We spent two days in the capital. One bus driver tried to rip us off but other than that, it’s been a fantastic, positive experience!
I told Liesel that I’d had something for breakfast that she hadn’t. “What’s that?” “A double-yolker.” “So did I!” said Liesel. What are the chances of two double-yolks in the same box of locally produced eggs? Maybe there’s another yet to be discovered.
The bus took us to within a few minutes of The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. Lots of Aotearoa New Zealand history and artefacts of course. So it made sense that we made a beeline for the Terracotta Warriors, Guardians of Immortality exhibition up on level 4. We missed this when it was on in Liverpool and it was worth waiting for. Chinese art, science and technology were so advanced. They knew about chrome-plating 2000 years before it was invented in the west.
The pottery fishes may have held stones, possibly children’s toys.
These are not ancient Chinese CDs, but jade discs, circular because that’s the shape they imagined heaven to be: they were placed on the bodies of the dead to ensure immortality.
As the UK teeters on the edge of a cliff, about to leave the EU with all the advantages it has to offer, the unification of China struck a chord. The aims were very similar to that of a united Europe: common standards making it much easier to trade.
I think most of us visitors gasped in awe when we reached the room with the Terracotta Warriors. Each one is unique, possibly representing one real person. Flecks of pigment have been found, suggesting that they were all painted at first, the skin being flesh-coloured. It would be interesting to see one repainted, or at least a mock-up.
What’s got four legs and flies? A dead horse! The museum is home to the skeleton of Phar Lap, a very famous racehorse from nearly 100 years ago. I can’t really blame this nag for my Dad’s losses at the betting shop, it was even before his time.
The history of Maori culture pretty much agreed with what the museum in Auckland told us: some inter-tribal warfare but much more conflict when white people turned up and ruined everything.
How can you top a dead horse? With a life size model of a blue whale’s heart, of course.
Wellington’s harbour is deep but even so, there are places where you can, if you so choose, jump into the water from a great height and, if you survive, tell your mates about it.
In fact, the walk around the museum outside was interesting too. The ‘bush walk’ is necessarily short, being in the middle of a city, but very interesting just the same. Plus, it provided some shelter from Wellington’s famous wind which was up today. We encountered such things as a cave network, moa bones, fake glow worms, pretend stratified layers of rock and local plants.
We took the cable car up the hill for a quick walk in the Botanic Gardens.
It was a quicker and shorter walk than anticipated because we got ‘sidetracked’ and paid a visit to the Space Place at Carter Observatory. It was indoors, out of the wind and I was able to glue down the old toupée again. But it was an interesting place. They are rightly very proud of New Zealand’s contributions to astronomy.
We walked around the gardens for a short while, enjoying great views over the city. There is an exceptional blend of native bush, exotic trees, plant collections and stunning floral displays, all holding on by their roots and fingernails in the gale.
Back down in the city centre, we looked for somewhere to eat. I thought this item, sculpture, work of art was intriguing.
I walked round to find a plaque telling me about it and the artist. Imagine the disappointment when, at the far end, signs on doors told the me that these were, in fact, disabled toilets.
We found a good place to eat but here’s a tip: if you’re going to wear a red gingham shirt, don’t dine at a place where the staff are also wearing red gingham shirts!
Our other entertainment was provided by three sparrows outside fighting over a piece of pizza crust. None of them could fly off with it but I think they all tried. The show ended when a seagull swooped down and stole it.
And then on our final walk home from the bus stop, we saw this unusual flower in someone’s front garden.
We’re staying in the Newtown area which is like a little hippy village. I walked straight back into the 1970s when I came across these posters.
I managed to avoid the shoe-shopping expedition that Liesel went on (which was successful, by the way), but we later met up for lunch and a visit to the Wellington Museum. Again, too much to see in one go and we were kicked out at closing time.
Before that though, we read a sequence of short stories about Wellington, one for every year of the 20th century.
What’s got four legs and flies? You’ve forgotten already? Well, the 1956 story described the demise of the Clydesdale horses formerly used to pull the milk floats.
We wandered around the harbour front again before going home.
Oh, look, yarn-bombing by the sea.
Haha, look, very funny toilet signs.
And look, there are several of these wooden structures in the area and this one was very comfortable to lie on, in an attempt to ease the crick in the back after two days of plodding slowly around museums.
And finally, here’s Liesel holding up a metal ball in an attempt to create an eclipse of the Sun.