On my previous trip to New Zealand three years ago I stayed at a number of places called The <adjective> <animal>. The Brown Kiwi is to the North Island what The Green Monkey (in Nelson) is to the South.
There has been a slowly changing mix of people staying with the Germans and the French vying for supremacy. The mix is leavened by the odd Italian, Kiwi and some Dutch. To do the French justice they have taken their defeat in the Rugby pretty well.
Partly as a result of all the help and new information I have received (my Thanks to Kim, Judith and Madeleine) I have spent a while longer than planned… but finally I think I am as ready as I will ever be. I also owe some Thanks to the Auckland Public library which has been a haven of peace and connectivity.
My training has consisted almost entirely of trying to eat more and slowly reduce the caffeine intake. But if you are going to have a coffee near here… then there is no better place than Cafe 121 Ponsonby Road. There is an elderly and friendly cat called Rhonan who may grace you with his presence on your lap. That alone is a fine excuse to stay longer.
Tomorrow I have a lift north in a “spaceship” with a Frenchman touring the two islands. After that the road leads north to Kaitaia where I will prepare the food I’ll need (or rather the food I will have to make do with) for the first two stages.
Now off for a final bit of retail therapy… and the word is Icebreaker!