Auckland Day One: Discovering Downtown and Taking a Ferry

After getting settled in our “home away from home,” we set out to explore our new environs and find some breakfast (actually a second breakfast as we had eaten on the plane around 4:00 am). No surprise to those that know us, we headed toward the waterfront, about a 10-minute, fairly steep downhill walk—which meant an equally steep uphill walk back…think we’re going to get our aerobic exercise without going to the fitness center for the next ten days!

We stopped at Esquires, a local coffee shop chain, for sandwiches, coffee and some wi-fi time. Our first discovery was that coffee drinks are defined quite differently here: white flat (leaving room for milk), black flat (no room for milk), short, and tall (meaning one shot of espresso or two). Bob ordered a “tall” as we do at home and, to his surprise, was presented with a large cup of espresso. I ordered a latte and got just that. So for now Bob is ordering chai latte rather than coffee.

Esquires is across the street from the waterfront, a not particularly attractive commercial strip dotted with tourist information centers and lined with ferries, tour boats, and some private vessels. We went into the Fuller’s tour center to check out their ferry options, and decided that we would take the ferry to Devonport, a small island just a 12-minute ride away, later in the day.

We then walked up Queen Street where we checked out the Queen’s Arcade, an upscale two-story center with lovely (and expensive) shoppes. Feeling weary, we decided to go back to the studio to get some rest. On the way back, we stumbled onto World Market—similar to an urban Whole Foods—and picked up some groceries and snacks. Then trekked our way uphill to our unit.

We headed out again, after a short nap, to the waterfront to catch the ferry. That turned out to be a really good choice for our first adventure. Devonport is a small island with a lovely Main Street dotted with restaurants, bars, and lots of appealing retail stores. By this time, it was about 3 pm and we were ready for an early dinner (due, at least in part, to it being 6 pm body time). We checked menus as we walked along, and settled on The Patriot, a NZ pub with a beer garden in the back. I ordered “Creamy Chicken Pie” and Bob chose “Bangers and Mash” (sausages and garlic mashed potatoes); for drinks, I had a “local” tap beer, and Bob ordered a draft cider. All were excellent choices. Clearly The Patriot is a local hangout, as several folks came in and all knew each other.

After enjoying our meal, we strolled back to the ferry harbor and stopped in some shoppes on the way, including a glass studio where we met the artist, Peter Raos. We caught the 4:45 ferry then took the l-o-n-g, this time windy, walk back “home.” There’s gotta be a better way to get up the hills!

 (Pictures to be posted later)

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