I haven’t ridden my bike much since we got here. That’s partly because I haven’t had much time outside of work…when I leave for work the sun is just coming up and when I get back it is dark…and partly because I’ve been a little scared of riding my bike anywhere other than the bike path, especially on Wellington streets, because New Zealand roads are left-hand drive. But on Thursday while on a visit to a wind farm, I got to drive a rental car for a while…and it was surprisingly easy…so that got my courage up to venture out today on my bike. Of course it wasn’t as scary as I expected. 🙂
Later I took Eilidh out for a long bike loop…going from downtown Welly through the neighborhoods of Oriental Bay, Hataitai, Kilbirnie, Lyall Bay, Houghton Bay, Island Bay, Owhiro Bay (the last three are on the coast south of Wellington), Happy Valley, Brooklyn, Mt. Cook, and back “home.” We both loved riding along the south coast…the ocean here is so clear, you can see 10 feet or more to the bottom in some places…and the view across Cook Strait to the South Island of New Zealand was spectacular. I hadn’t realized the mountain peaks on that end of the South Island were so high…snowcapped, in fact. Two ferries and a cargo/crane ship steamed their way across the Strait as we watched.
Coming back into the city, we loaded up my bike’s pannier bag at the organic food store with some of this week’s groceries. Those pannier bags are going to come in handy. I like this living without a car. There are times when I think it would be nice to have a car and get around and explore…but then I think about the cost and inconvenience of…parking in the city, car maintenance, insurance, inspection costs, fuel…$6.07 US per gallon for gas and increasing…and I am happy to be as we are. We can rent a car or take the train if we need to. This city is well set up to get around easily.
It has been an easy transition to living here. Nothing surprised us, and we were pleased with what we found. Without a doubt, the vast majority of people are pleasant to interact with, and the general attitude is “can-do.” Though New Zealand is small, there are many opportunities to explore and learn. It is indeed a rugged and varied landscape.
I will be taking more photos…this is the shortest day of the year, and as we move out of winter and toward summer and the light returns, I will have more day light after work hours to take advantage of. My days have been filled with work, searching ads for rental houses that allow dogs (they are few indeed!) and, on the weekends, exploring the city and visiting rental prospects. It is a bit daunting, but as we become established here I will take time to enjoy the slower aspects of life.
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