Auckland Part II
The next few day in Auckland were pretty great as well. We were starting to feel a bit more adjusted and less tired. Not so scared of the food and feeling a bit better about driving on the wrong side of the road. We woke up to rain, but we didn't let it slow us down. We stopped by a local farmers market to look around. People in New Zealand don't go to farmers markets for a trendy fun time. They really do a majority of their grocery shopping there. Their grocery stores are very small and expensive and no where near as fresh as the locally grown food at the farmers markets. Plus the fruit and veggies were super cheap and mouth watering delicious. The market was beautifully designed with a chalk board by each booth describing what each vendor offered. A live band was performing in the middle of the semi-circle of busy customers. And of course everyone was dressed very beautifully to fit their personal style. We tasted organic peanut butter, home made cheese, freshly caught fish, and ate an entire delicious Scandinavian treat. Mostly we just sat in the middle and people watched. We love just sitting and watching. It really was fun seeing people from a different culture. So the same, but then completely different.
After the farmers market and checking out a few thrift shops we drove around just checking out our new world. We drove out of town and in seconds were surrounded by vineyards, lime-green fields spotted with white sheep, and lush hills jutting up along the flat road. We saw a tiny sign for a hike and we flipped around and tried it out. Good thing we did because it again took our breath away. 5 minutes away from the city and you would never know. We were surrounded by such thick vegetation that seeing any sort of sky was impossible. The trees seriously were at least 5 to 10 stories high. The only time we saw the sky was when we hiked up a waterfall on the edge of a mountain. I've never been somewhere so green in my life.
After the hike we raced home to change out of our muddy hiking clothes to get ready for the rugby game. The All Blacks were playing Ireland. We were super excited for this. The train station was only a few blocks away from our house and if you showed them your All Blacks ticket the ride is free. Again, it was the perfect time for people watching. Ryley was a little over excited about getting to the game on time and we ended up being there about 2 hours early. That definitely gave us enough time to take some good shots of the field, to explore all the fan gear, walk around the stadium about 15 times, and be first in time for some fish and chips which were *amazing!* The game was super fun. Ireland had lost to the All Blacks for the past 107 years, but they were on fire that night. We were sitting down low and were surrounded by a surprising amount of Ireland fans. Everyone was screaming and wild. Beer and wine were being inhaled by the seconds. Sometimes I wondered if people spent more time watching the game or going back and forth buying more drinks. People kept sliding by us and as we let them by saying "cheers mate," in thanks. The best was when the came up through with their wine and fish and chips. For the inconvenience of us having to stand up to let them by they would say, "Sorry mate. Take some chips." When I got the first offer I looked at the guy thinking he was talking to someone else. He saw my expression and told me again to take some chips. I grabbed one fry feeling a little bad for eating this strangers food. He then said, "Aw come one. Get some more!" So I did. He did this all the way down the row, offering his chips and a cheers to go along with it. I'm sure he had about 5 fries left when he got to his seat. I loved this because I could NEVER imagine someone doing this at a baseball game in America. If some stranger gave you their food you would either think they were crazy or would give them all away because some germ infested stranger just touched your food. Another completely awesome thing about the game, besides the incredibly intense players on the field, was the fact that this stadium holding 50 thousand people did the wave with every person in every section standing up and waving their arms and screaming over 7 times. Seven. The entire crowd. Now I'm sure it helped that everyone was drunk, but again, this would never happen with everyone participating seven times at any game at home. We were laughing so hard by the end watching these crazy people party it up. In the end the All Blacks took the win, but Ireland made a good dent in the game. Walking out of the game some fan friendly music was playing and just like in the movies the man sitting in front of us who looked like a drunk Colin Firth in rugby gear started signing to the music and giving a little tap dance on the steps. He was singing loud. And just like we were in the movies all the people above say this guys great moves and raised their beers to him, cheered him on, and sang right on back to him. This got old Colin moving even more and we got quite an exquisite show. Best part of the night hands down. My only regret was that I couldn't pull my phone out fast enough to record it. Next time I'll be faster on the draw.
That was the end of our Auckland experience. The next day, Sunday, we were able to find our church to attend. This was another highlight of our trip. There is something very calming about finding your church in the a foreign country, being surrounded by strangers and the unknown to have that one known. To be able to walk into this new church and feel at home. To be loved. We experienced a very spiritual Sunday in a little chapel in Auckland and then blew it a kiss goodbye as we drove out of town on the opposite side of the road.