get thee to an espresso bar!
There are reportedly more cafes in Wellington per capita than anywherelse you can think of (how's that for scientific?)
Flat White: espresso drink with unfoamed milk
Long Black: espresso with hot water (aka an Americano)
Cappuccino: espresso with lots of steamed and foamed milk
Latte: espresso with LOTS more steamed and foamed milk - often served in bowls as big as your head
Havana Roasters near Cuba St. makes lovely beans. You can find a cafe serving Havana coffee if you look for the red star. Off hand, Fidels at the top end of Cuba (near Real Groovy), the cafe well inside the lobby of the Chancellor/Trekkers Hotel, the purple onion (is that its name?), the Lady Luck....
- Road Trip
- Food and Dining
Flashing the plastic
People in NZ eftpos all the time. They don't seem to carry cash. Mothers in my local shop eftpos 2 ice creams for their rugrats. A visitor was going to eftpos a one dollar postcard until I batted her aside and bought it for her. A friend eftposed a 2-50 coffee. No one turns a hair.
Apparently you pay something like 5 bucks a month and you can eftpos right left and centre and in my lady's chamber. And NZers have taken to it like ducks to water.
It would feel odd to me. I would feel like I was losing track of what I was spending. But that is what they do down here.
So if you are in a queue in a cafe or a shop, be patient. It will probably take some time as everyone swipes and punches in their numbers.
The (boring) squabble between Aussies and Kiwis
Please - nobody mention pavlova!!!! I know who invented pavlova. (It was a kiwi, right?)
I was highly amused wandering Wellington yesterday near the carillion which is also a War Memorial - to find a statue in honour of the man with the donkey who rescued the wounded at Gallipoli during WW1. Apparently he was a New Zealander.
I was amused because there is also a statue in honour of the man with the donkey outside the War Memorial Museum in Canberra. I gotta go back and check but I am not sure they make it clear he was born in NZ in the plaque there.
It was the Anzacs, of course. Australia and New Zealand Army Corps.
Maybe the man with the donkey was a bit like Phar Lap. Born in NZ but imported to Australia as a 2 year old.
UPDATE Because it was Anzac Day yesterday the five minute quiz in the newspaper asked a question about the man with the donkey. According to them he was an Englishman who fought with the Australian army.
The plot thickens.
The traditional Santa Parade
On one of our visits in November we stumbled over the Santa Parade. No, not completely correct. We went there on purpose after having learnt by coincidence that it would take place on the Sunday we were there. In 2009 it was on 15 November, the day after the World Cup qualification of the All Whites (NZ’s football national team, and this is the football which is played by foot and not the football that is mostly played by hand and called rugby…) for South Africa 2010. The All Whites participated in the Parade, and the celebrations went on. So a date to remember.
I do not know why they have the parades so long before Christmas. Probably because the City Council wants to remind the people that it is time to do their Christmas shopping and spend a lot of money.
It does not really matter to us Europeans. We find Christmas in summer strange enough and do not get the feeling for it, so it does not really matter if a strange parade takes place in November or December ;-)
The parade is one of Wellington's oldest events, dating back to the 1960s. It started as the James Smith Parade. The name always depends on the name of the naming rights sponsor. This year, for example, it was the Top Top Parade. Kimi the Bear enjoyed the little flags handed out before the start. Other sponsors are The Dominion Post, the New Zealand Community Trust and The Radio Network. The Parade is organised by the City Council.
Photo 2 shows Santa and his reindeer rolling in, taking the turn from Willis Street towards Civic Square.
- Family Travel
Wellington Must Miss Its famous local Smokers
Because when a posthumous exhibition was given to our wonderful local painter - Rita Angus - the painting they chose to hoist on top of Te Papa to publicise it was of her in a camel hair coat with a green beret slung across one arm and a lit cigarette triumphantly poised in one hand.
I was mystified.
Because there were plenty of other portraits they could have chosen, she was into portraits.
And now it is so difficult to have a quiet cigarette in Wellington. One suffers to have a smoke. Lurking outside in all the weather than Wellington offers.
But she is posed utiside - so maybe that is the message they want to get across.
If you must smoke - go outside.
Paddy the Wanderer
Somehow this memorial plaque in front of the NZ Academy of Fine Arts had escaped my notice on my previous visit(s). Lucky me I discovered it when I was accompanied by VT member craic who told me that there was more information about Paddy the Wanderer in the Museum of City & Sea on the opposite side of the street. And there we went.
Inside the museum there is a sculpture of Paddy who wandered the streets of Wellington in the 1930s. He was an airedale terrier who was owned by a young girl. When this girl died from pneumonia in 1928 Paddy – whose original name was thought to be Dash – started to walk the wharves, probably searching his lost playmate. He was soon known and loved by watersiders, seafarers, taxidrivers and carriers who took turns in paying his annual dog licence. They also took him on taxi rides, and holidays around New Zealand and even to Australia, and once he flew in a gypsy-moth biplane.
He died on 17 July 1939. Obituary notices were placed in newspapers, and a fleet of black taxis formed a funeral cortege and carried his body for cremation. In 1945 Paddy’s friends paid for a commemorative drinking fountain which you now see in front of the NZ Academy of Fine Arts. It does not only have a fountain for humans but also two drinking bowls for dogs.
On the photo you see a reflection of the Museum of City & Sea in the window above the memorial plaque.
Photo 2 shows the sculpture of Paddy in the museum.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
It's a really weird thing that Wellington seems to have the most sk8r boys in NZ. You can often see them skating down Courtenay Place behind and, sometimes it's almost too hard to watch, in front of buses.
These guys are fearless (nice way to put it!) and have free reign on the roads in the parts.
We get a few on the footpath in Christchurch and I've seen a few randoms in Ackland but nothing like the scene in Wellington. I've yet to get a photo though I've seen many skateboarders whiz in front of my spot when having a beer at Jet.
- Arts and Culture
- Budget Travel
Quite a Desk
Perhaps you know of the NZ writer Janet Frame (recently deceased, alas.) Jane Campion made a movie of her autobio called An Angel At My Table.
You probably don't know of Charles Brasch, NZ poet and editor of Landfall for many years.
Anyway, he used to layout Landfall on this table, then he gave it to Janet.
So now it is called the Landfall/Janet Frame Desk and is housed in the lobby of the International Institute of Modern Letters which is part of Victoria University.
It's not official or anything, well not that I know of, but if you want to make a pilgrimage and view it - I am sure you can just pop in and see it. People coming and going all the time.
Official address is 16 Waiteata Road, Kelburn. But a quicker, easier way is through the campus, just behind the library. Saves climbing a lot of steps.
How is this a local custom? Well - it is a custom of the locals to revere their very good writers.
NZ and its psyche
Russell Brown, an author with the Lonely Planet travel guide, has made a point of looking at the NZ national psyche and has discovered that its most apparent manifestation is the question: “So, what do you think of New Zealand?”. While reading it, the text might feel like a well-peppered story worthy to attract the reader’s attention and arouse his curiosity about the subject. Another matter is the feeling of revelation when you as visitor, albeit not an important one, are asked the same question. It becomes a palpable reality and an impetus to not just stare at NZ’s nature but comprehend the psyche of its inhabitants. Quickly one realizes that it is within the boundaries of “great proud and creeping doubt” with the accent on the latter. No measure of “biculturalism” is going to shift it to the first.
A lot of visitors to Wellington often wonder why Wellingtonians don't use umbrellas when it's raining.
Umbrellas are practically useless given the wind. Visitors who try to use them quickly find their umbrella turned outside by the wind.
Wellington is not called windy Wellington for nothing.
Jaywalking seems to be THE sport in this city. You'll probably see more people crossing the street anywhere else but at the trafficlights, and if they use the lights, they do it on red most of the time. Just go with the crowd, but mind you, it's a dangerous sport.
Look at the picture left...now where should this guy cross, at the sign or at the markings in the street further back? OK, I admit the sign may mean that a crossing is up ahead, but where I come from the sign is where the crossing is, in order for the drivers to know where to expect people running into the street.
walking down the street never seemed complicated!
They have a kind of unwritten rule that you walk down the left hand side of the pavement, so if its a wide pavement, just make sure you're roughly on the left hand side if its busy or you'll be hitting a lot of oncoming traffic!
Hills, Hills Everywhere You Walk
Be prepared to walk, and walk up towards the sky. Wellington is known to have nice scenic walks (eg. Mt. Victoria), but everywhere you go will feel like you are walking up the side of a mountain.
From our apartment we had to walk downhill, which was a blessing, to get into the city but upon the way back we climbed around 250 steps to get to our level of the city.
This does provide for brilliant views of the city. If you do not like the walking up and down you might find the Wellington Trolley. I however enjoyed it and saw it as part of my exercise. Bad times were the late nights coming home from the bars. Nice enough of the city however to place benches halfway up the stairs.
So bring your hiking boots, water, and a compass that tells you to walk up and you will be set to walk in this most magnificent of cities.
- Mountain Climbing
- Hiking and Walking
Wellington is notorious for its weather and in response to that the city council put up these shelters all around the CBD, particularly at busy traffic lights, so people can huddle while they wait for the green man to appear. They never wait anyway, but that's another story, see my tips on jaywalking.
Views from the House
One of my best mates, Janine, lives in Kilbirnie, a suburb of Wellington. Her house provides some of the most spectacular views of the suburb and we were able to sit on the couch and watch all of the people in the city.
The most brilliant night we sat and watched all of the fireworks on Guy Forks' Day. if you don't know the story behind Guy Forks, ask any Kiwi and they will be glad to tell you.
Nevertheless, all New Zealanders will tell you how they love nature and the beauty behind scenery. Many homes, especially in Wellington, have large windows with great views. Nothing is better they think, as do I, waking up and drinking tea while having a look out the window. They weather is always beautiful except during the rain and even that is heart warming to watch.
- Study Abroad