|SOLACE IN THE WIND|
This metal statue balances on the edge of Wellington harbour. He has a grimace on his face that is hard to interpret. Is he grimacing at the force of the winds that whip this city almost constantly – giving it the name Windy Wellington. (120km just this past week). Sometime it is quite hard to maintain one’s grip on the sidewalk.
Reminds me, not in a good way, of my time in the Peace Corps on the island of St. Kitts/Nevis and how their economy was almost totally based on the income from these massive floating cities. Have you guessed I’m not a fan?
The CBD (Central Business District) curves around the harbour with wide sidewalks bordering the streets, plentiful buses running from one end to the other and a fabulous walkway along the harbourside. Churches, galleries, shops, artwork and coffee shops too numerous to count (Wellingtonians LOVE their coffee – and that means NO Starbucks!) fill the streets.
|Granny-square bombed biked racks|
|Churches next to….|
|Clam shells next to…..|
|….Katherine Mansfield statue…|
|……whose dress is filled with her written words|
You wander the streets and find such interesting and unusual pieces of art. The clam shells, while pretty, were also the landing place of a man who jumped off the top floor of the building next to where they are located. It didn’t end well for the man – but the clam shells, as you can see, survived.
|The War Memorial|
|Whale of a Tail Fountain|
|Old St. Paul’s 1866|
|The beautiful interior of Old St. Paul’s.|
When you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of downtown, you can hop the cable car and ride to the top where the glorious Wellington Botanic Gardens are located. From the top you can slowly stroll back down, through 4 distinctive gardens, enjoy seeing some of the most beautiful and usual plants, stop for a lovely lunch at the cafe in the center of the rose garden, or stay late and enjoy a free concert at the SoundShell.
A Creative Fibers’s exhibition and Christmas Concert at the Cathedral
My favorite sign on the far side of the city – as yet no penguins sighted!
Guy Faulks fireworks over the harbour!
Traditional Maori greeters during Secretary John Kerry’s presentation
New Year’s Eve on the Harbour!
But there were three other exceptional events that happened since I arrived in Wellington.
The first and one that I will cherish long after I leave New Zealand, has been meeting and enjoying the friendship of Kelly Wright and Jenny Taylor. Kelly is the mother of the woman who’s home and pets I am housesitting while she and her family are in South Africa on holiday. Jenny is a friend of Kelly’s.
They have made my stay here feel more like home. They have picked me up and taken me here, there and everywhere, including me in their everyday lives. You don’t realize how much you need friends, especially ‘girlfriends,’ when you are away from home.
|Kelly & ‘grand-dog Punter|
|Jenny & I in Martinborough|
The 2nd most exceptional event that happened since I arrived is I lived through a 7.8 degree earthquake! This was no small event. It closed major roads, destroyed homes and wrecked havoc with many of the high rises in downtown Wellington. Lots of broken windows and quite a few building being taken down because they are no longer deemed safe for occupancy.
I woke up to my bed swaying back and forth, The Boys screaming to get out of bed and stand in a doorway, and me thinking the house was going to fall off the cliff any second and we were going to land in the harbour!
Well, the house and I survived – and I managed to live through some pretty severe 5.5+ aftershocks during the next several weeks. I came to the conclusion that I do not like earthquakes.
I have lived in areas where tornados and hurricanes where prevalent. They are signs let you know when one is coming and there are actions to take to survive one of those. Earthquakes are totally unpredictable and there are absolutely no way to survive a really big one. The TV commercials tell you to get under a table and duck and cover! I haven’t heard something like that since I was in grade school and we were practicing for the next nuclear bomb attack! I love New Zealand but the entire country was built up by volcanos along a major fault line, not to mention the tectonic plates that shift to-and fro just off the coast! It’s a country that knows what it means to ‘rock ‘n roll!’
And lastly, but the most exciting event that has occurred since I arrived in Wellington is the birth of my second grandchild. This time a boy, by the name of John Tobin Scott. He arrived just before Thanksgiving and is beautiful. Mom, dad and sister Stella are thrilled (well, leave Stella out of that equation) and he is growing big and strong and I can’t wait to meet him when I return in April.
I think this is enough for one blog post! I know for a fact that I have missed so many things I wanted to include that I have seen and done, but I’ll just come back and add them later. Next up – the places I’ve traveled while using Wellington as my home base during the past 3 months and the wonderful places and pets I house sat.
Until next time…….
PS: I had hoped to get my entire stay in Wellington written up before my departure on the 19th, but I woke up with a ‘black screen’ the other morning which called for a frantic visit to The Apple Guy and my little MacBook Air requiring an overnight stay which threw my writing schedule into a whirl. So once again I will be a bit behind in my travel reporting…..oh well!