So I had an easter break. Best easter break ever. I had so many adventures and so much fun that it apparently resulted in a total writer's block. When it comes to blogging, at least. One of the many awesome things I did during these past three weeks was to finally get started with the second draft of my poor novel. It feels so damn good to be writing again. Inspiration is flowing, and I've even gotten some ideas for how to fill in some major plotholes and how this world I've created actually works. Yay!
But adventures! Were they ever had. I always consider a vacation well spent if you return from it more tired than when you set out, and this was certainly the case. I spent two weeks in Auckland hanging out with lovely people and then a week largely on my own in Queenstown.
Volcanoes were scaled and explored. Here are Mount Eden and the island Rangitoto. The latter one is just 600 years old, so very young for a volcano. There are around 40 volcanoes in Auckland, and apparently the volcanic field the city sits upon is not dead yet. Just resting. A new volcano could erupt next week or in 5000 years, no way of telling really. Still the city's inhabitants are going about their lives as if they weren't living on the brink of destruction. Humans are fascinating.
A trip was made to the Northlands, more specifically Bay of Islands with the towns of Paihia and Russel. Got the opportunity to learn a lot about the time of early European settlement by visiting museums and historic sites, made all the more fun and interesting by having a historian by my side telling awesome stories. Visited Waitangi, the place where the treaty between the British crown and Maori people regarding land ownership and legal rights and obligations was signed in 1840. Essentially the founding document of New Zealand, it is to this day relevant and problematically ambiguous. Oh, and apart from all the interesting things to learn about human history the nature of the place was really gorgeous as well. Woods to walk in with magical light and fascinating trees, a sea with such pretty islands, and a dark and splendid night sky. Yet another place to fall in love with.
I had such a great time in Auckland as well. Got to hang out with awesome people who dragged me around (quite willingly) to playing board games, roleplaying, urban explorations, acrobatics, swordfighting, movie-watching, museums, storytelling, partying... I even got invited to a wedding. All of which was so much fun and made me feel more at home than at the place where I actually live. Whee, so much happiness.
Then I moved on to Queenstown, which was a dramatic change in many respects. From late-summer weather (from my Nordic point of view) to frosty cold. From hills and seaside to snowy mountains and fiordy lakes. From very intense socialising to quiet loneliness (or at least loneliness-in-a-crowd). Queenstown is a stunningly beautiful and remote place, full of adventures. And tourists. Like that gorgeously handsome person you cannot help falling head over heels in love with, even though you know that you could never live together in the long run.
I enjoyed myself immensely. I visited the glow-worm caves in Te Anau. Underground waterfalls and little larvae glowing like so many stars! I went bungy jumping. It involved some mind-boggling terror, a lot of screaming and then hysterical laughter. I'd totally do it again! Then skydiving. Not half as scary as I had imagined, just absolutely delightful. I'd love to skydive every single day! I visited a conservation park for kiwis and other birds. They're rather cute and lay absurdly large eggs, those nocturnal, flightless little weirdos. I explored Milford Sound. Turns out that it is actually a fiord, not a sound, being carved out by a glacier some thousands of years ago. Huge waterfalls, vertical forests and seals. Very spectacular! Lastly I also went hiking up to the top of Ben Lomond at 1743 metres. Views of snow-covered mountains stretching far into the distance, a silence so profound I could hear my own heartbeats, and a perfectly dark night sky where I got to see a couple of fireball meteors and learned some new constellations. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful, it filled me with tons of joy and inspiration!
And then I took the bus home to Christchurch. Stopped for a break at Tekapo, and I got to see Mount John again. Autumn has changed the place. Yellowing leaves, snow on the mountains, and an even more icy-cold lake. Still as beautiful, still the feeling of 'this is where I want to be' that keeps following me around this country.
Love and adventure,