top to enjoy the view over Wellington Harbour.

In the evening we cooked a dinner of baked kumara and salad for the whole flat. The folling day, Sandra left for the sun and Napier.

It was really nice to have had Sandra here. I’ve really only got one friend here in NZ, and I really enjoyed our holiday. Spending time with someone from my old life was fantastic. Just knowing that she’s still in the country somehow makes a difference.

Making friends in NZ not that easy for us Germans/Austrians/Swiss due to slight cultural differences of what we perceive as friends. People are a lot nicer here at the start, where Germans are somewhat unfriendly. While Germans then open up once that initial barrier has been overcome, New Zealanders tend to stay somewhat reserved. What New Zealanders often call friends would only qualify as acquaintances in Germany. What Germans say of Americans – friendly but superficial – in my opinion also applies to many New Zealanders (with noteable exceptions though!).

Washing machine

Last weekend, I went to Pukerua Bay which is about half an hour North along the coast. I’ve been offered a washing machine by Barbara from the TUM alumni network and I wanted to go and pick it up. Since it was a very nice day, we went for a walk with views of the coastline:

Pukerua Bay

Then down to the sea where we had a look at the rock pools and what’s in there:

Pukerua Bay Seestern

Their house is in a fantastic place, with views of the sea and Kapiti island. In the late afternoon, we even could see Mt Ruapehu (about 250km further North). It was good for me to see that there are indeed nice houses in NZ, even though I cannot afford to live in one of them.

Barbara bakes her own sourdough bread, really yummy, I haven’t had such nice bread for months. If our oven was better, I’d probably start to bake my own bread now.

The washing machine is quite a good one, with 1450 spins per minute, which is very helpful when you live in a cold and damp house. The machine is running right now, and I can actually feel the floor vibrating and the windows are rattling when it’s in full spin.

My work contract has been extended by the way. Carfree week was a success, with about 1/4 of staff having participated. There were a few shop vouchers to be won, and our CEO did the prize draw.

The summer will be quite busy for me. We are going to launch our internal car-pooling in Wellington early in November. To have a better chance for matching rides, I’ve invited a few other governmental organisations to join us.

From December to mid March, we plan to run a big promotion of cycling as a transport joice. In March, there’s ‘Walk to Work Day’ where we should do an organisation-wide promotion, too.

In February, I’d like to go on a tramping holiday with Pete. No idea whether I can get three weeks off in the middle of a big promotion. But February is the warmest, driest month which makes it the best one for tramping. March is still ok, but can already be quite chilly at night in the mountains. January are school holidays here, so not my preferred choice either.

21:19 now, I should probably go to bed because Pete has to get up really early tomorrow morning. He’s signed up for a bike race that starts at about 9 in the morning, that’s about one hour driving from here or even more. That’s really inconvenient about sharing a bedroom. I’d rather sit and listen to a few CDs now, but then Pete cannot sleep, and I will be dead tired tomorrow, too.

Klaus moved my stuff to my mother’s place a week ago, which was awfully nice of him. He also packed a couple of things for me I wanted to have here, and Barbara took them with her when she came back from Europe two weeks ago. That’s actually why I’ve got a bit of a better choice of CDs here now.

The washing machine has finished now. There was a strange noise while it was running that I do not quite like, will have to check out now what it could be.