March 31, 2018
November 21, 2017
We’ve made it to New Zealand! One more country that we’re visiting on this trip and that is completely new to me.
I have no idea if it was pure luck or something else, but on our flight from Melbourne to Auckland, we got a last minute upgrade to business class! Thank you Emirates for that. It was a very nice surprise when we got up at 5 am to catch our flight, and we saw that the seats assigned to us had changed to business class overnight.
When we got on the plane, we were greeted with a glass of champagne. Again, I set a new personal record for the earliest time in a day having alcohol (after the recent feat of starting to drink wine around 10 am on our wine tasting tour). But how can you refuse a glass of champagne on a business class flight?! A steward came by to explain to us how to use our seat (not that it was rocket science, but you could change its position in various ways…) and the different remote controls that we had, including a tablet. He also gave us menus to choose our breakfast and the wine list. Once we were up in the air, we were served our breakfast of choice. After that, we headed over to the bar (!!!) of the plane, where there were several snacks laid out for us and we could choose from various cocktails, whiskeys and other drinks. Completely crazy, if you ask me! There were a few sofas to sit around the bar, so people gathered there and the whole setting turned into a small social gathering, which I have never seen happen on a plane before. I ordered a mojito, setting a new personal record for the earliest time in a day having a cocktail – but maybe I should stop listing these things and embarrassing myself…
We landed in Auckland, where we stayed with good friends of Daniel’s aunt. It was great to meet them, to get to know their family, and to spend 2 days at their house, beautifully located on a hill close to the city. One thing that surprised me a lot about Auckland is how spread out it is. You wouldn’t expect such a big city in New Zealand, which has a total of 3.5 million inhabitants. About 1.5 million people live in Auckland, but the city is impressive in its area, not its population. Auckland reminded me of LA, with its houses spread, in width, over more than 100 km, and the absolute need to have a car if you want to get anywhere in the city.
On the one full day we spent in Auckland, we met up with my old friend from school Mihai, who has been living in Auckland for 12 years and was so kind as to take a day off from work and show us around the city. We went to 2 viewpoints (One Tree Hill and Mount Eden), downtown (where we parked in the most expensive park house that Daniel and I have ever seen), and to the Parnell neighborhood. One day is definitely not enough to get to see even just the most interesting sites in Auckland, but on the next day we had to pick up the camper van we had rented, and we started our road trip through New Zealand.