This weekend I went up to Auckland with the main purpose to visit friends and go to the ballet, but also take in the Food Show and a trip to a museum. The flight from Wellington to Auckland is just around 50 minutes, but I still managed to have a glass of wine and some cheese and biscuits courtesy of Air New Zealand. It made a good start to the weekend and the trip!
On Saturday, after being woken by the gorgeous smell of home baked bread, we went to the Food Show, which had quite a lot of different things to the Wellington one I went to a couple of months ago. As usual with these events, it was so easy to try so many different things in no particular order (eg kimchi followed by chocolate followed by feta followed by lemon sorbet). I ended up buying some tea with Swedish lingonberries, just because of the flavour, some oyster mousse and duck liver parfait as well as half a dozen packets of needed herbs and spices.
The ballet I’ll write about in my next blog post in more detail, but suffice to say, it was a really excellent evening of 5 interesting pieces danced by the Royal New Zealand Ballet in a programme called “Allegro”.
Sunday started with some waffles for breakfast, something I haven’t had for a long time. We then went to the Auckland War Memorial Museum which is set in the parkland of Auckland Domain. Within the Domain, are formal gardens, duck ponds (which I read were the source of Auckland’s first piped water supply), a rotunda and the Wintergardens. These was established after World War 1 and consist of two greenhouses, one with temperate plants and one with tropical plants, courtyard with a pond and a fernery within an old quarry.
One of the ponds
One of the four statues representing the 4 seasons around the courtyard
Lily pond in one of the greenhouses
We had a look at both greenhouses, particularly enjoying the orchids and ornamental brassicas and of course the lily pond. From there we went to the museum. I particularly enjoyed the “Auckland 1866” gallery, which is a replica of parts of Auckland in 1866, with shops and bars recreated from the period, which is the sort of thing that is such fun to wander around and pretend to go shopping. The volcano exhibit was also excellent, especially the ‘what if there was a volcano in Auckland harbour’ section, where we sat in a living room of an imaginary house with a view over the water, listening to news bulletins about what was happening out in the harbour. As events unfold, the house is engulfed by lava just a few minutes into the eruption. It was really quite scary, though coming from Wellington I found the imaginary accompanying earthquakes made my heart jump more!
Part of the top floor of the museum is dedicated to the memory of soldiers killed during the two World Wars. It was quite sobering to read that New Zealand sent more men to fight in the First World War, per head of population, than any other nation.
The stained glass ceiling above the entrance foyer
All in all, it was a great weekend, seeing friends, going to the theatre, a new museum and eating all sorts of goodies.
Finally, the Commonwealth Games ended on Sunday, Glasgow time, with New Zealand ending up with 45 medals in total (Scotland won 53). While the official medal table saw England claim the most, the alternative table shows Nauru on the top if judging it by medals per 1,000,000 population. Interestingly, New Zealand came 6th overall officially and unofficially. Well, you can do anything with statistics!