Follow or subscribe to our blog to get notifications of updates to this site
as well as more frequent insightful, pithy commentary


bike logo



Time to Go !

Well, the time really did fly by. And it is truly sad to leave all our new found friends, but leave we must. We snuck in one last ride on the Robusta before we packed it up. We couldn't make it easy. We had to get it filthy!


Soon the packers had hauled away all our stuff, and we went through and swept the floors one last time. Simon and Cara bought our refrigerator and van, and Aria got thousands of new pets n the form of our worm farm. We stayed our last couple of nights with them, and got out for a quick last ride, including a stop at the newly opened tea room in Monaco. Aria let us know exactly what she thought of our leaving. We were pretty sad to go too.

But next thing, we were off to Wellington. After almost two years, we were finally visiting the north island. We had a grand time there, checking out all the great coffee shops, a few really good restaurants, Te Papa, the national museum, and a few local walks, including Mt. Victoria and the Botanic Gardens. We thoroughly enjoyed checking out the unusual architecture of the government buildings and local churches. We also spent several evenings at the cinema, and saw the wonderful film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. But don't read anything about it before you do. Any review or any info simply gives too much away. We also saw Lost in Translation, which in some ways prepared us for our next stop in Auckland.

After being in a small town for so long, the big city was a bit of culture shock for us!

We stayed in YHA hostels in both Wellington and Auckland. The feel of these was very different from any hostels we stayed in on the south island. Both of these were high rise and fairly impersonal. Still nice, but different. At some point I managed to pick up a cold. I'd not had one since my first days in New Zealand. So I get a welcome and then a farewell cold!

We did the touristy thing and went up to the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland, but can't say we were too impressed with the city otherwise. Maybe with more time and without a cold...

Our farewell from Auckland was a bit tight. We got the airport in what we thought was plenty of time, but found new checkin procedures before we even got to the ticket counter. All our checked bags were x-rayed. And we had to remove the very dangerous chain lube and glue from our patch kit - from our checked in bag! We finally got through the line to checkin and then got marked for hand check at security. In fact, we got marked for the entire round the world journey. We would get hand checked at every departure for the next few months. And I must say that I am less than impressed with the thoroughness of these checks. I don't mind being checked if they actually look through everything, but no screener ever reached down to the bottom of my backpack, which was filled with various electronic devices, batteries and chargers. But I did observe one scrutinise a tire lever very carefully!

Anyway, once we got on the plane to Singapore, it was quite pleasant. I love Singapore Airlines, and will always make an effort to fly them if I can. The seats were spacious, and each seat had it's own video screen, and a selection of 60+ films, which you could start and stop at your leisure. Between our two flights - to Singapore and to Frankfurt, we had almost 24 hours on the plane. I watched a lot of films!

The airport in Singapore was also a very pleasant surprise. Despite being a very busy one, it was designed and laid out in a way that just worked. It was clean. There were toilets available everywhere. There were chairs, including reclining ones for sleeping - in quiet areas, away from TVs and shopping. Oh and was there shopping? We had a choice of a very quick turn around here, or 8 hours. In retrospect, we should have taken a couple of days, but we opted for the 8 hours. We've missed too many flights with quick connections in the past to pick the short layover, and I knew I wanted some time to see all the new electronic gadgets. I didn't buy much, just an inexpensive Swatch, but I looked a lot!

And we ate. Now this was a real treat. We had a wonderful sushi meal where we stuffed ourselves silly, and waddled away for Singapore$25 - about US$15 - for two at an airport - and it was good!

Next stop Italy!

lost in transition