I like wet, grey mornings.
Even without the seal drawing our interest the coastline was lovely. It was windy and wet and beautiful. Not only was seeing the seal just amazing and unexpected, it was really good that it drew us out of the house and onto the rocks. Because we probably wouldn’t have gone out otherwise – it wasn’t raining at the time but it was still not a typical “let’s clamber on the rocks” kind of day. But out we went, and James and Nat quickly drew ahead of Luke and I (they’re the more outdoorsy types and besides, I was sick and slow and getting distracted by all the rockpools and such).
Luke soon found a good vantage point for seal watching and I joined him, while James and Nat went even closer. I wasn’t able to get any good photos of the seal but it was so fun to watch him stun a fish or squid then toss them in the air and gobble them down.
After watching for a while Luke and I headed back to the shore, and I enjoyed getting distracted by everything. At one spot someone had laid driftwood against a rock in a way that with more wood or another covering would have made a very makeshift shelter, or as is would have been a great thing for kids to play with. I love it, it took me back to being a kid myself, reading adventure books and imagining surviving in the wilderness.
Then for a while I frolicked around the patch of beach, picking up all the pretty and interesting things to show James, who had started to come back with Nat from closer to the waves. I actually really liked all the things I found, and was amazed to find a rib bone! We ended up taking the bone and the shell pieces back to the Airbnb, the garden of which was already filled with beautiful shells which we just added to.
We all headed back into the Airbnb to plan the day. Before we went I put together a detailed itinerary, but in the end we didn't stick to it too much, though we did do most of the things we wanted to. Also at some point either we had breakfast (toast with jam for me) – not sure if it was before or after our seal expedition but it happened, even though it wasn’t really morning by the time James and I got up. Nat and Luke had taken care of their feeding requirements while we were still slumbering.
Our plan for this day ended up being very vague; we were just going to go and check out Wellington. Due to the weather and the size of the van, we decided to order a taxi rather than drive ourselves, which was a great idea because our chatty taxi driver (who had actually lived not too far from us in Australia for about fifteen years!) asked what we wanted to do and picked a good place to drop us off – right across the road from the Capital Market food court. Because it was lunch time now!
We entered the food court, which was kind of cute and retro and reminiscent of a street food market, and had a browse. And to my surprise, we found one place that was wholly gluten free and another where half the menu was! That's without looking at literally every place too. I’ll say this now – New Zealand is so much better than Australia at catering for gluten free people. Nearly every restaurant or café we went to had about a third of their menu gluten free already, or could be made gluten free. Sometimes even more than that. It was so good, because so often in Australia you get one or two choices in a menu and that’s it. So it was great that James go to pick from a proper range of food no matter where we went. I mean, part of our reason for staying at Airbnbs rather than hotels was so we could cook…but the most cooking we did was making toast for breakfast, and we only did that some days!
Anyway, we all got food from different places and everything seemed so good I wish I could have eaten more! As it was, my eyes were too big for my stomach and I bought a red bean bun and a pork bun that were larger than I thought and still got to sample some of James’s popcorn chicken with chipotle mayo. And on this day we started what became a bit of a trend on this trip, James taking photos of me being very happy about food.
After our stomachs were satisfied (I got an iced chocolate as well when James when to get a desert cupcake from the wholly gluten free store, I ate so much food over this trip and have no regrets) we headed out in the streets to take a wander. I forget who picked the direction we went and why, but we just enjoyed having a wander and looking at shopfronts.
Fairly soon we passed a nice shoe store, and James and I ducked in to see if we could find him some new wedding shoes. Nat and Luke meanwhile popped upstairs to a gaming store a couple of doors back. James tried on a lot of shoes and in the end bought a pair of dark cherry red Doc Martens. It was like perfect serendipity, because even though the shoes that got left at home were great and worked really well with his outfit, the Docs were the shoe he originally wanted but couldn’t find locally or online. Then here in Wellington we found them after all!
We headed out and went to meet Nat and Luke in the game store, where they were (naturally) engaged in giving some D&D pointers to a teenage boy. I almost bought some Sailor Moon manga and figures, but resisted. I'm trying to to buy too much "stuff" these days, and downsize what I have. I'll buy clothes and books galore, but I'm not really a manga lover and don't need for figurines so I stayed strong.
From there we headed out to find a shopping centre which contained the Warhammer store, which Nat and Luke wanted to visit. Once we got there we split up since James and I wanted to go into a chemist to find some cold and flu medication, longer socks so he could break in his Docs, and make-up for me for the wedding (another thing we couldn't find before we left, or at least it was easier to buy new makeup than hunt out the old). James changed his shoes, we took some of our meds, and met up in Warhammer.
Soon enough we drifted out of the store and the shopping centre, and realised we were quite near the Te Papa museum. Since this was a place we had intended to visit in our initial itinerary, it was an easy decision to head there now.
We went in, checked in our bags and coats, got maps and discovered (to our sadness, as it was the thing we really wanted to see) that the area with the colossal squid was closed. But still, we were here and wanted to see what we could see. We decided to split up into couples again, since Luke wanted to see the Gallipoli exhibit and neither James nor I had any interest at all in a war themed exhibit.
In the absence of the colossal squid as a starting point, James and I just headed upwards. The view of rainy Wellington city and the harbour was really pretty outside the windows, and we both took photos...James of the view and me of James!
Isn't he cute in his shiny new shoes?
When we finished our walk up to the highest floor we found ourselves at Te Marae.
From there we wandered through some of the Ko Rongowhakaata: The Story of Light and Shadow and Mana Whenua exhibitions. Everything was fascinating, especially finding out about greenstone, but we were both so sick and tired that we didn't look much and soon settled ourselves at a cafe for some tea and juice. As we sat there, we realised we weren't really up for more museum touring (which was a pity since it was a wonderful place) so decided to text the others and agree to meet up at a cafe we had passed outside, the Green Parrot, when they were done with seeing what they wanted to see.
We did, however, get distracted by the gift shop on our way out. Our wonderful friend Mel was house-sitting for us while we were gone, and we wanted to get her a little thank you present. Then we got distracted by buying more things for ourselves as well! What was wonderful is that when we were picking necklaces James asked for my opinion between a row of them for himself. I picked the shape I liked best, and when he read the description of what that shape symbolised, it was about representing the journey of two becoming one throughout life. Accidental romance for the win! As well as each picking up a necklace we bought matching rings (as if we wouldn't be wearing new rings the soon anyway!) and James bought a pretty name pen.
I took a picture of our little haul at the Green Parrot, sans rings.
I ended up giving the bracelet pictured to my friend Jayne ^__^
Once we left the museum we figured the others would probably be a little while, so we went past the Green Parrot in search of an umbrella (since the forecast for our wedding day was rain, and Nat had suggest a clear umbrella would make for cute photos if it was going to rain) and some better socks for James, since the ones from the chemist were proving uncomfortable. We found a discount store where we got the socks and some makeup brushes for me, though no luck on the umbrella. I checked my phone as we left, and it turns out the others left the museum not long after us and saw us heading away from the Green Parrot! Oops! I quickly texted back to explain and in a minute we met them at the Green Parrot, which was a super cute vintage style cafe.
We all ordered more beverages...except me. I ordered apple pie as well as a milkshake, because food. James took another happy Roli with food pic, which is honestly one of my favourite photos of me right now, because I look so genuinely happy lol.
We also started a bet on this day - how many times would I drop food on myself during this trip? The final tally was 11, Luke guessed 12 and was the closest. I dropped apple pie on my front twice here and that was the start of the bet.
While we enjoyed our good things and relaxed, we discussed dinner plans and settled on visiting a grocery store before hailing a cab to go back to our Airbnb, and getting some stuff for a grazing kind of dinner - bread, chips, dips and cheeses.
It was really nice wandering through Wellington in the wind and wet as night fell and the city lights came on. I mean, it was cold and I was tired and just wanted to get warm and cuddly, but it was still really nice.
One thing I also enjoyed doing on this trip was taking lots of selfies, so while we paused for Nat to check directions James and I took some cute pics together.
Soon though we were in a New World supermarket, grabbing food and some necessary toiletries. James and I spent way too long at the candy section (but only walked away with some crocodile lollies, rather than literally everything, so there's that). Nat also decided to pick up a bottle of wine to celebrate us being there and getting married, which was sweet of her. Laden with bags, we found a taxi and went back to our temporary home.
Our evening from there was spent just relaxing, playing games and checking social media on our phones or tablets, watching some inane TV show about gold prospecting in remote Australia, and of course eating nommy food. We made a toast; to all of us being there, to James and I marrying. We made some plans and a booking for the following day and retired to bed not too late; we had big plans for the next day!