Masterton to Napier - The Long Way
Well, what can we say? It's one thing to make a plan and then revise it, and change it again but....
We got up early, left our lovely B & B and headed off back over the mountain to North Wellington and Heretaunga. The weather was going to be good, but not yet. Nevertheless, we saw a bit more of the mountain than we did last night! We arrived at the godparents' house at 10.30 (Iain had told them we'd be there about 10.45). There was no-one in! The garage door and a window were open so we gave them the benefit of the doubt and thought they'd maybe popped out for some biscuits to go with our coffee! Ha di ha.
We waited thirty five minutes. We spent some of the time writing them a note to accompany the Photo Book that we'd prepared for them with pictures of Sandy and Langley Croft, as well as pics of our two families. We'd called it 'Catching Up...' Ha Ha.
I think even Iain knew long before we eventually left that they didn't want to see us, but he kept giving them 'another five minutes', until we couldn't really do it in all seriousness. Can you believe it? The only reason we were in New Zealand was because of them! Truebill. And they didn't want to see us. I'm sorry, but that is seriously weird.
We've tried to put it down to elderly eccentricity but, really, do you think it would be harsh to say that it's incredibly bad mannered? If they'd even said that it was too much for them to have visitors (even though they seem to get out and about fairly regularly and frequently!), then we would have been disappointed, but we would have understood. But to let us down once and then let us do a three-hour trip back, well, that's just rude.
When we finally left 26 Courtenay Road, Heretaunga, we headed back towards Wellington to catch Highway 1 to Palmerston North, where we had quite a nice lunch (damned with faint praise!). We were standing at a pedestrian crossing waiting to take a photograph of something across the road when we seemed to be in the way of a dwarf on a bicycle, so shuffled out of the way with profuse apologies. We were still standing there a few minutes later when we seemed to be in his way again. As we watched, he did a quick turn of his pedals, braked hard, seemed to count to himself and then set off down the road. Then he did a u-turn, came back, got off at the pedestrian crossing across the road, pushed his bike back over to where he'd started, came to where we were standing and went through the whole process over again (and we did the shuffle / apology thing again, only in a slightly more bemused way). Is the whole world turning weird?!! Very strange. We should have asked questions.
We headed off on Highway 2 towards Napier, where we were going to spend one night. It's a town which was obliterated in 1931 in an earthquake and was then re-built in the Art Deco style. It's absolutely gorgeous!
We finally got there around 5pm (Plan A would have had us there around 2pm, at the latest! Grrr. But we're not bitter!) after eight hours on the road - barring an hour, tops, for lunch and a walk around Palmerston North. On top of everything, for the first time, we didn't have anywhere already booked for the night. I'd read about a hotel on the town front which was a 'possible', so we headed there to see how much it would be. The cost on the internet was a half-price deal and we hoped we could get a room for the deal amount, rather than at the usual price. And, yes, we could! Nice one.
After we'd booked in, we went out around the town. Iain was snapping every other building (or was it them all?)! Every one is different. Even the bollards have a little Art Deco pattern on the top. Fantastic. We're going to have another look in the morning.
We're planning on heading up to Rotorua tomorrow and spending two days there. It's the centre of Maori culture, as well as boasting such geological features as geothermal phenomena like geysers, boiling pools of mud, silica terraces, mud fumaroles and volcanoes!! Sounds exciting.
They'll be our last two days, in effect, as the day after we'll head up to Auckland and fly out the next day (Saturday). Our time really has flown. Next time we come, we'll have to concentrate on one place, rather than try and do it all!!