It is 5.30am and I made it – I arrived. Hallelujah! This was a long journey, very long considering I left my apartment on Tuesday morning and now it is Thursday. But, I arrived safely and my suitcase arrived with me. In fact, by the time I got to the luggage carousel it was already on its second lap. Off I went, trying to find out how best to get into the city without spending a fortune.
SkyBus it is a shuttle bus that drops you off at your address instead of at fixed bus stops. This bus was full of retired American and Canadian tourists, all of them – it turns out – will join the same cruise in a couple of days. I sit in the front row of the bus, trying to keep a low profile. Another woman – Fiona – sits next to me, also a single traveller it seems. We start chatting. She is from somewhere near Manchester (I already forgot the name of the town) and has been travelling for 10 months already. Amazing – I envy and admire people who allow themselves the time out!
I get to my hotel, hoping my room would be available already. But hey, this would have been too good to be true. No, instead I have to get changed (and refreshed – praise to baby-wipes) in a tiny restroom and head out again. I will be searching for breakfast, because I am starving. I choose a table at the first decent looking cafe and order a coffee. And a muesli, because it turns out they only offer sausage buns or muesli. I fancied eggs, but that’s not an option. Such a disappointment.
The caffein starts to kick-in and I feel awake enough to wander off to the city centre. I am planning to check out ferry times to bring me to Waiheke Island. That’s where I want to go and relax today, on one of the vineyards, enjoying the sunshine and a good glass of wine. But sometimes things don’t go according to plan, because I bumped into Fiona. I am in the city for two hours and bump into the only person I spoke to so far – spooky. Serendipitous.
We joined a walking tour around the city [fantastic tour, organised by Auckland Free Walking Tours, start every day at 10am at pier 2] and all of a sudden I am surrounded by fun people. We ended up spending all day together – a few of us went for lunch in the park, lounging on beanbags in the sun, listening to someone playing the piano, exchanging travel stories. Fiona and I met again for dinner and then discovered one of Auckland’s many speakeasy bars, this one only accessible through a backdoor in a club, where Dan from Bristol prepared some mean gin cocktails [the bar is called Caretaker, just off Customs Street]. I am amazed I made it until 10pm without a nap or break. I am a super hero, awake for 48+ hours.
I felt very relaxed all day, and am wondering now where yesterday’s panic came from (and where it is now). I have not experienced this rollercoaster of emotions during a holiday before. Usually I am full of joy, so I am curious what triggers those feelings of sadness and loneliness. I have no doubt that I will have more opportunities to find out.