Day 35. Sunday 10 December.
We’ve reached the five week mark – and it really is time to be home. The sky suggests that the drought may be about to end, which has a sort of slowing effect on us, adding to the sense of an end of journey, and of course some tiredness from the activities of the reunion. By mutual agreement this will be slow day. It didn’t start all that well as we’d allowed the milk supply to dry up so our morning cup of tea was threatened – and the bread for breakfast had become mouldy. A quick trip down the street to pick up supplies was extended by meeting some of our friends and joining them at their breakfast for a cup of tea and sharing the SMH quiz. What is the largest island in the Society Islands group? What was Cheryl Crow’s only #1 hit in Australia? What were the two films that starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Johnny Depp? Can the questions be any more obscure? Overall, the collective mind power did pretty well.
T went out for a slow waterfront amble leaving D to be slow at our digs. A perfect morning for a stroll, with a bit of cloud cover. Sunday families at the beach, folk strolling, cafes doing good business, gallery staff passing time on screens…
In next to no time it was bbq o’clock at Clarence St again. How did people still have chatting energy? But, energy there still was in abundance. Tony hosted, food and wine was shared, laughs rolled on and the Auckland skyline, cloudy all day, put on a golden show to finish the celebrations. It has been a marvelous 3 days in Devonport.
Day 36. Monday 11 December.
The reunion is over, but another celebration takes over: today is T’s birthday. We have a day to ourselves, and plan to catch the ferry across to Auckland to visit the Maritime Museum, to do a cruise of the harbour, do some galleries, have lunch …and whatever else takes our fancy.
We stopped at the ticket counter and missed the ferry by a whisker. Just as well: the security guard gave us detailed advice on what we should do, some of which was a bit confusing, but which boiled down to a recommendation to take the ferry to Whaiheke Island, about 30 minutes down the harbour, do a walk and catch a later ferry back. So we took his advice and paid the ferry man (actually a woman) for a round trip Devonport – Whaiheke – Auckland – Devonport, and then had just a short wait to catch the boat.
The harbor was beautiful. Whaiheke was much, much larger than we’d imagined – and full of creative art outlets. A comprehensive guide on these art offerings was available, so after a bus ride into the village, and a coffee overlooking the water, we set out to visit a few of them. Glass, jewellery, wood…and jandals.
At the public library/Arts Centre, T noticed a poster advertising a NZ film released this year called ‘Human Traces’ and decided that it looked interesting: a dark thriller. T was feeling her hot feet and figured a movie would be cooling/soothing. Google told us the film was screening in Auckland at the Academy Cinemas so back on the bus, catch the waiting ferry, hurriedly walk up Queen St, dodging cruise traffic, to arrive at the 3.30 start time. Perfectly timed! There were 3 filmgoers in a large cinema!
A stroll back to the ferry terminal, punctuated by short stops to dissect the film and discuss meanings and the occasional doge to avoid the scurrying passengers from the cruise liner docked on the very edge of the city. The end of a working day saw a fairly full ferry heading back to Devonport. Needless to say there was a passenger sitting immediately behind who shared with us all a private call involving the probate of a relative’s will all the way across the harbour. Technology manners please!
T had hankered for a French Rose in a green wine glass since Saturday when a couple of the ladies had ordered it on the wharf at midday (in preparation for Saturday night). So we stopped in for that and a beer for D before heading up town to look for a dinner spot.
Passed the Esplanade Hotel and couldn’t believe our eyes that a couple of our reunion mates from Canberra were still here too, and were enjoying a quiet drink looking towards the water.
After a chat we found Manuka Café and liked the look of the menu. T ordered scallops on a parsnip/kumara mash and D fried calamari on a rocket salad, which we shared. Delicious. T then had seared tuna and D grilled salmon. These dishes were just about perfectly cooked, so together with fresh wines and excellent service this was a wonderful way to head towards the end of a lovely day.
Back to our motel to try and fit everything back into our suitcases. Oh dear!