A Brief Trip to the Big City

There
is only one fairly big city in New Zealand – Auckland, and this weekend was the
one we had booked to go there. A friend of ours, Wally Hobson (cousin of our late
neighbour, that we met when he came to the UK) invited us to stay with them and
offered to show us round, so we accepted with thanks.

 

Before
the weekend arrived Sandie was put on to a project which is joint with Auckland
University, and was booked on to a flight out on Thursday morning and back
Friday night to attend two days of meetings up there. When she pointed out she
was due to fly from Wellington to Auckland at the same time as flying from
Auckland to Wellington, they changed things so she wasn’t going in two
directions at the same time. Then there were problems with the project, and it
was decided she would only go for the Friday meeting, so the flights were
changed again.

 

On
Friday morning Sandie got a taxi to the airport and caught her flight to
Auckland with some colleagues. After her meeting, Wally met her at the airport and they waited for Ian to
arrive on the 6.00 Qantas flight from Wellington. Meanwhile, Ian had arrived at
Wellington airport for the 6.00 flight, to be told the 6.00 was cancelled, and eventually
he was told there were no more flights that night and he was booked in for the
8.30 flight Saturday morning. He got a taxi home and phoned Sandie, and she
went back with Wally to his home. The flight next day was late, and  finally reached Auckland at 11.00, and Wally
and Sandie, who had been waiting all the time, picked him up and set off for a
shortened tour.

 

After all this, we
had a good weekend, which was partly social and partly sightseeing. The Hobsons
let us stay in their ‘granny flat’, a two-bedroom house the family has built on
a spare piece of land. We met the other two brothers and their wives when we all
went out for a meal in the city, and the whole family was very welcoming and hospitable.
The weather was a bit mixed, but we got some dry spells and sun as well as rain.
On Saturday we visited Orewa and Devonport, with great views over the city from
the latter. On Sunday we went to the west coast, to Muriwai Beach with its black
sand and impressive cliffs and gannet colony. We had a nice lunch at a Croatian
winery, and drove through downtown Auckland on the way back to the airport. The
flight back was only half an hour late, so we got home in reasonable time. Despite
all the alarums and excursions, we enjoyed our weekend – mainly due to the great
way we were looked after.

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