I was not looking forward to the flight to New Zealand. I don’t do particularly well on lengthy sessions of transit, and this was going to be a big one. A five hour flight, followed by a seven hour layover, and concluded with a thirteen hour flight. About a month before New Zealand I would be occasionally bringing it up, as though it were a foreboding storm-cloud in the distance. Luckily we got that twenty-four hour non-stop bus journey under our belt, so that cloud was admittedly looking a little less grey as it drew closer to our skies, but it was still certainly a cloud of dread. Waking up at 6am to make it happen, combined with a sadness for leaving Peru made this seem like it was going to be a difficult travel day. We had the additional sense of uncertainty because I had misplaced my migration card that is essential to leave Peru. We were picked up by the same driver who took us from the airport, giving our trip a nice sense of closure. This happened in Jamaica, too. We said goodbye to Peru and left for the airport, slowly getting through our last Spanish conversation with the driver who insisted we come back soon. This sounds like a good plan. I love Peru.
We got to the airport and found out what to do about the migration card, It turns out we would deal with it once we’ve gone through customs. The whole thing resulted in about five minutes of our time and around $4US. So, the card thing didn’t turn out to be a big deal… but the flights were still going to be awful, right? We got through the first flight pretty quickly and found ourselves in the Buenos Aires airport. Fortunately a very large airport, Buenos Aires gave us enough to occupy ourselves with for the following eight and a half hours (the flight was delayed). I’m not saying it is a wondorous place and you should all go visit immediately. I’m just saying that as far as airports go, there are certainly many I’d have had a much more tedious time killing seven hours in. There was even a pizzeria who made us a cheeseless pizza, which is always a good way to spend time.
The flight itself finally came. And, to be honest, really wasn’t so bad at all. To start, Air New Zealand have some comfortable planes. Combine this with the expansive entertainment system they have and your flight is already made much, much easier. There are many movies, tv shows, games, music, and audiobooks to choose from. You are in additional luck on an Air New Zealand flight if you are a fan of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit: the full movie collection is available, from regular to extended versions, and there are some documentaries on the subject too. If you are a fan you can happily spend your time in Middle-Earth before arriving. And, of course, the most important thing on the flight… the food! Air New Zealand offers the best airplane food I’ve had. On top of it being genuinely tasty, and not just tasty for plane food, they also know how to do vegan meals, and you don’t end up with the obligatory portion of butter at the side.
At six in the morning the hours had passed surprisingly fast and we were in Auckland. The airport itself was pretty fun to walk around in, mainly for the giant dwarf statue as you are leaving. After a forty minute bus journey we were in the city, exhausted and eager to drop our heavy backpacks off. We got to the hostel and found out we couldn’t check in until one o’clock. This gave us good cause to explore the surrounding area of Auckland. We wandered around for hours in the search for food. We were faced with the obstacles of it being too early for places to be open and Auckland not being as vegan friendly as we thought it might. We tried many different places and were met with either a closed sign or a menu full of non-vegan options. This at least filled a few hours, and we ended up at a place just a minute from our hostel where we had some amazing falafel. It had been so long since either of us had eaten houmous, which, as you know, is vegan gold! So I was pretty happy about that, particularly because this houmous was particularly incredible.
We eventually got into the hostel and pushed ourselves through until a reasonable bedtime, from which we wouldn’t wake up at about two in the morning and be thrown for the rest of the day. Since then we have spent a few days in Auckland. We took a day to take it easy from the long travel. We went to the supermarket to find out that there are really limited vegan options in Auckland. Our Auckland strategy was to get chickpeas, peppers, mushrooms, and onion, and make some tasty fajitas. We spent the rest of the day just hanging out the hostel, meeting the people coming in and out of the room we had our laptops set up in. The people we’ve met in each hostel thus far have always been really keen to talk about travel, and have a strong interest in what we are doing. This was certainly the case in Auckland, but there was some additional Star Wars buzz in the air, and a much of the conversation among hostel goers was about this.
We eventually got to explore Auckland the following day, and it’s quite a nice city. We met a fellow vegan who gave us some recommendations for the city, including BurgerFuel for our fast food needs, Tart Bakery for delicious cakes, and Giapo for some artisan ice-cream. I am excited to get ice-cream and try a few more places on our way back. It was fun walking around Auckland. The walks are quite similar to those in Scotland, only much, much hotter. I didn’t consider how hilly the city would be. It certainly made walking around feel like home. Every time we were confused about where we were we would ask someone, and every time we found someone incredibly nice and willing to help. I like people from New Zealand a lot!
Auckland is fun, but we aren’t going to spend much time here. We constantly hear that New Zealand gets better the further south you go. So we are parting ways with Auckland. We shall meet again for a couple of days before we leave!