They say there’s nothing better than Wellington on a fine day. I hear it positively sparkles.
So does my friend May, who had taken the morning train into Wellington to meet me.
It was not a fine day, by any objective measure, when we pulled into dock. Because of the high wind and torrential rain, it took a long time to get properly berthed, and to get the gangway sufficiently safe for passengers.
Eventually, they let us off. I was the second person off the ship, and the first one out the door, while they were still working through the logistics of starting up shuttle buses into the city. I could not wait for that… May was already waiting for me!
Fortunately, I had packed a rain poncho that CIE Tours had given me for my tour of Ireland last year. It didn’t rain then, and I hadn’t needed it. Now I was thankful to have it. It took some adjusting (and readjusting as the wind tried to tear through it) but it kept the worst of the torrent from soaking me through, and in pretty short order, I was walking into the Wellington Train Station, peeling off and shaking out my dripping plastic poncho.
And the next minute, I was smiling at and hugging a friend I had been waiting a very long time to meet.
It was Labour Day in New Zealand, and lots of things were closed… plus the weather was putting something of a damper (it couldn’t actually get any damper, hahaha, sorry bad pun) on her carefully crafted plans.
But even in the rain, we walked the waterfront, and headed down to the Te Papa museum. The museum proper wasn’t yet open, but the coffee shop and gift shop were, so May and I sat down to drink warm drinks and eat something sweet and chat a bit while we dried out.
Oh, and gave each other presents. Like-minded, no?
(WordPress is absolutely refusing to add my caption for that, so I’ll just tell you: those are my new super-cute, super warm-and-fuzzy slipper socks with kiwi birds on them. I think they’re awesome. Seriously, who could NOT smile with these on their feet? Thanks May! (Also, not shown, was yummy New Zealand chocolate. It was very yummy, and is thus almost gone. By the time you read this, it will be.))
After a very quick stroll through part of Te Papa – it wasn’t really on May’s master plan for the day, but we were rolling with the weather – we walked around Wellington (May pointing out all the interesting landmarks).
We took the cable car up to the top, and then strolled the botanical gardens back through town.
We made our way back into town and then went for lunch — I am sure I talked poor May’s ear off, but she was so very sweet and gracious. It took a couple of tries, because almost everything closes for Labour Day, but we found a warm spot for fish and chips (which was really good, but spending the day with my friend was even better).
Since the weather had cleared up considerably, we went back to the waterfront again, and stopped for a final coffee together, before she walked me back to the pier.
Spoiler alert: I had a wonderful time on this trip. I had some fantastic days, including the ones in Tauranga, Dunedin, and Melbourne. But this rainy day in Wellington was probably my favorite.
My friend May is the reason.