After Napier I had just one more stop on the north island: Wellington.
I had planned to take a bus there when the hotel gods paired me with a lovely Canadian couple who happened to travel to Wellington as well. had escaped the drag of the nine-to-five to travel and had already explored southeast Asia for a time. Now they were ready to stay put for a couple of months in Wellington to hike the finances back up. They were almost gone when suddenly he turned around and asked: ‘Why don’t you drive down with us?’
Yes please! I quickly threw my stuff together and off we went. We detoured past a farmers market and stopped for lunch on our way there. I loved it. In Wellington, they dropped me off in front of the biggest hostel I’ve stayed at so far.
Wellington has lots going on and I took my time to explore the Te Papa museum (with colossal squid), the botanical gardens (with rosegarden) and to tramp up and down hills in search of the best views.
When I had dragged myself up the mountain where the cable car and the botanical gardens were located, I found a beautiful Victorian style perfumery. I started chatting with the owner and when my English left me halfway through he said: ‘You can also tell me in Dutch you know.’ I’d found an immigrated Dutchman!
He had moved to New Zealand for love and even though the relationship had ended, he had stayed. A couple of years ago he had dedicated himself to his long-held dream and opened up the perfumery. He made everything himself from natural ingredients and his most simple perfume already contained 32 ingredients. He told me that only one in a million people is perfumer! It was very interesting to talk to him for a while, up on a mountain in Wellington.
My stay in Wellington ended up being longer than I planned because the ferry to the south island was already fully booked (again with the planning). That gave me the opportunity to meet another interesting person: Vicki. I had sent her a message through couchsurfing, but because of miscommunication hadn’t been able to actually sleep at her place. When I realized I had an extra day, I sent her a message to see if we could still meet up. That turned into a very good day with her and her two dachshunds Baz and Bella. She took me sightseeing north of Wellington and we took the dogs to the beach. After, she treated me to some delicious fish and chips.
Vicki is the spider in the web of Poirua. She seemed to know everyone in the neighbourhood and made sure that everyone was doing well. She took me to visit a friend of hers, Mary. Mary is 83 years old and a little deaf, but still as sharp as a tack. She told me about the time that she worked in England as a developer for Kodak. This was when it was still a complicated art to properly develop colour photos. She still had her camera from 1946! She was a wonderful person with lots of stories to tell.
Going around Wellington like this I realized how much I enjoy meeting new people and learning what their story is. What brought them here and what drives them. I am going to try to keep better notes of the people I meet so I can introduce you to them as well!