Auckland (take 2) and Waiheke

I arrived back in Auckland on Sunday afternoon, just in time to drop my stuff at my hostel and head out to gymnastics practice. Man I  love gymnastics. I went to the same gym I had gone to 2 weeks previous, Tri Star Gymnastics. As always, I can count on gymnastics to put me in a better mood.

While there I met 3 lovely people. Chris, James and Hannah. Chris was a very beginner and I attempted to teach him how to vault. James had been a gymnast and had an aptitude for the balance beam, surprisingly. Hannah used to be a rhythmic gymnast and is crazy flexible.

At the end of practice, Chris offered to drive me back to my hostel, which was incredibly nice as the bus takes me about 1hr and costs me $4.50. We get to talking and it turns out Chris is a personal trainer and is just starting CrossFit. He invites me to a crossfit class the next day at the gym he works at. I oblige, of course. I’ll will pretty much never turn down a guaranteed good workout.

At noon on Monday I head to CrossFit. It was awesome! I hadn’t worked out that hard in quite a while and I for sure missed the group aspect of working out. Perhaps best of all, the class was free! And the gym owner was from  Montana. It’s always nice to meet some fellow countrymen!

Monday night I had dinner plans with some far off distant relatives who live in Auckland. I hope I get this right: My grandmother, her sister married a man from Ireland. His brother has a son who married a Kiwi and they live Auckland, with their 2 year old daughter, who is now my BFF ever since I played play-doh spaghetti with her.

Brian, the one who is maybe kind of not really related to me, picked me up at my hostel and drove me down to where they live. It was incredibly generous of them. They picked me up, drove me 40 minutes to their house, fed me dinner, dessert, wine and tea, and then drove me back into the city. I think we got on really well and their daughter was adorable.

The next day, Tuesday, I took the ferry from Auckland to an island about 30 minutes away called Waiheke. I had been told by many that Waiheke was gorgeous. From the very little that I saw, this is true. Unfortunately, the weather foiled my plans a bit. It was raining and windy when I got there (but everyone was making bagels, so there’s that). As the day went on the wind and rain got more and more intense. Eventually it was downpouring and the wind was howling. There is not much to do on Waiheke except hike, go to the beach and visit vineyards, all of which are near impossible in that sort of weather. So I chilled out at the hostel, which was very fun. The people staying at Kina, the name of my hostel, were the most welcoming bunch I’ve met so far. Incredibly friendly and happy, they shared their food and drinks and even helped each other get jobs. Honestly, they were the best bunch of travelers I’ve ever met.

Wednesday the weather cleared up a little, but it was still very cloudy and windy and even rained a bit. It was someone’s birthday that night and we were having a potluck. I decided to bake. I had been wanting to bake for weeks but baking in hostels is not easy. That day I had the time and there were going to be about 20 people eating my food so baking seemed like a good idea. I made apple crumble and a vanilla cake with an orange glaze.

Dinner Food (not the best photo but it’s all I’ve got). There was pizza, bruschetta, chips, pasta bolognese, chili, home made bread and salad.

 

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Amazing Apple Crumble

 

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Cake

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The apple crumble was insanely good. I was told twice that it tasted like Christmas. Winning.

Before the party, I went to yet another CrossFit class. The owner of Kina also taught CrossFit so me and another traveler took his class that night. Best of all? It was free.

Back to the party. It was fantastic. So much good food, good drinks, good fun. There was even a dance party. I may have initiated that. And then DJ’ed it with a healthy dose of late 90s and early 2000s hits. Winning again!!

We partied until quite late. I’m pretty sure I did not go to bed until close to 5am. Ooops.

Thursday was much, much nicer. Finally, it was sunny! Unfortunately, I had partied until 5am. I had breakfast (a Brit and I had beans and toast with tea. It was my first time and I felt extremely British. Not really but it tasted good!) and then headed down to the beach. It was so beautiful. In my haste to get to the beach, I did not bring my camera or my phone. Alas, no photos.

I took a lovely afternoon nap, cooked some dinner and then watched Django Unchained before falling asleep around 11pm.

The next morning, Friday, I had to leave. I caught the noon ferry back to Auckland and then took a bus to my hostel (the third hostel I’ve stayed at in Auckland).

So that almost brings us to present time. My second time in Auckland was very enjoyable and though I did not see much of Waiheke, I had a fantastic time. I was only there for 3 days, but I will miss the people I met at Kina for sure. I wish all hostels were like that.

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