A Rainy Day in Windy Welly

The rain from last night had not let up and in fact had possibly gotten worse. While the team got up early to do some much needed laundry and publish some backlogged blog posts I got to sleep in (hooray!). At around 9 we donned our rain gear and grabbed our Chinese umbrellas that we have not had to use since Beijing, and headed out for the day. A windy mist greeted us but it wasn’t too bad and we headed first to the farmer’s market near the harbor.

The farmer’s market here (and probably every farmer’s market that is not in arid Texas) is significantly better than the one we have back home. There were probably 40 stands selling all manner of fresh fruits and vegetables. We browsed for a while, a little jealous that we wouldn’t be doing any cooking in Wellington, and then headed over to the food trucks for late breakfast. After perusing our options we tried to find a not associated but nearby food market to no avail before returning to food alley and choosing a delicious crepe and a feta stuffed pita bread.

Lynn at the farmer's market.
Lynn at the farmer’s market.
Kumaras are New Zealand's version of sweet potatoes and are proof that Polynesians had communication with South America.
Kumaras are New Zealand’s version of sweet potatoes and are proof that Polynesians had communication with South America.
Doug enjoying a lemon meringue tart procured while trying to find the second market.
Doug enjoying a lemon meringue tart procured while trying to find the second market.
Lynn's enjoying her stuffed pita something.
Lynn’s enjoying her stuffed pita something.

By this point the rain was starting to kick back up again so we ducked inside the nearby Te Papa National Museum to see what it was all about.  We had heard good things about a Gallipoli exhibit built by Peter Jackson but quickly saw that we were not the only ones who were taking advantage of a rainy day to see the museum – the line for that exhibit was about 45 minutes long. Instead we explored the rest of the museum, appreciating how well it was done, especially when it was free to enter. There were a few weird things though, it seemed to not follow a coherent story and it felt like they were trying to be interactive but didn’t quite follow through.  Overall though there was a lot of good information about the history, natural and otherwise, of New Zealand.  After a few hours we were a bit overloaded with museum knowledge so we decided to venture off for the i-Site in hopes of finding some rain appropriate activities.

The Te Papa museum is also having a Dreamworks Animation exhibit. We didn't go in but we did enjoy this sculpture of Toothless.
The Te Papa museum is also having a Dreamworks Animation exhibit. We didn’t go in but we did enjoy this sculpture of Toothless.
There was an exhibit about earthquakes and it carried this warning at the outset. We expected a lot more interactivity based on this sign than there actually was.
There was an exhibit about earthquakes and it carried this warning at the outset. We expected a lot more interactivity based on this sign than there actually was.
This "ejaculation helmet" was used to collect sperm from a rare bird that would only mate with people's heads.
This “ejaculation helmet” was used to collect sperm from a rare bird that would only mate with people’s heads.

We timed our run to the i-Site very poorly and the rain really started coming down just as we stepped outside. We all got soaked on the ten minute walk and Lynn and I learned that our cheap umbrellas were no match for Wellington’s notorious wind.  We hung out inside the i-Site for quite a while, mostly drying off again and waiting for the rain to subside. Other people had the same idea and it was far too crowded to talk to an employee so we just read various brochures on the wall before we left to go find lunch.

So much rain.
So much rain.

Leah had found a Cuban restaurant called Fidel’s that looked good and reviews said it had the best milkshake in New Zealand so I was sold.  We left the i-Site and tried to stay under awnings as we worked our way to the restaurant. Opening the door to it we were disappointed to find a line of people waiting to be seated.  Never ones to be deterred when ice cream is on the line we decided to wait and it turned out we were seated quite quickly. The milkshake was indeed exceptional and a far cry from the frothy chocolate milk they tried to pass off as one that I had last week on the way to Dunedin. We spent quite some time in the restaurant, even after all the food was gone, really just trying to avoid the rain.

A giant Oreo milkshake.
A giant Oreo milkshake.

Eventually we realized the rain was never going to let up and headed back out into it. Stephen had found a brewery with a ridiculous name nearby and we headed a few blocks over to check out Tuatara, The Temple of Taste and the Third Eye Brewery.  We all ordered samplers and managed to try a little bit of almost all of their beers. The place seemed popular with Americans and we met a couple from Portland and two gentleman from near Sacramento there as well.  We thought it was likely that only tourists were out in this rain and everyone else had a home to stay warm and dry in and we thought that sounded like a good idea so we headed back home to warm up and dry off.

Best name for a business ever.
Best name for a business ever.
The team with all their beer samples.
The team with all their beer samples.

Back at our little home, we spent a few hours relaxing. Lynn and I did a load of laundry and Leah and Stephen made plans for their trip after we leave.  In the process they found some ridiculous TripAdvisor reviews and we developed the idea for a new YouTube channel – dramatic readings of bad TripAdvisor reviews.

Around 7 we were getting hungry so we went to a very disappointing Asian fusion restaurant Lynn had found. It wasn’t her fault, it had great reviews online, and we decided that Wellington must have some restaurant review inflation going on because almost everything was very bland. We also learned they don’t really know what a grill is here as all of our grilled food had clearly been cooked in oil on a flat top.

Cold, wet, and a little sad with our dinner, we headed home once again. We spent the rest of the night cuddled up in warm clothes and checking out local television before calling it a night.

Daily Walking Mileage : 7.7 miles

Fun Facts :

  • Tuatara lizards are endemic to New Zealand and actually have a third eye on the back of their head that can sense light and helps regulate their circadian rhythm.
  • It rains, on average, 150 days per year.  Today is definitely one of them.
  • New Zealand has an enormous problem with invasive species with everything from feral cats down to bacteria. In fact 51% of New Zealand is covered in invasive grasses.

2 thoughts on “A Rainy Day in Windy Welly

  1. So…nothing to do with your January 3rd posting…but…your journey is certainly interesting to us both and as with Sue, we are living vicariously through you and your bold travel style. Now, since Trevor and I are ‘of, or close to, a certain age (50 yikes)’, we have been receiving fabulous travel brochures. In the latest one from National Geographic Expeditions, you can see their version of an ‘Around the World’ …IN A PRIVATE JET at the starting price of $76,000 per person (http://www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/destinations/aroundtheworld). We recognize that you are not doing ‘Around the World’…but…did find the contrast striking. We think we would enjoy your approach more.

    1. Interesting, Karen. And Doug and Lynn, you have or will have been to at least one of the places in every one of the itineraries offered. Of course, the whole private plane aspect does add a new dimension.

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