We made it! After 24 hours of travel, including a 13-hour flight from L.A. to Auckland, which was a fairly pleasant experience, all things considered- with the exception of the in-flight coffee (which tasted like greasy, fat, stale, dirty potatoes), we arrived in our final destination of Auckland, New Zealand! Upon arrival, we were greeted with warm, moist air and a fragrant, floral aroma. Since it was still quite early in the morning in Auckland, we decided to stop and chill at a retro bus cafe that was set up outside of the airport. Brendan’s first shot of NZ espresso was alright, a little lacking in body and sweetness, but not bad. It felt great to have finally made the long trek to the other side of the world, and we were very thankful to have had no problems or delays with customs or flights.
After taking a shuttle to Laidlaw College, where we would be staying for our first while in Auckland, we dropped our bags off in our room and were given a tour of the campus. In many ways, Laidlaw College reminds us of our once-beloved home, Taylor University College, only slightly bigger and more tropicale. Though we hope to find a new place to live when Mel gets a teaching job, our one-bedroom suite will do just nicely for now, and has a lovely patio surrounded by tropical plants and flowers.
Our first day in Auckland, we set out to get to know the city that would be home for a little while. We caught a bus downtown, (surprisingly very expensive), and set out on foot to explore the local shops and scenery along the bay and downtown core. We were pleased to find that Auckland is a city full of unique cafes and espresso bars.
The first great welcoming experience we had was at a little cafe called Toasted Espresso on High Street. There was probably only seating for 10 max, and it had a small menu with a few sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. We ordered a cap and a pumpkin and feta salad, had a seat, and started chatting. The barista, Ben, and owner, Marita, were very friendly, and not only was the cap real nice and well made, but after finding out I was a huge coffee nerd and barista, who was fresh off the plane, Marita made us try some NZ scones. First the cheese, then the raisin pecan! They were fantastic, and we are very thankful for the great hospitality and warm welcome we received from our new friends at Toasted.
Here are a few of the other sights that intrigued us during our first spin around Auckland…
The Bay downtown
Both naturally and architecturally, Auckland is a beautiful city. We were fascinated not only with the gigantic, exotic trees and turquoise waters, but also with the buildings downtown.
We were also pleased about the high number of scooters on the streets of Auckland.
And yes, there are palm trees. 🙂
I think this place is going to do just fine.