Wednesday 24th February.
At least I think it is, for us, if not for you in the UK. Oh, I dunno.
Last sea day for a while. Tried to make it as relaxing as possible, which isn’t too difficult! Don’t think you really want to hear it all again. You know the score: fruit, Sudoku, etc.
Meh. That’s about it, really.
Thursday 25th February. Tauranga, New Zealand (pronounced Taronga)
Although we didn’t go to Tauranga, in fact. We moored in a small seaside town about 5 miles away, called Mount Maunaganui. This place is lovely. Very like England, but with WAY better weather! (low twenties in the shade, high twenties in the sun) And they drive on the left! It is very green here, so I reckon it must rain quite a lot at times, but it was gorgeous today.
Mount Maunaganui is basically our favourite kind of town – with one main street, all on the flat, with a friendly atmosphere and good weather. Ideal.
Tauranga prides itself on being the first town in the world to offer free wifi throughout. Which is fab. But sadly, the free and gratis bandwidth in Mount Maunaganui is really not up to the arrival of several thousand crew and passengers, none of whom have had a decent connection for over a fortnight. We found a small café called Ambrosia, which doesn’t normally allow customers to use its connection, and so we had excellent bandwidth for Skyping home, because no one else was using it! Unusually, we also managed to get hold of everyone we needed to, which was an added bonus.
We ate in a café called The Bach, and then pootled around the shops. There were no big chains here, so every shop was interesting and different. A lot of the goods were marked as being made and designed in New Zealand. They are clearly very proud and protective of their artisans and designers.
I think I purchased the last pair of goggles in the whole town! I tried four stores before I found one that had one pair left. Then we went back to the shore and sat for a while by the water, watching people and chatting to locals who were using the beach. Everyone here is so lovely, it’s ridiculous.
Then had to have a siesta for a bit. Then dad and I went back out to use a bit more free wifi to do some email and chores and then we got back on board just in time for dinner. Only Michael made it. Paula and Dale and Laurie and Michael had hired a car to explore together, so we weren’t surprised when they didn’t make it. But it dawned on me that Paula and Dale will disembark tomorrow, at Auckland, so we may never see them again! Gulp.
So excited to see the Flying Scotsman in Kings Cross, preparing to go up to York. And it departed bang on time. Which is unusual on that line! Fab. I wish I could have been there. But £400 a ticket for one trip is a bit steep.
May have burned the top of my head. It’s a bit warm…