Yes, I know… I spoilt you with my frequent updates and then I disappeared 😉 But rest assured, there’s no part of my journey that you will miss out on!
Right now I am sitting in my AirBnb in Wellington, trying to catch up with life and such things. My photos are being uploaded to Flickr while I write this, so feel free to have a peek in there – there were only about 300 to be edited, not all of them made it there though 😉 My Stray journey ended last Saturday with a party at the hostel in Wellington.
It has been a great trip, I enjoyed it a lot and had some of the best drivers out there I think! A few more days here, then I’ll take the ferry and train back to Charlotte’s in Christchurch and from there to Australia via Auckland. There’s less than 3 weeks left on this epic journey now, can you believe it??
Here in Wellington I haven’t really been up to much. The place I am staying at is up up on a hill and the bus takes about 30 minutes to the city centre. It also costs money, so I try go there only every second day, being lazy in my room in between 😉 Hopefully I can do my Christmas shopping here, don’t get excited back home: It’ll have to be very small and light things for you!
I did, however, do the tour of the Weta Cave (for you non-nerds: the place where a lot of the props and creatures and things for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were made) and absolutely loved it! Of course I knew that was not the only thing they worked on, but it was amazing to see how many movies they were involved in! The shuttle I had booked took me out to Miramar, the peninsula that is the centre of New Zealand film-making and dropped me right at the door of the Weta Cave. Here we got to the chance to look around (see the pics!!!) and shop a bit (yes!) before we saw a 25 minute documentary about Weta.
After that, our guide met us outside and took us inside the place where the magic happens. The guides all work there in different departments, so it is a real insider’s view you get! 🙂 We heard how the design process works for pretty much everything, from weapons to armour to everything someone might want in a movie or on private commission. We also got to watch a woman who was putting hair (real hair!) on a statue of a soldier, a new version of the one that is in the Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa right now. Next to her, another woman was painting the cutest things I have seen in a while: a private commission for guinea pigs in LOTR character! Guinea pig Gandalf with a long beard etc… Photography is of course forbidden on the tour, so you just have to imagine them 😉
Speaking of Te Papa: That’s the National museum here in Wellington and an absolute must-do in my opinion! On my way up to Auckland I already went there to see said Gallipoli exhibition. It follows the movements of the New Zealand soldiers in WW I in a very interactive and touching way – Weta has been involved in shaping the whole exhibition. My personal highlights were the statues! I think there are about 5 different ones, each placed in a round dark space, telling their story. They are 2.5 times as big as humans, but every single detail is so real that you think you can hear the blood drip from the wounds… If you have the chance, go see it!!!
The pictures unfortunately don’t do them any justice, silly phone camera…
The travel episodes that are still missing will be posted one after the other, I just need to write them up 😉