Tomorrow, the day we leave, it's supposed to be gorgeous.
On the plus side, the food has been fabulous and tons cheaper than Queenstown though still my son's exquisitely discerning coffee palate hasn't been too excited. The best we've had has been a half-hearted "It's alright". I've not been disgusted by the coffee but have been more satisfied than he.
On the super-plus side: yarn! Merino-possum yarn made in New Zealand! Because maybe I can knit a bit especially if I use larger needles so hopefully I'll be able to ease up on the endless kumihimo for watching TV or traveling or waiting for appointments. I'm pretty psyched.
After more than two years or barely knitting, I was horrified when I realized I was out of the habit: it was no longer instinctual when I sat down to watch a movie on Netflix; I didn't make sure I had knitting when I went to doctor or dentist appointments (show me someone who's never waited to see a doctor and I'll show you someone completely delusional). I've been knitting since my age was in the single digits, though perhaps not quite so much to the exclusion of all else as the last twenty or more years (more, let's say) so being unable to knit (especially around other people who are knitting) and not reaching for my knitting as readily as taking a breath has been at best weird and at worst tragic.
My hands won't heal but I believe I can work within their frailty and limit knitting time and limit the use of small needles and perhaps loosen up my tension and then maybe I can get my knitting life again, somewhat.
Back to the business at hand: Auckland!
Yesterday we took a ferry to Rangitoto Island where my son and I climbed to the summit; my daughter seemed to have lost her way and so only got halfway up which due to the vegetation afforded her next to nothing in the way of views while my son and I enjoyed a gorgeous three hundred and sixty degree view marred only by cloudy skies and a little haze.
The climb took almost an hour and the last third of it was rather steep, but the trail was extremely picturesque: black volcanic rock and black volcanic sand, beautiful, lush growth in greens with yellow things that may be moss-adjacent but I'm no botanist so what do I know.
Because of the whole Gondwanaland thing, some of the plants look much like and yet disturbingly not quite like plants growing around me as I was growing up, so there was this strange dream-distorted nostalgia too. Familiar yet strange. It smelled wonderful too.
Just before the summit lookout spot you get a view of the crater - Rangitoto is a dormant volcano - filled with vegetation. No photos because I knew they'd look like vegetation and not much else. Pretty vegetation but unremarkable.
After the island my offspring went back to the hotel while I shopped for yarn and took a slow wander back, up side streets and through arcades. Honestly I could do that all day.
After a lightish dinner unlike the overabundance of the previous night's wonderful Turkish meal we tracked down a gourmet ice cream and gelato shop about which I will say as someone whose usual attitude to frozen confections is "eh, whatever" mandates a visit to Auckland, it was that good.
The flavours are not on display in the usual glass case but are written on a chalkboard. If anyone in your party of (say) three asks for a sample, they hand out three samples and keep on handing out recommendations. They have super fancy deluxe cones which double the already not inexpensive ice grams so we passed on that and made our selections.
Here's the OMG factor: each flavor has its own decorations and toppings.
Chocolate extravagance has some sort of granular powdery chocolate coating, a slightly chocolatey sort of marshmallowey stuff extruded or piped over the top, finished with raspberry-coloured tart fruity crunchy stuff and a disk of chocolate.
Hokey-pokey has a chocolate shell with bits of honeycomb candy poked into it.
Their signature flavour Giapo Buono is dipped in the caramel equivalent of the granular chocolate coating, then decorated with torched marshmallow extrusions and freaking GILDED hazelnuts.
So you sit on the benches outside and start taking selfies (if you're my offspring) and eating, and they come outside offering you glasses of water. Then extra napkins. And then, as you're licking the drips off your fingers, wet wipes.
Everything tasted wonderful but all the extras sent it right over the top.
We plan to go back again tonight.