2-5-2013 Day 31 Auckland, New Zealand

We are at sea most of the day, but will arrive in Auckland, New Zealand around dinner time tonight.  We were not supposed to arrive until tomorrow morning, so it is exciting that we can get there early. 

I had planned to do a lot of things on the ship today, but didn’t.  Since I am writing this days later, it’s a bit hard to remember exactly what we did today.  Doug and I did enjoy another one of the ship’s Mongolian Cookouts on the Lido deck.  It was a pretty day, so it was nice to sit outside. 

At 2 p.m. I went to an afternoon piano concert with the pianist I really enjoyed hearing a few nights ago – Naki Ataman.  It felt a bit indulgent to just be sitting listening to a beautiful concert in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the Pacific.  And it was delightful.  Once again, this man played for an hour straight without a break. 

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But the event we were all waiting for was the sail in to this wonderful city with its unique and fabulous skyline. Its iconic sky tower can be seen from anywhere in Auckland, and is a great landmark. 

Auckland is the largest and most modern city in New Zealand.  It is located on the North Island (NZ is made up of two islands that are connected – the North Island and the South Island) and is home to over one quarter of the country’s people.  It sits on the isthmus between Waitemata Harbour and Manukau Harbour. It is called the City of Sails – perhaps because there are over 70,000 powerboats and sailing crafts, or one per every four households.  We docked at the Queen’s Wharf – within walking distance of many shops, restaurants, and the ferry building. 

Our goal for tonight was to find an Internet café and get caught up on phone calls and e-mails, etc.  We found a McDonald’s which would have been great except that half the ship was there, so the connection was slow. Even better, we found Valentino’s Gelato store where they sold Hokey Pokey gelato.  WhenP1020872 we were in NZ on a land tour years ago, our guide introduced us to the ice cream flavor – hokey pokey – unique to NZ.  It was so good we remembered it for this trip.  So, we enjoyed a familiar old flavor as we played on our computers. 

By the time we finished it was dark, and time to head back to the ship – only 5 minutes away.  It was fun to see the city all lit up, as well as our ship. 

Since we had been to Auckland before, we opted to spend tomorrow on our own exploring this fun city once again.  So, we wanted to get a good night’s sleep so we could be up and off early.

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