|Welcome to the North Island.|
Saturday 24th November
What a crazy way to start! A terrible night at the hostel, in a dorm room hot like the Sahara at midday and loud like a dorm room with a Chinese snoring champion at his best. When I finally managed to get some sleep, it was obviously check out time, so out I went, tired and in a terrible mood, to sort out my last bits and pieces, buy groceries and finally get going. I didn't manage to leave Wellington before noon, frustrated for all kinds of reasons, including the fact that the Hobbit's world premiere was due in just five days and I was going to miss out on all the hype and red carpet, but I had already spent too much time lingering around and just had to go.
So, on a sunny Saturday with favorable wind (which I waited for), I finally started my cycling tour across the North Island. Leaving Wellington by bike is far from pleasant and unless you're like me and want to cycle at all costs, I highly recommend to take a train to Upper Hutt, saving yourselves a 40km ride on a motorway's shoulder, even though it's officially classified as cycling lane and there is plenty of space. It's also possible to go through the centre of Lower and Upper Hutt, but according do a local cyclist, it's as busy as the motorway and has no shoulder, so probably not the best option. At least State Highway 2 is fast.
|Middle of Middle Earth - that's the marketing slogan|
for Wellington's world premiere of the Hobbit movie.
Which brings us back to me; I did go to Cape Palliser, even though I wasn't planning to, but I'll talk about that later. First I want to mention Jim, a 65-year old cyclist I met on the Rimutaka trail - my first fellow cyclist in the North Island. He seems to know a great deal about European history (for a Kiwi, anyway), for example about the Spring of Prague in 1968, apparently Alexander Dubček was his youth hero, and he also knows all sorts of things about the former Yugoslavia. Perhaps that's why he's married to a woman from Montenegro.