Caring for the elderly hasn’t featured much in my life so far, but caring is exactly what I did on the flight from Vancouver (Canada) to Auckland (New Zealand)… I was sat between two old ladies, neither of which knew the other. One was quite capable of travelling alone, and the other, well, not so.
I have a bit of an affinity with old people – so my boyfriend Dave tells me – so I ended up assisting her with pretty much everything during the 14 hour flight, from escorting her to the toilet, choosing programmes for her to watch and helping her fill out her arrival card, to comforting her in the almost constant turbulence and stowing away her meals for her in her bag to “keep for later”.
I’d just like to add that I highly recommend Air New Zealand. They have fantastic safety videos (yep, you heard right, they actually have comical safety videos!), and great Kiwi films/TV, the humour of which I love. I watched an emotional New Zealand Maori film called The Dark Horse on the plane, fantastically done and very moving. Check it out.
So, after a pretty long and rocky journey over the Pacific and across the date line (whoosh, 24 hours, gone!) I arrived to be greeted by my lovely step-relatives from Auckland. I spent a few fabulous days with them before Dave joined me from England. We visited a great market, saw some amazing live music at the Hallertau craft brewery, went for a fabulous lunch with some other relatives over from England, and generally enjoyed the gorgeous weather and company. It was amazing to be in +20°c temperatures after suffering -20-35°c in Canada! Helen also loves cooking… wahay!!
Since Dave arrived we’ve driven over to the Waitakere Ranges, just 50 minutes west of Auckland, to visit some more distant relatives, see a fabulous waterfall, and walk along the gorgeous black sand surf beach of Karekare. We also completed the coast-to-coast walkway – a 10 mile walk across one of the narrowest parts of the country, taking in some of Auckland’s neighbourhoods, parks, volcanic cones/craters and the city centre, finishing up at the viaduct harbour. A great walk. We witnessed an incredible street performer in the city, she was a contortionist who amazed the crowd by fitting herself through a string-less tennis racket and shooting a bow and arrow (well a sucker-ended arrow) with her feet!! (see photo below).
Karekare and the Waitakere Ranges pics –
Coast-to-coast walkway pics –
Auckland is a really green city; we like it. It’s not my first time to the City of Sails – New Zealand’s most populous city by far – but I seem more taken by it this time round. It really is quite beautiful, with it’s undulating streets, volcanic features , blue seas, multi-cultural population and easy-going friendly locals.
Next up… south to Stratford, Mount Taranaki, New Plymouth and on to the Tongariro Circuit multi-day hike.
Bye for now, Liz.