Day 32. Thursday 7 December.
Google maps told us the drive from Paihia to 11 Buchanan Street in Devonport, our last accommodation before getting back to our own bed next week, would take 3 hours and 12 minutes. That was without multiple roadworks, heavy transport traffic, slow motorhomes – and of course a stop for coffee at Bianca’s at 1956 The Coast Discovery Highway (SH Route 1) in Kaiwaka. D had asked T when did she want coffee. A good hour past the preferred time, a suitable stop was found. As T got out of the car, D said, ‘I need to talk to you about our renovations’. T was amazed as D NEVER wants to hear about reno plans. Then as she turned around, all became clear! He then added, ‘Well, we’re almost there’.
Bianca’s was a delight.
Excellent coffee, wait staff with big (good) attitude and a little clothing room to rummage in. Then onward to the big city.
On arrival (after just over four hours – well done, Google maps) we had to search for our motel, picturing from the booking site a ground-level block within a garden. Everything in the street was either 2 storeys or very colonial period. D paced the street, upsetting a yappy dog; there was nothing that looked like our booking. Eventually, seeing some signage, he approached the front door of #11, upsetting the dog again. There was a note for Unit 1, but not for us. Eventually, a young woman wrapped only in a towel and lathered in soap answered; yes, we were expected and the motel turns out to be two units behind a large old residence, with no on- site parking. The rooms are old, self-contained, neat, well looked after and comfortable, but very small; although D remarked that the space is much bigger than the van.
As we departed to walk in the town, our motel neighbours arrived, and ‘Ove’ D was able to direct them to their room, where to park, who was at home etc. They were followed in short order by ‘Prue’s mum’ – who was also put in the picture although she didn’t seem all that interested – so now we’ve met two of the three generations: just waiting for the proprietor. We’re only a street back from the beachfront and the shopping strip in Devonport, dinner has been sourced from the deli in New World (Coles), the afternoon is balmy and the beer, brie and Sicilian olives in the garden taste very good.