The first couple days!
(for those of you only here for pictures, they’re at the bottom)
Just wanted to give an update on what we’ve been up to for the past 2 days since we’ve arrived in this glorious country. Our bags arrived the day after we did, so we are now fresh and ready to take Auckland on! It honestly feels like we’ve been here for at least a week with how comfortable we feel here and what we’ve gotten accomplished! I think we’ve walked a 189 miles (sorry, kilometers, how embarrassing) since we’ve landed! To be more honest, the farthest we’ve gone one way is about a mile (forget it, everything is miles to me. .) but still, that’s a lot when you’ve been sitting on a plane for two days straight. . .
So, on our first full day here, we feel like we’ve gotten a lot done! We had a meeting with our bank to finish setting up our bank account and it truly was the best banking experience either one of us have ever had! There was a guy shooting a commercial for the bank (I think it was for internal company purposes, and maybe some that would be sent to the media?), Anyways, he was super nice and chatted with us a bit and he told us about a band he likes from Ohio (conveniently we can’t remember what band). He later came back and asked us if we would mind being in the commercial (because we were dazzling with our lack of showers and fresh clothes without our bags), then took our email to send us recommendations for music and food places around Auckland (and he actually did email us with some recommendations the next day)! So with that nice encounter, and how smoothly everything went creating our account, I would suggest going to New Zealand for all of your banking needs.
After our lovely banking time, we headed back to the hostel to use the WiFi, and to contact a guy about a van (I like how sketchy that sounds). Actually it was a guy and a girl, but we only talked to the guy so I’m going to say it like that. So we had to walk to the Auckland Domain (a big city park) to see the van (this was the mile long walk, which turned into more because we took the “scenic route (a.k.a. some wrong turns)”. . . ) The van was great and we’re buying it! We’ll be getting it on Wednesday after we leave the hostel. What I (Ashley) loved most about yesterday was how FREAKING beautiful the Auckland Domain is. I could’ve stayed there for a week and been totally happy with life. It is the oldest park in Auckland and it’s HUGE. (I would so strongly suggest looking at pictures of it if your a lover of plants and nature and happiness). My favorite thing within the park is the Winter Gardens, which consists 2 green houses that are free (!!) to the public. One was full of gorgeous flowers native to the islands, and the other was full of ferns and some of the warmer climate plants also native to NZ, AND in the middle of these glorious greenhouses was a beautiful courtyard with a pond, statues, more plants, and a fountain. I could continue to ramble about how much I loved it, but you should just look at the pictures and see for yo-self!
Our second full day (Friday) has been a little less eventful, but still great! We went on a hike/walk up a volcano located in Auckland called Mt. Eden, we got to walk around the cone and got some pretty great views of the city (which is quite a sprawling city turns out) The volcano was completely surrounded by buildings and homes for quite a ways away in every direction. On our walk back (about an hour walk) we stopped in a cute little hole-in-the-wall sandwich place to grab a BLT for lunch which was delicious, and grabbed some coffee for the rest of the walk back! We also took the opportunity to stop at some op shops (opportunity shops) which is what they call thrift stores (and I love it so much more that way!) just to see the goods and think about things we would need to be buying for our future van life! Also, also, we got to go into the Auckland Public Library which had 3 floors, an amazing children’s space (which of course I would notice!), a 3D printer which was super cool to see, and a ton of seating space. It was one of the coolest libraries I have been in thus far. Side note: it also had a lot of info about women’s progress within the country and really celebrating it, which is actually something we’ve seen all around Auckland and thought it was pretty empowering to see! (Feminists, NZ is a good place for you, let me tell ya!) Anyways, We are currently sitting in our hostel lounge for a bit and we hear a night market starting outside, so we’re gonna head over there because it smells heavenlyyyy.
**Update: the market was amazing!! We had savory elephant ears with feta, tomatoes, garlic, and basil pesto (aka Hungarian fried bread), a steamed pork bun, some lamb kebabs, and a crazy waffle/ice cream dessert. FREAKING. YUM.**
-Assorted pictures from the first couple days are below, followed by another gallery of Winter Gardens pictures-