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The Easter Ferry


Normally I’m not a huge fan of daylight saving time, but it’s hard to argue with an extra hour of sleep in the morning when you’re traveling. We got up at the usual time (which, due to the fact that it’s fall here, was an hour later than before), and had the fantastic continental breakfast at our B&B. Afterward we went back to the room and packed up our stuff to head out. Today we were saying goodbye to the South Island and heading across the Cook Strait to the North Island.

We made good time along the road to Picton, and arrived a couple of hours before our ferry crossing. That was just as well, as it gave us some time to catch lunch and check out the shops around town. As our crossing time approached, we headed over to the ferry building, but Garmin gave us terrible directions, and we had to backtrack before we found the proper location. Fortunately we had planned enough extra time, and we were ushered onto the boat with no wait at all. Our van stowed in the ship’s hold, we headed upstairs and scoped out a nice two-person couch to hold us on the three-hour crossing.

The crossing itself was uneventful and actually pretty boring. I suppose I could have gone outside and watched the land go by, but I was just plain tired. Sitting and vegging out seemed just fine to me. They showed two movies during the crossing: “Up” and “Where the Wild Things Are.” I partially paid attention, but didn’t really watch. “Up” seemed cute, but “Where the Wild Things Are” seemed shallow and annoying.

A few hours later saw us back on solid land in Wellington. We drove off the boat and out into the city. We had no idea where we were going to stay for the night, and finding lodgings was out top priority. Dore found a likely candidate on the GPS, and we set off towards that end of town. We had a bit of trouble finding parking, but finally managed to get into a parking garage downtown. Unfortunately it was quite expensive, but I was just happy to be out of the car and the traffic. I found that I had become used to the slower pace and fewer cars on the South Island, and the traffic in Wellington — even though it was a holiday and few people were out and about — was somewhat overwhelming.

We walked to the hostel, but found that they didn’t have any rooms available. I started to worry that perhaps we’d made a tactical mistake, and that everyone would be booked for the Easter school holiday. Dore came to the rescue, however, calmly assuring me that there was no problem and that we’d find something. This was especially funny to me, since our roles are usually exactly reversed. I took a deep breath and had to agree that she was right: something would be free. We pulled over to a table in the hostel lobby and called a couple more hostels that we’d heard about. Lo and behold, the first one that picked up the phone had a room available. So there really wasn’t anything to fret about, and I was just freaking out for no good reason. What’s that, Dore? Yes, I know you told me so.

Lodgings secured, we walked around and found a place to eat (which was no mean task due to the public holiday). We finally found a Thai restaurant, where we had a nice, cheap meal of spicy pad kee mao. We walked back and picked up our van, the drove to the hostel, where we turned in early for the evening. We watched a cheesy Hugh Grant romance on the TV and went to bed.

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