November 24 – November 26
After a wonderful bus ride through the green countryside of New Zealand, Priya and I arrived first in Hamilton, where we were given a warm welcome by Catherine Maciek and their amazing doggo Mambo! The trio took us in and made us feel at home right away, even though we were still recovering from the flight and Priya was feeling a bit sick, probably because of the sporatic changes in temperature.
After playing all evening with Mambo, their crazy-energetic dog and some really nice pizza, we climbed into bed.
The next day, the bus from Hamilton took us to Matamata where we were bound to take another bus to head to the Hobbiton. For anyone wondering; Hobbiton is a recreation of the Shire, the Hobbits’ home from the cinematic universe of Lord of the Rings.
We checked in, got our tickets and boarded the Hobbiton bus headed for the Shire. As of today, the movie set is still intact, but before it became the Shire, the entire area was a farm. According to the guides, Peter Jackson, the producer of the franchise, was scouting the land in his helicopter for a suitable place when he found this farm and fell in love with the place. Now, the Shire is both a tourist attraction and a farm!
So we entered the world of Hobbits with some amazing and extremely passionate guides, gorgeous scenery and art all over the place. Unfortunately Priya was still not feeling very well, but that didn’t stop her from enjoying the tour – and our reward of a unique Hobbit ale at the Green Dragon!
After having spent the whole day in the Shire, we returned to reality and to our wonderful hosts. After spending one more night in Hamilton, we took a bus back to Auckland to join an “old friend” on Waiheke Island, as well as to prepare for our trip to Japan.
~ Skander and Priya