Just another road trip: Wanganui, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Auckland

I decided to return back to Wellington for one simple reason – the road trip around North Island with Martin, my friend from Germany. I came back to Wellington during Easter and was waiting for Martin till he finished some of his tasks. It was Monday, the 2nd of May, when we started travelling together and in next few articles I would like to summarize my all experience from that trip.

We started in Wellington. I checked out in YHA and went to New World car park because we decided to meet over there. Martin had to solve some urgent personal things and that was a reason why he was a little bit late. Our goal was quite simple. Traveling around North Island, every two nights to sleep in our car, one night in motel and everything keep doing till we are back to Wellington. We decided to buy some ingredients for our car cooking as well; therefore our first stop was Pack `n` save in Wellington. We bought some most important things like men magazines and beer, because seven bottles of beer is equal to a schnitzel in Germany, Martin said.

Martin used to work in a part of Wellington called Khandallah. He wanted to meet with some people, say goodbye and have a cappuccino. I was waiting for him in our car and when he returned we started our trip. The first stop was Porirura. Even though it was a suburb of Wellington, we had not expected anything before and therefore we were not disappointed. The lake there was a little bit polluted, so we prepared a quick snack and continued with our travelling. I was chatting to Tomo a couple weeks ago and she was talking about Wanganui. I had not had any priorities during the road trip, but I wanted to meet Tomo. Unfortunately I did not have her cell phone number. Despite that fact we just kept driving to Wanganui.

On our way there was a city called Palmerston North. For me that place is nothing special, you can hear some impolite nicknames, but according to Rough Guide you can also find an excellent museum, gallery and a stunning library. Maybe somebody would be interested in fact that Sonny Hopkins from YHA Mount Cook was born there. We were trying to find a way to Wanganui, but all the time we were returning back to Palmerston North (at least twice). The first time we drove through the crossroad and arrived in a place where nothing, but cows were. The second time we drove somewhere, but on signs there were names of smaller towns, not Wanganui. We stopped and tried to have a look on maps. It looked hopeless, but I got a better idea. I visited the nearest farm and asked a guy over there. He helped us and we could continue with our trip.

We were almost in Wanganui when we decided to take a break. We left the main road and tried to enjoy a country road, no clues that we were on a private property. Somebody visited us soon and we had to leave. We arrived in Wanganui during the evening. I needed toilets and because I had still some connection time for the Internet, we wanted to find an YHA. Not because of sleeping, but because I was sure there was a global gossip connectivity and I could continue with surfing. We found that YHA, parked outside, connected from the car and checked some things on the Internet. I wrote Tomo and asked her for her cell phone number.

We were quite hungry and we still needed toilets. We parked on Pizza Hut car park and checked the toilets inside. After that we returned back to our car. I started to prepare Salmon Bagel. We had very special circumstances, but we were successful and Joe from Mount Cook village would be probably proud of us, because we left almost no mess and the result was really tasty. Martin loved that he said and wanted me to prepare some extra portion and because he was really appreciated he went to Pack `n` save and bought some hand sanitizers over there. It is quite useful tool I have to say. It was the first night and we wanted to find a place for sleeping. We decided to go outside the city, but everywhere we went there was somebody. After quite long driving we found quite cool place in the middle of nowhere. We fell asleep quite soon, but sleeping in a car is not a thrilling experience, so I was happy I could sleep on the way to New Plymouth where we were driving in the next morning.

In New Plymouth we were quite soon. In our fantasies there was a plan to find a harbour. We were successful and we had a great eating place all around. I found some toilets, but after closer look they were closed and we wanted to go to the city centre. Martin proposed that I could try to drive, but it was going to be my first driving experience in New Zealand and I did not want to start driving in a city. Martin kept driving and in the city centre we parked close to the public toilets. Our next step was to go to Egmont National Park. We left the city New Plymouth and were driving directly to Mount Egmont. However, Martin looked really tired and we agreed I could start driving. We changed our seat and the party would begin.

The first steps were quite difficult. Even though I could learn all necessary things about control of the car quite quickly, I was a little bit scared about driving on the other side. I drove very slowly and kept the leftmost part of the road. That was not good. Road cover was not the best and we had a very bad weather. However, I made it and we parked close to the Mount Egmont information centre. The weather was really horrible and did not feel like go out. However, the mountains looked beautiful. We needed some petrol and we decided to go back to New Plymouth. Martin gave me a chance to improve my driving skills and I was driving to that city. I am sure it was better, in many ways the driving on the left side seems better than on the other one. I arrived in New Plymouth and kept driving to the nearest petrol station.

We bought some petrol and wanted to go in the direction of Hamilton. I was driving and started enjoying New Zealand roads much more because I had quite wide ones. There is a big difference between roads in New Zealand and Europe. The highway in New Zealand looks like a road outside the city in the Czech Republic, but better quality of surface included. We had a quick stop on our way and found that the left front tyre was almost flat. We decided to visit the nearest mechanic and check the situation. I decided to share the expenses for the fixing even though I was not sure if my money will suffice. But I wanted to enjoy the trip even though there was the risk of earlier return to the Czech Republic. There were some small towns along the road till we finally found a small one called Piopio where the mechanic was. We checked the situation and he told us there was necessary to change the both front tyres. Fortunately, the price was very good and we were really happy. However, the mechanic needed to finish something and made an appointment at 2 pm. We had some time to prepare a small picnic in the town centre. We ate our traditional food and tried to relax. When the time came we returned back to service and were waiting for the repair. The process was quite fast and we could continue with our trip quite soon.

On radio there was some news about Usama death. He was probably responsible for killing many people, but it was quite decadent the way how many people in some parts of the world celebrated he is dead.

A couple kilometres before Hamilton the weather was rapidly changed and we had a very heavy raining. We were wondering about visiting some caves with glow worms, but the both of us had already seen some and it was not necessary to go there. We heard about Tornado in Albany. I thought they were talking about state New York in the USA where Albany is its capital, but tornado in New Zealand was a really big surprise. When we arrived in Hamilton, the weather was a little bit better. We parked our car in the city centre and tried to find an internet café place. I wanted to apply for tax refund, so we connected and began with filling forms, but I did not know my IRD number, so I returned back to car and again to that internet café place. Unfortunately I forgot my bank account number in car and I had to return back again. However, I was successful and finished filling the document after that. When we left that place, we returned back to car and wanted to do some shopping. The nearest place was Pack `n` save. We parked there and bought some things and after that we drove close to another big supermarket and had our dinner.

Because of getting dark, another task was to find a place for stay. Close to that supermarket was an industry zone. We went there and found a field where we parked. It looked perfect and we decided to stay our night over there. We almost fell asleep when we heard some noise. The both of us were wondering about the source; it must be a harvester I said. During the night Martin asked. Believe or not it was a train and because we did not stay on rails we continued with sleeping. In the morning we kept driving to Auckland. I was quite excited because I had spent there 1 month before and had some mates over there. We arrived in the city quite early. We parked close to the highway and found an accommodation in our guide. However, my knowledge of Auckland was limited and I could recognize only places around downtown and Newmarket. Our motel was on the way back to Hamilton. We found it after a while and accommodated there. Like a present we got a milk carton.

We dropped all our things in our room. We took a shower, Martin had a nap, I washed all my clothes and we relaxed at all. I had a phone call with Tomo. She told me she was in Bay of Plenty, what was great, because it was on the way. Our motel was really nice. Before midday we drove to downtown to Countdown supermarket and bought some things. After that we were walking through the streets and enjoyed the atmosphere in the city. For me it was very nice, because I remembered some experience from beginning of my stay. We drank some coffee and decided to go to cinema in that evening. That day was quite special. We met a lot of people everywhere. They tried to propagate anything, but they seemed a little bit drunk, probably fresh graduates. We returned back to our motel. Martin got an idea he could try to go to fitness centre, I did not have problem to walk around downtown and try to enjoy a couple hours in a big city. When we returned back to Auckland, we parked in a public car park close to the Public Library.

Martin went to the fitness centre and I kept walking through the streets. We agreed with Martin we could meet at 6pm that day. When the time almost came, I was walking around a bar where one of my mates works. I greeted him and it was very nice to see him again. I got a beer and met with Martin. We went to an internet café and connected for a while. I talked to my close friends from the Czech Republic and it seemed they still remember me. When we left that place, we were in a rush a little bit, because the movie, Thor, was almost on. However, we were on time. We enjoyed that movie and after we wanted to go back to our motel. Unfortunately there were a lot of complications on the road. They tried to fix the highway during the night and it was hardly possible to use standard exits. We had a really long drive, but we found our place what was great. In our motel we had no problem to fall asleep.

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Absolute positively Wellington

Since I have arrived in Wellington I have been experiencing a lot of things that sometimes are funny, time to time funnier and the rest one quite extraordinary and I am sure about my decision to return back to Wellington was absolutely all right.

I left the South Island because I agreed with my friend from Germany, Martin that we can travel together. He bought a car he said and proposed we can share some expenses a try to explore some areas on North Island together. I arrived in Wellington on Sunday, but we met day after. I proposed him to meet at Te Papa National Museum, not because it was quite close to my place, but I was sure that place is all right. Martin was there on time and he said he want to introduce me to his mates. I agreed and he walked with me closer to his car. For me it was the first surprise over there. I told him I thought he bought a car not a limo. For me it is not important, but I have to say that the car looked really nice.

When I got into that car, Martin introduced me his friends as he promised. Next to him sat Russell. Not Russell Crow, but still a very nice guy. The last member of our company was Anne-fleur, a very nice girl from Germany who works with Russell in the kitchen and where Martin met them. We wanted to visit cinema. The cinema that Martin had in his mind was quite far so we could observe Wellington from car and it was really nice. I had a very nice conversation with Anne. She was very interested in France and probably she knows everything about that country what was amazing as well as her language knowledge.

The cinema looked very nice, but the movie we wanted to watch was quite late on. We went back to the centre of Wellington and we decided to try to go to a special restaurant. I originally did not count with experience like that, so I visited that place with really ‘non-formal’ clothes. It was quite funny to wear shorts in a luxury restaurant, but as a part of really special experience it was amazing. We ordered some coffee because we had to wait for a free table for dinner. I asked Russell how long has he been in New Zealand. It was quite funny, because he was born in this country and he is a New Zealander. :)

When the time came we use the elevator to get to the restaurant. The whole interior was amazing, everything was organized very well and we got the menu. The first thing was wine. We had a long discussion and everyone could recognize that Anne was pretty confident with the wine. I remembered when I was in Wellington during September – October and we bought some pretty cheap wines around 20 dollars. In that restaurant we choose something else, the price was a little bit higher (maybe fourteen times higher than my first wines in Wellington), but when waiters brought that one and we tasted, the result was amazing. There is a big difference among glasses that you use for drinking and the right glass is really important, Anne said.

Before dinner we got some delicate food and we experienced a lot of fun. They brought some salmon pieces for us. Anne did not like that much and they brought something else for her. She wanted Russell to taste a little bit, but he ate whole portion. We also got some special bread, but we were really excited for our dinner. We still wanted to go to that cinema, so Russell called there and booked some seats for us. The timing was all right. When they served the dinner we started eating our portions. It was really delicious. I took some photos and was very excited for that movie.

The name of that film was Arthur. We arrived on time and took seats. Everything was perfect, but the movie was amazing, much better experience than Scream 4 for instance. We had a really great time with Martin, Anne and Russell and when the movie finished I played the soccer next to the cinema with Anne. There was not necessary to use a ball, for us a bottle lid was enough. We finished that night in a very nice bar and I proposed Martin to meet next day. When I returned back to the kitchen in our hostel I met well-known girls from an Auckland sport team. I originally thought they played tennis, but it was badminton. They were really happy and even though I knew them just a little bit, one of those girls said they beat their opponents.

Another day I met a guy from Canada. We had quite long conversation in our room about many things. He was from Edmonton and he was true traveller with similar point of view like my friend Dan. It was really pleasure to meet him, but I was wandering a little bit in the city and was waiting for meeting with Martin. I needed to go to a post office, because I had still the YHA key with me. Because the public holidays were gone I went to the post office and prepare the envelope and sent everything. I was going to meet Martin, but he proposed to move that appointment to another day. It was all right, however some funny things happened. On my way back I met a homeless guy. He was in a really bad situation. Normally I do not support guys who just want money for nothing, so I did not want to give him money, but my idea was to invite him for some coffee. I kept my word and I am sure he really enjoyed that.

The day seemed pretty cool. However, strong wind and a lot of raining was still all around, but I take that like a part of Wellington experience. However, when I was close to Te Papa I saw a pushchair on the ground in incorrect position (the right side of that buggy was on the ground). The wind was really strong and after a while I started running because I wanted to help them. Fortunately everything was all right and there was nobody in that pushchair. I was happy about that, but really nice moments I experienced in the evening. When I was in the kitchen I met a really cool girl. She was absolutely exceptional and I impressed her with fact I recognized she was from Isle of Man. Not many people know where that place is and I surprised her. :)

Her name was Katie and since we have met each other I was really happy when I could spend time with her because of her abilities like a lot of creativity, intelligence and a very special sense of detail were really cool. She was looking for a job in Wellington. I remembered quite interesting company I found a couple weeks ago. Originally a New Zealand start-up expanded to Australia, the UK and the Czech Republic. I remembered that the position she is looking for was in their UK office and I was wondering that maybe it is possible to send them an e-mail and try to demonstrate them her qualities and I am sure it would works.

We proposed to meet next day and I was quite excited to meet Martin and after him Katie again. When I woke up the weather looked amazing. I had to change my room and waited till they clean a new one. Meanwhile I refreshed my apple crumble knowledge. There were some cooks, originally from Hong Kong, nowadays they live in Auckland. I gave him some part of that crumble and they were really satisfied, they liked it. I put crumble to the fridge and cooked something for the lunch. For the evening I prepared some ingredients for salmon bagel, because time to time I prepared that one in the restaurant in Mount Cook, but in fact, I have not tried yet.

In the afternoon when Martin arrived my plan was to go with him to eat some pizza. In our hostel I saw some girls who were eating quite big portion of pizza and it looked delicious. I recognized the place where they bought that pizza and wanted to go there with Martin. However, we were going to take Anne first and it was a good chance how to see some other parts of Wellington. Anne looked very happy and we were going to try that pizza. We had some troubles with parking, but we used a commercial one for a while. We found that place with the pizza. We were quite excited, but in the result we were disappointed, because we did not like that taste. We returned back to our car. I wanted to take my netbook, so Martin and Anne were waiting for a while and together we went close to a very special place.

Martin asked me if I had some music on my netbook. I had, but probably the different style than they liked. I found a couple track from Bonney M and he asked what else do I have? :) After a while we found that place where we wanted to go. It was quite dark all around, but the result was pretty cool. It was a little bit shame I did not have my camera with me. I wanted to go back by 8 pm, because of meeting with Katie. We were driving around the coastline and it was really nice. We had a quick stop close to the sea and I really enjoyed that. Wellington during the night was gorgeous. Martin dropped me at New World supermarket and I went directly back to YHA Wellington. I found my new roommate over there. She was from the UK and she sat down with Katie. It was another surprise, but I changed the room and I was in the same one with Katie.

I cooked some salmon bagels for me and served some crumble for girls. They liked that and I was really satisfied with my result. We had quite nice conversation, my plan was to show Katie some nice places in Wellington, but the weather in the evening was not that good and I used the backup plan – The Flight of the Concords. Not everyone likes that, but it is quite famous and I was sure Katie would be all right with that. We tried to find a good place, but the people were everywhere. We were walking within the hostel. We found a bike cave on our floor and we were wondering whether it is a real cave or not. We decided to go back to our room. Some other guys from our room joined us for watching two episodes.

Next day Katie was going to try to find another accommodation. Her idea was to check a couple places in Wellington what would be useful for a long stay. We agreed with a meeting in the evening. I arranged another appointment for Friday with my friends Tom and Indigo, who I met during my first significant WWOOFING experience. The guys from Hong Kong were really satisfied with crumble and gave me some sushi for my pleasure. It was really delicious.

When Katie texted me I was walking through the city and was quite close to Cuba Street. Her idea was to go for some coffee. After a while we found a nice place on Cuba Street. The coffee was pretty good and I think the both of us really enjoyed the whole time there. I wanted to cook something for us. She liked nachos pretty much, so we went shopping and we bought some ingredients. The hostel was really busy, but we met our roommate Sylvie from France. She was really nice as well as her friends from Japan and Spain. The guy from Spain described his experience from university. During the night I said Katie good bye. It was pleasure to meet her and maybe one day somewhere I left Katie and the others and I was walking on the quay because during the night Wellington is pretty amazing.

For Friday the most important thing was to meet with Tom and Indigo. We met at New World supermarket parking place. They had no doubt to park over there despite the fact we had no plan to go shopping there. We went to the same café where I was with Katie the day before. However, we had a quick stop on Cuba Street. We found a guy who just used sprays and papers and prepared some absolute amazing pictures. I invited Indigo and Tom for some coffee and we had a really great time. They surprised me with some things and it was really nice to meet them again. We were wondering how many things has been changed since I left Wellington. There is no more Duxton Hotel in Wellington. You can find Amora Hostel instead of. There are also some new things in the city. After I returned back to YHA and wrote a message to Ishbel. I met her in our hostel and she seemed like a really nice person. I wanted to hang out with her and we were walking around the coastline. We returned quite soon, because she was interested in the royal wedding.

Craziness is probably the right word for that wedding. Everyone was really busy with shopping, bought a lot of wine, corn chips, because they wanted to watch that event. The guys on reception brought a special TV because they wanted to experience that event as well. I checked our TV room. There would be maybe 50 degrees because of a lot of people. During the dinner I met a girl from the UK, Louise. She was going to travel to South America and some part of the USA. She also wanted to watch the wedding and I recommended her to go to laundry because when I did the washing I found a TV there and I was sure that there would be nobody. She was really appreciated, but she went to TV room because the weeding was almost on. I do not comment that event, I have tried to avoid TV as much as possible, because I think there are pretty much better things to do than watch things like that.

Yesterday I met with Ishbel again. We had a great walk up to Mount Victoria lookout. She was absolutely impressed and we had a great time there. We could observe some funny things like two exhausted dogs. I chose quite steep track, because there was a lot of beauty, but observe those two poor dogs was really interesting. Ishbel bought me some ice cream and we went to Te Papa museum. That place is really cool and we experienced a lot of things inside. The guys inside try to educate their visitors and there are some quite cool interactive tools inside. When I returned back to my place I started Skype because I had a small chat to my friend from the Czech Republic. I had some new roommates, a guy Philipp from Switzerland and two other guys from Scotland (Gavin) and Argentina (Juan).

They proposed we can visit some bars in Wellington and during my conference they gave me some greeting beer. When I finished the conference we had quite nice excursion in Wellington, focused on bars and restaurants. I showed them some nice places, but almost everything was either closed or there was a private function. During our walking I met some mates from Nomad backpacker. We tried to ask some girls in streets for help, but during the night the street is a really difficult place to start a conversation. Gavin was probably the most successful. I said them in a funny way thank you for a nice walk. :) We bought some things in supermarket and sat down in the hostel for a while. In Wellington there was a rugby match a we expected that after that the people would be everywhere. In hostel we met a couple new guys, Nicolas from Canada, and Corrina, Josie and Eddie from Germany. They joined us and we really enjoyed the whole company.

We were discussion about many things, I liked Gavin’s Scottish accent (quite similar like Brad Pitt in the Snatch movie like Mickey O’Neil). It was quite difficult to understand those guys a couple years ago, but now the conversation is much better, but do not tell them they are from England how Eddie said. The relationship between Scotsmen and Englishmen is pretty much similar like between Australians and New Zealanders. I cooked a quick dinner for me and together with those guys we drank some beer as well as ate some corn chips. Our company was very nice. We had some lessons about eating food with sticks for Chinese food. We experienced quite cool citations. Juan was wondering whether Corrina had a boyfriend in Germany or not. Do you have something in Germany, he asked. :) The second thing was when we were discussing about Canadian French and European one and ‘the real French’ was the sentence that Eddie used when he wanted to distinguish between that differences. The real French was the European version. I remembered the Flight of the Concords again. “You have to pay in American dollars not the New Zealand ones. You want me to pay you in American dollars or real dollars?” The conversation was pretty cool, but the time came. We wanted to go outside. There were much more people than before. We had some stops in some bars. Almost in every big city is a Base backpacker. The hostel does not have a good reputation, but the bar is all rights.

There were some special deals for some kind of drink. We started drinking some alcoholic drinks and talking to each other. However, the bar was quite noisy, so we moved. During our trip we met some new guys; some of them joined us for our drinking experience. Gavin met a girl of his life and left us quite soon. We were quite sad, but we were going to find an Irish bar on Cuba Street where we were before. There were plenty of people and we had chance to dance a lot. We also took some photos and had a great time, so that was probably a reason why we left that place quite late. We were walking back to our hostel. I went directly to bed.

In the morning I talked with Gavin. I thought he was going to go on his trip around the Wellington, but he just wanted to go on toilets to empty his guts he said. I was a little bit tired so I decided to relax all day. I was walking through the city where I sat down on a small bench on a quay next to Te Papa and I really enjoyed. When you are reading this article I am on the way travel the North Island. I do not know what I can expect, but I am quite excited. :) I decided to spend the rest of my time here. I could imagine that thing like that happen but I really like New Zealand. I originally did not expect anything, but since I arrived I have been surprising almost every day. In next few weeks I will be back in the Czech Republic, because I would like to realize my ideas as soon as possible. I am sure it could works and I am going to realize everything. However, that is a different story.

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Dunedin, Kaikoura, Wellington

My accommodation was all right as well as the first impressions of Dunedin. In my room there was a guy from Kuala Lumpur, Nicholas. We talked to each other a little bit. However, I was really tired so I went directly to bed. When I woke up I found some other guys in my room. There were two people, one from Germany and the second one from the USA. The both of them were really nice. My plan was to explore the city by walk without significant plans. My first goal was to find a supermarket. I was walking and enjoying a special atmosphere in the city. Some people stopped me and asked me some things about Dunedin. They thought I was a local guy. Dunedin is quite small city and there was no problem to find some shops. I bought my breakfast that I ate that back in my hostel. I went to my room and talked to the guy from the USA. He was an exchange student in Auckland. I decided to go up to the steepest street in the world. To get there was quite funny. I was walking without map, but I had not known Dunedin. I met some guys and asked them for some clues. It was really funny. I met a lady for instance and she gave me some advice. After that she disappeared and returned back again to recommend me some other cool places in Dunedin. I was really appreciated and I kept her advice in my mind.

In the Botanic Garden I talked to a couple who maintained trees over there. They were from Scotland and they had very good experience with Czech guys. We talked about Dunedin and I was really closed to Baldwin Street what was the name of the steepest street in the world. It looked quite steep and there was possible to get a certificate about successful walking. However, my next steps were really straightforward and I reached the top of the street quite soon. It was quite funny to observe cars and some other people, how they were exhausted. I was talking to a lady from Dunedin. For her and her family Baldwin Street is the most favourite place in Dunedin. I took some photos and went back to the city centre.

I decided to go back to my hostel, but during my walking I heard some Czech phrases. I stopped and tried to listen to a short conversation. I recognize those guys would be all right therefore when they stopped the conversation I started to talk to them. Martin was a doctor in Dunedin; he was from Prague and lives in Dunedin for a long time. Jana was from Krnov and Iveta from a small city from Slovakia. She was probably the first Slovak person I had met here. Jana invited me for a short trip up to Silvers Hills. I agreed and we had a really great afternoon. Jana said she had been living outside the Czech Republic for almost 15 years. I wanted to invite them for some coffee.

There was a cool place called Nova café. We spent there a couple hours and we had really great time. I ordered a piece of carrot cake and described them what I did once with this kind of cake in Mount Cook village. For us the Czech guys were that common to put some cream on the top of that cake, but I remembered how Fiona was angry about me. I recommended them some places and they told me about Dunedin and their New Zealand experience. I said the good bye and we left the building. There was another surprise for me. I saw The Fish Bowl video by Rebecca Hobbs on Nova café window. She probably likes that place as well. :) In the evening I had a great conversation with my roommate from Kuala Lumpur. He said I am a very friendly guy. After the dinner Josh surprised me and visited me at YHA hostel. It was really nice and he said I have a very good hearth. I described him me experience from Dunedin and he said if I spend here a couple more days I will be definitively a local guy. It was very cool to see him again and I am sure we stay in touch.

In my last day in Dunedin I was walking through the city. I met some people and booked the trip from Dunedin up to Kaikoura. Everything was all right, but small complications were Easter. People were everywhere and there was a problem to book anything. In the evening I went shopping and I met Hazel, my “Mount Cook village-mate”. It was surprise to meet her there, but on the other hand it was very nice. However, some people called Dunedin like the best place for the night-life and I perhaps found why. When I was close to the Octagon, I met a girl who said she loved my face. Ouu. :) When I entered to Countdown supermarket I found I forgot my credit card at my hostel. It was a long way to come back, but no surprise a lot of things happened. On my way back to Countdown I met a four-girl group. All of them were really hot and a little bit drunk. One of them started talking to me. She said she thinks her sister fell in love with me. We had quite funny conversation. All of them were really friendly. I think if I stay in Dunedin a couple more days, I will probably settle down there. :)

However, it was not all. I met the girl who loved my face again. Fortunately I was close to the Supermarket. I met a couple there. They said me they had an argument about something. It was really good to know. :) When I finished shopping I met some (probably) Maori and New Zealand guys. They tried to guess the name of my domestic country. They guessed me South America, Asia, Germany. :) I was satisfied that I was back to my hostel quite soon. I checked some things on the Internet and went to bed because of the Checkout in next morning. I woke up quite early and went directly to the bus to Christchurch. I started to talk to a guy from Auckland and I missed my bus. There was another one. After a while I decided to travel with him. It was completely full, but I hopped on. We had a quick stop because some people wanted to travel as well. I know I am sometimes quite a lucky guy and on the same bus station there was also my original bus. I changed them and I sat next to a girl (no space left :) ). She was originally from the Netherlands, but she grew up in New Zealand. It was really nice to talk to her.

We had some stops between Dunedin and Christchurch. The significant one was in Timaru. When I was in Mount Cook village, for me it was such a dream to get there, but in fact, it was such a bigger town, nothing special. Another surprise for me was I found the key from YHA Dunedin in my pocket. I forgot to return that one. :) The trip was really long, but we arrived in Christchurch on time. Some people left the bus at the airport. The rest went to the city. However, the city centre was closed. There were some soldiers and they kept the entrance. Actually, the city centre was seriously damaged by earthquake and it was possible to recognize that Christchurch has very bad times. The rest of the city looked quite all right. I took some photos around the bus station, but I did not want to be a rude, so I waited for another bus and packed my camera back to my luggage. I met two guys from Germany there. The both of them live close to Hannover. It is really cool to meet guys from Germany, because all the time it is a very interesting experience.

My bus was there on the time and I was really excited to go to Kaikoura. However, I arrived in quite late. As a bonus the driver dropped me in the town centre and I had a very long walk with my luggage. During my walking I met a guy. He asked me about my trip and I replied him I am on the way to Wellington. He replied it is a horrible place with horrible people and he was pretty sure about that. One thing is to be proud of his domestic place and the second one to respect everyone’s different needs. That is not only problem of Wellington. In New Zealand you can find a lot of people who hate for example Australia or some other cities in New Zealand and in fact, I don’t like this way of conversation because I think those people are quite arrogant with very limited minds. Maybe those guys would try to live in different part of the world in order to recognize what the term horrible people mean. In compare some other countries New Zealanders and Australians are like angels and therefore I am very sad when I am a witness of that way of conversation.

When I found my accommodation I was really happy. The biggest surprise was in the same room was a girl from England I met in Wanaka and like a bonus in that YHA I met another girl from the Netherlands I also met in Wanaka before. They didn’t travel together, but it was such a coincidence. I sent an e-mail to YHA Dunedin and apologized for the key I did not return and promised to send that key by post. They were really appreciated. Our hostel was really small, but I was happy I could take a rest, because I had some big plans for another day. My goal was to walk around Kaikoura. I left the YHA hostel quite soon and I was walking around the coastline. I saw some wild sea animals and had some great walks. The whole place was really beautiful. I met a really cool girl from Germany. Her name was Sinja and she lived close to Frankfurt am Main and was going to try to hitchhike. I had a really great conversation and I hope she found someone who took her to Blenheim. I ordered some coffee and muffins in the nearest restaurant. However, I was really tired, so I went back to my hostel where I took a break. I booked the bus and ferry back to Wellington and I prepared everything for my next steps.

During my last day in Kaikoura the driver stopped me close to the YHA. It was very nice, because I was not necessary to walk a long way. However, we had a quick stop in the centre of the town. Our bus was absolutely full; there were a lot of guys from the New Zealand Air Field. The driver was joking about them. I was really happy that my English is definitively better than before. The driver gave us some instruction and we had some delay, so it was really useful to understand well. In Picton I checked-in in a ferry terminal. I tried to use Interslander company and it was a completely different experience for me. It looked like a luxury company with full service on the board. However, it was raining and I spent almost all my time writing this article.

When you read this article, I am back to Wellington and try to enjoy some of my last week. I hired a special shuttle bus from the Interislander ferry terminal. The driver was a little bit crazy. There was possible to take a bus a taxi, but can you experience karaoke there? :) Together with me wanted a drive Isabelle and the second girl from the Netherlands I met in Wanaka and Kaikoura. In YHA I met a cool girl from Canada, Ashley. She was in Wellington for a while. She lent me a pen, I did a guide for her. Both of us really enjoyed walking around that city. I remembered some amazing moments from past. When we returned back to YHA, we were quite wet. We met Ashley’s roommate from South Korea, Kyoungmi. She was really nice and cute and together we sat down in the kitchen for a while. We had an extraordinary conversation. When I was in Mount Cook village, I watched Yes Man movie with Jim Carrey. I remembered some Korean phrases and I demonstrated everything. I played also some samples of that film as well as short example of Flight of the Concords. We really enjoyed that and a lot of fun included. I wanted to pack my things in the kitchen and I met two girls, tennis players, there. They asked me where I am from. I said Europe, the Czech Republic and that replied that is really cute. :) I will probably see them again. I am sure if I move to New Zealand for a long time, the best place for me is Wellington.

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Invercargill, Stewart Island, The Catlins

In Te Anau I caught the bus for Invercargill almost at the last moment. I hopped on and tried to relax. However, the trip was not too long. We had a stop in a small town called Gore. That place was probably bigger than Wanaka, Queenstown or Te Anau, but it looked like still like a town than a city. I changed the bus and from Gore I went directly to Invercargill. On our bus there were only two passengers, a girl and me. :) The sceneries were not that impressive like usual, so I just relaxed. The weather was changing very quickly and there was heavy raining all around. I hoped the distance to Invercargill is still long, but unfortunately we were almost there. The driver dropped me next to the Information centre, gave me a map and wished me all the best.

The weather was horrible, but I had had some experience from Mount Cook village, so it was not a complete disaster for me. The only one problem was I had my luggage with me and had to walk quite long distance. However after a long time I could experience a city atmosphere, because Invercargill is the southernmost city. According to Rough Guide, it was built in a Scottish style like Dunedin for instance. However, you can hear a lot of unpleasant nicknames about Invercargill. Auckland is a city of sails, Wellington is pretty windy (and cool), Queenstown the best place for night life or a place with a lot of attractions (or Disneyland). What about Invercargill? I am not sure if I can write down this information, because the most pleasant nickname is a hole. :) However, the first impression was not too bad. They had a very good Information Centre together with a museum and a few very nice buildings.

I found my accommodation after maybe 10 minutes later I left the bus. There was no YHA Invercargill, my place was called Tuatara Backpackers lodge and it seemed like a very nice place. When I confirmed my stay, I booked a plane ticket to Stewart Island and a very special trip around The Catlins coast, because my next stop was Dunedin and The Catlins were on the way there and you can observe a lot of beautiful sceneries. I had got a very nice room. I booked a dorm one, but I was alone there. After I left my luggage in my room, I started walking through the city. I had no plan. I was just walking and took some photos of interesting buildings. I also visited some parks. There were two big supermarkets. I bought some staff in one of them and prepared a quick lunch. After my lunch I was walking again. I visited the Information Centre. The weather was changing faster than I could imagine. Maybe the change was more often than in Auckland or Mount Cook Village and it was raining heavily again.

Invercargill is famous as a place where Burt Munro, the word fastest Indian, lived. I was interested in some technical things according to his race, so I visited a special place where was a lot of information about him. Otherwise, the rest of museum was also very nice. You can find a lot of art, historical fact and staff and many other things that are relevant to Invercargill. New Zealand has a lot of small islands around. There were some expeditions and not everyone was successful. As well as the earthquake house in Te Papa National Museum in Wellington you could have a sailing experience in Invercargill museum. Outside the museum there were some beautiful gardens. I checked the situation there and when I left the museum, the weather was finally alright.

I was still walking through the city. I visited probably the highest tower in the city, The Water Project. I paid 2 dollars for a short excursion where they allowed me to walk up the tower. Everything was quite steep, but the lookout was beautiful. I could see whole city from above. On my way back I bought some ingredient for dinner. I wanted to prepare a special variation of burger I liked in Mount Cook. The inspiration for me was I found Aioli. Quite close to my place was a cinema, the same one like in Wellington. I read the available movies, but in the result I bought a ticket for Scream 4.

When I returned back to my room, there was a big surprise for me. I had a roommate. However, the surprise for me was, there was exactly the same guy from Italy I met before. What coincidence. :) We had a nice conversation and after a while I was going to prepare my dinner. The burgers looked all right. I met a lady there who said it looks very nice. I returned back to my room and went to the cinema. The movie was not bad, but I found myself for me the horror movies are not as attractive as before, a couple years ago. When I was returning back to my hostel, it was a little bit shock for me. During the night Invercargill seemed quite depressing and strange. I was really happy I was back at my place. In my room I had again a very nice conversation with the Italian guy. He was talking about Italy and said a lot of interesting information. It was surprise because I thought everything goes fine in Italy. We also discussed about London. The conversation was really amazing. He knew some languages, but he said he uses the same Italian accent for all of them. :)

When I woke up I was really excited because of the trip on Stewart Island. I took a shower, packed my camera and went downstairs in my backpacker to wait for a shuttle bus for the airport. He was there on time, so I was in the airport quite soon. I checked-in and was waiting for my plane. Next to me sat a guy from Department of Conservation. We talked to each other about various topics. He was on Stewart Island maybe three times and he liked that place. There was a TV and some news on. Probably all New Zealanders live with the royal weeding in London and the sooner that event is, the more information you can find. The guy who checked my ticket was also the pilot and after a while he said we could enter on plane. There were two planes and maybe 12 people who wanted to go on Stewart Island. The flight was very nice. Normally I flew on board of big planes, but that one was really different. The distance was quite small and after 15-20 we were on Stewart Island.

There was a small runaway and a shuttle bus and a guy who was waiting for us. He took us to Oban what was a township on Stewart Island. The atmosphere was really nice, but the sun was shining strongly. I found a small supermarket there and some toilets. I bought a quick snack and started walking around. There were some possibilities how to explore the island with Stewart Island Experience, but I prefer doing everything on my own. I saw some nice building. It looked like I was in a paradise. After a while I was on the beach. I was observing a girl who played with her two dogs. I also found some interesting birds. There was a small river and I wanted to get on the other side, but I could not find a way. I went closer to the girl and her dogs. She was born on Stewart Island and worked like a guide, a very nice person who gave me some useful advice. There was a small bush track close to the river and after a while I was on the road on the other side of the river.

Stewart Island is famous for possibility to observe some kiwi birds. I tried to find some, but it was probably the bad daytime, because the best chances are during the night. I was walking through significant parts of Stewart Island, found a lot of imposing beaches and met some nice people. There was a quite big group, a girl from Canada, two people from the USA and a guy from Norway. We took some photos together and I continued with my walking. I had still the girl’s advice in my head and it helped me to find some beautiful places on Stewart Island. They are probably well-known, but nobody was there and I really enjoyed walking there. When I returned back to Oban, I was quite hungry and tired. I bought some things in supermarket and I was wondering what to do next. The best thing was walking, so I kept moving. I found a way to an observing stone and I decided to go there. On my way I met a guy. His name was John, he was originally from Chatham Island, but he moved on Stewart Island twenty years ago. He said if you live on Stewart Island for a long time, for people you are a local.

The observing stone was really nice as well as the other places I explored on Stewart Island. However, I was really tired, so I decided to go back to Oban to wait for my plane. I confirmed my flight and I was waiting maybe 20 minutes than the driver took us back to the local airport. In next few minutes the plane landed and we could hop on. The pilot recognized me and allowed me to sit next to him in cockpit. For me it was a really nice experience, I could observe everything from the first line. I saw my backpacker from the above. When I returned back to the airport, I left the main building and I was walking back to Invercargill. In backpacker I wanted to cook something for me. There were a lot of people all around. However, I had a very nice conversation with a girl from Canada and Germany. There was also a guy from Auckland. After the kitchen time I returned back to my room and went to bed. I was really excited for next day.

On Tuesday, in the morning I woke up quite early. I prepared everything, returned the key and was waiting for my connection to The Catlins. There was a guy from New Plymouth. He went to Stewart Island for 10 day trip. I wished him all the best and I was still waiting for the bus. In next few minutes a guy came and asked me what am I waiting for? He looked like my favourite actor Jake Gyllenhaal. His name was Josh and he was a trip guide. Not many people booked that trip and his boss allowed him to use a car instead of a bus. We had to take two girls from the Information Centre, because they left our hostel quite soon and went to wait there. Josh was born in Dunedin and had very good knowledge of The Catlins as well as many other places in New Zealand, Australia and Europe. Since the beginning our car trip was special and no boring trip from point A to B at all. We tried to decide whether go for oysters or not. We turned our car around at a crossroads because we could not decide.

We visited a small town Bluff, a very nice place with a lot of special oysters. We bought some of them. My travel mates were from Canada (Erin) and the Nederland (Isabelle). The Isabelle as well as I wanted to start eating the oyster in car. However, special packing helped us to make some mess in car. Josh stopped the car and allowed us to spill the water on sidewalk. We made that and after that we could enjoy the oysters. It was really delicious and we shared everything with Josh.

The trip through The Catlins was amazing. Josh was very good informed. He told us some nice stories about that region. We stopped on many nice places like beaches, waterfalls, lighthouses and lookouts. When we visited the first beach, there was a quite big bus group. We went close to the sea. There were a couple from England who was picking some things from bushes. Josh was quite angry about them and sent them away. Another stop was close to a waterfall. We could observe a beautiful nature masterpiece. Josh allowed us to go closer. It was quite slippery, but Josh helped us to get there. I had to take some photos despite the fact my camera was wet. I was a little bit thirsty and hungry. There were three possibilities in The Catlins where to stop for eating. The first stop was quite close. We wanted to stop there, but there was a power cut and the restaurant was closed. We kept driving a visited some other towns.

The lunch time was in Owaka, in a pretty small town. We were really excited, but some of us were a little bit disappointed. The staff was quite unpleasant over there. That was surprise, because almost everyone, especially in the hospitality area is quite friendly. I did not judge those guys, but Josh was quite uncompromising and talked to the waitress personally. After that they a little bit changed their approach, but the bad first impression still remained. On the other hand I ordered some sea food and it was quite delicious.

Another part of our trip was to visit a place called Nugget Point. There was a lighthouse and a possibility to observe yellow-eyed penguins. However, I did not feel very actually. Not because of food, but I found that I have problem with travelling by car for long distances within mountains. I needed to smell fresh air quite often, so I was happy we had a car a we could stop anywhere. When we stopped closed to the Nugget Point, we went to observe penguins. We saw only one of them, but it was such an amazing experience as well as the Nugget Point. When we left that place, we were driving straight to Dunedin. There were some plans where to stop, but we did everything on the fly. We made a friendship with Josh and I was really happy, because he was similar like some of my good friends.

Josh was also very happy and in Dunedin he prepared a small surprise. I hope his boss doesn’t read this article, because we completely changed the program. He took his very good friend at her place. Together we had a small trip through Dunedin straight to a very special place. Josh took some torches and we went observe some glow worms. It was very nice, there was a night all around and we really enjoyed walking there. Another thing was to find YHA hostel. Josh dropped me there and gave me his contact details. I said him good bye and I was really happy. For me it was another amazing day.

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Te Anau, Doubtful Sound, Milford Track

In Wanaka and Queenstown I had really great experience, but it was time to try something different. One of my good friend says, that it is no important where you are, but what you experience. I agree. In New Zealand there are a few places I really want to see. A couple weeks ago I read about an amazing place called Te Anau with a great connection to places like Doubtful and Milford Sound. I read some information on the Internet and checked my guide and I was sure I had to go there, so when my accommodation in Queenstown expired, I book a new one in Te Anau and I started to be really excited, despite the fact that the bus leaved Queenstown early morning.

Although we are going to travel by car on North Island with my friend from Germany next week, I like travelling with buses because you can meet a lot of interesting people. There was a girl in YHA who was leaving Queenstown with me. When I sat down on bus I started to talk to her. Her name was Malin. She had similar plans like me and she seemed like a really nice person. Her company was really cool and we arrived in Te Anau without troubles. The driver dropped us somewhere in the middle of the town. I asked him if he knows where YHA Te Anau is. He showed us a way and we went there, but after a while it looked like we got lost. We met a guy from Asia and he had the same problem. I took my Rough Guide, turned over some pages and tried to find some pages about Te Anau. I was quite successful and we could check the map and find YHA.

The building looked very nice, interior was amazing. There are some differences among YHA backpackers in New Zealand, but YHA Te Anau belonged among the better ones. With Malin we wanted to accommodate but it was not possible, because the cleaning was still in progress. A girl in the reception said they had quite big group the night before. With Malin we put our luggage to store room and went to explore Te Anau together. I really enjoyed to walking with her. We were talking about various things and she had exactly the same kind of personality I am interested in. During our walking a lot of fun included. For instance she asked me what the most favorite food is in the Czech Republic. I replied that the Czech guys like meet and she could find some duck meat a lot. Unfortunately she understood me dog meat instead of duck one and she looked quite scared, because she herself has two nice dogs. After that we were laughing that misunderstanding and I added she probably was not going to invite me at her place because I could eat her lovely dogs. :)

We were walking around Te Anau Lake and we visited Information center as well. There were some materials about Mount Cook village so I showed her some brochures about Mueller Hut. After we left the Information Center we were going to drink some coffee together. We ordered our drinks and sat down for a while. I showed Malin some of my photo and we were drinking, talking and waiting for check-in time in YHA. When the time came we went to accommodate and we agreed we could meet at 3 pm and went out together again. I had still quite a long time so I put my luggage into my room, ate something and tried to wonder about my next steps. At three o’clock we met in the main hall and tried to walking around the lake again. We used the first part of the Kepler track. After a while we could observe some native birds of New Zealand. There was possible to see Kea parrots and Tui birds for instance. We observed the Lake Te Anau and the mountains. There were some clouds around the mountains and the whole scenery was really extraordinary.

When we were walking back we decided to book some activities. We visited a special place and Malin booked a Doubtful Sound kayak trip. I booked Doubtful Sound as well, but I chose a boat trip. There was a special price and the weather seemed beautiful. After we left the booking center we went watching a film about Fiordland with Malin. Meanwhile I proposed her I could cook a dinner for us. There was a Four Square in Te Anau, so we had plenty ingredients. She bought me a ticket for the movie and we really enjoyed watching that project. After that the both of us were pretty much more exited to visit Doubtful Sound than before. When the film was gone we came back to YHA and we found we have only a pizza base from ingredients. We went to supermarket to buy some other ones. There was some improvisation, but I really wanted to prepare and cooked that pizza well. We prepared everything, it was a really good cooperation. When I put the final product to the oven and hoped the result will be all right. We found an empty table. I also bought some cheese cake, but it was like a dessert. I took the pizza from the oven and start serving whole dinner.

I was surprised, but the result was amazing. For both of us the pizza was delicious. Malin said I would be a cook. :) After dinner there was no problem to serve a dessert. After the dinner we visited a very nice restaurant. We drank some beer and enjoyed that relaxed atmosphere spread Te Anau wide. For me it was one of the best days here in New Zealand, but we had still some time. I wanted to show Malin some episodes Flight of the Concord. We were walking through our hostel and tried to find a calm place for watching. We decided to go into my room, because I thought my roommateswould be away for a while. However, all of them were inside. Some guys from Spain, New York and Belgium. There were very nice ones, indeed. With Malin we tried to watch some videos, but the noise inside the room was quite unpleasant for watching, so we went outside for a while and after that we found a great place within our backpacker. We spent maybe more than one hour with watching some part of Flight of the Concords, but it was very nice and I though we both enjoyed whole day.

Next day I had had to wake up quite early because of Doubtful Sound experience. Originally I had booked only one night in YHA, so in the morning I also had to leave my room. Because the same situation like previous night and my new room was not prepared, I just put my luggage to store room and left the YHA building and was going to wait for my connection to Doubtful Sound. I met a guy from France, but he was going to Milford Sound. A bus stopped quite soon. I thought it was a school bus, but the driver allowed me to hop on. After that were stopping at many places in Te Anau and collected some other people. Together we went to a township Manapori where two small boats were waiting for us. I sat next to a window and was really excited. There were two captains and when they came in, one of them asked everyone if somebody with name Tomasek is aboard. I was wondering what I forgot, but they just wanted to give me a lunch. Everything seemed all right and we could leave the township.

The first part of that trip was to sail Lake Manapori and get to West Arm. There was also a power station and we had a short excursion. It was really interesting. The guys said it was probably the best New Zealand engineering achievement. We were on bus and the driver took us into a tunnel. A funny thing was he changed his direction inside, within a narrow tunnel. After the excursion we went to a small lookout to observe a small part of our trip. It was really beautiful. After a while the driver dropped us close to the other boats. We got aboard again. The weather was beautiful and the whole sailing was amazing. We could observe some waterfalls, hills and some other parts of Fiordland National Park. The Doubtful Sound was closer and closer. We reached Tasman Sea and it was really cool, because we had some nice moments. We could observe some dolphins, penguins with yellow heads and seals who relaxed on a stone. All of us took many photos. We had one stop closed to a waterfall. We were really close, so we were able to touch the falling water. For me it was a moment I probably never forget. Some troubles caused sandflies. They bit my hands, but for me it was a part of experience. From boats we sat on bus and went back to West Arm again where two ferries were prepared for us. In next 20-30 minutes we got the coast of Manapori where the bus back to Te Anau was ready. I met some nice people from Australia so the time went quite fast.

In Te Anau I met Malin again. Her day was also amazing. For next days she decided to go Kepler Track, I wanted to visit Sounds again. I book a small part of Mildford Track and took keys from my new room. I moved my luggage there and in the same room was a guy from France with a guy from Italy. There were very nice, but I was quite hungry, so I went to the kitchen to prepare something. Malin was packing her things and after she went shopping. When I finished my dinner I sat down to a quite calm place and was adding my previous article. When Malin returned from the shop she sat next to me. I showed her my photos from Doubtful Sound. After a while I said good bye. That is a disadvantage of travelling. You can meet a lot of very nice people, but because of different plans you can leave them quite early. I will miss her, but who knows, maybe we will meet somewhere in Canada, where she also would like to go. In YHA there was a couple from Doubtful Sound trip. I talked to them a little bit. There were from Melbourne and I recommended them some things in Wanaka. I had a conversation with my roommates about girls and I went to bed quite late, but I was really tired, so I fell asleep without troubles.

The good thing next day was I could not change my room. I left my hostel only with my camera and a bottle of water. I went to a meeting point for Milford Sound where I got a ticket for a ferry. There were some other people from Australia, the UK (London) and the US (Minnesota). In the bus we had a really nice conversation and when we got aboard we kept talking. On the lake we observed sceneries and it was really beautiful. I have a friend Ondra in the Czech Republic who is a London lover. I told a London couple about him. They were very nice people as well as the people from the US. We talked traditionally about everything, in particular about New Zealand experience. Their next plan was to go to Mount Cook Village. I gave him some advice and wished all the best. However, the Milford was pretty amazing. Sandflies were everywhere, but the weather was beautiful and I could take a lot of nice photos. We had some light walk. We saw poison flowers as well as spectacular sceneries. We had a lunch in a small hut. After we crossed the bridge and explored a small part of Milford Track. We could observe some domestic birds and saw very interesting flora. I took a lot of photos again. When we were in Te Anau, the guy from Australia lent me a raincoat. However, it was not necessary, because the weather was amazing.

Our guide was a very nice guy from Te Anau. He showed us some nice things along the track and we were really satisfied. When we returned back to village I said goodbye to all of them and went back to YHA. In my room there was a girl from Italy. Her name was Barbara and she writes blog as well. I added her blog among my favorites even though everything is in German language. :) However, Google translator works. When she introduced me I had to show her some parts of Flight of the Concords, because in one episode those guys fell in love with a girl with the same name. Last night in Te Anau was quite nice. Our room was full with girls from America and Canada. It was not surprise for me, that all of them were really nice. They study in Dunedin and had spent some days in Mount Cook village, so we had some common interest. Next morning I woke up quite late. I had a very quick breakfast and had to leave the hostel quite quickly. I had booked the bus to Invercargill because I wanted to visit Stuart Island. I nearly missed bus, but fortunately it didn’t happen. I left Te Anau on Sunday, I spent there three days and for me it was really one of the best experience in New Zealand. Te Anau is a small town, but very beautiful. I can imagine spend there a long time. However, it was time to try something different in Invercargill. But, this is a different story.

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Wanaka and Queenstown, meet Jessica and Karlie

After I left Mount Cook I promised myself to keep my blog up-to-date. Before I started travelling I could predict a lot of factors and write accurate summaries. However, everything is changed and things are going so fast. I am changing places faster than I could imagine, meet a lot of amazing people and really try to enjoy every moment here in New Zealand, because I know that my time is limited. So, in next few weeks you can expect more articles with a lot of photos included.

With Suzie we went to Wanaka. We arrived in that town together, but both of us had different ideas how to spend a great time there. She wanted to go to Mount Aspiring National Park. I wanted to explore the different parts of the town than before. We used the same bus company as before and everything was all right. We had a short stop in Cromwell where Suzie needed to go on toilets. In Wanaka the driver dropped us close to YHA and we went to take our keys to our rooms. In Mount Cook village we had already booked first two nights in Wanaka. The room we got was amazing, just space for four people; a very nice interior with a very old lock for the toilets. Suzie needed some new trousers and a new cellphone. We went shopping and we visited some shops where Suzie bought her a new pair of jeans. She wanted to continue with shopping, but I left her and returned back to our hostel.

That was probably one of my best decision I have ever made. When I returned back I started preparing some materials for a Skype conference with my friend and colleague from Prague. I was alone in my room when one of my roommates returned back to our room. Her name was Jessica, she was Chicago and I really enjoyed spending my time with her. When I was in Wellington I met an extraordinary girl from Michigan, Jenny. When I was in Tasman Lake she wrote me a short message and I was really happy. However, when I told Charlie and my other colleagues about Jenifer, they started joking about girls from the USA. In fact, I know that the USA is a big country. There are more people than (almost) everywhere else. I know that some of them are not nice. Jessica used to live close to Hollywood and met some “plastic people” she said. Fortunately I know, according to my experience, that some of people from the USA are very nice, it really depends on region from where those guys come from. With Jessica I had a really cool conversation. We talked about art (I said her I have no idea how to paint anything), music, movies and (surprisingly) about New Zealand, Australia and the USA.

I showed her some of my topics I like. We were talking about French New Wave as well as about Czech language and her plans. We were discussing about the differences between the USA and the rest of the world. However, not everyone was happy with our conversation. Suzie was in the same room and she hoped we can finish our discussion quite early and after a while she was quite angry with me, so we had to accomplish our topics next day. Because Jessica was leaving I took her photo for my blog. Although I have spent quite a short time with her, I was really happy to meet a person like she was.

Second day I was walking through the town. I visited The Puzzle World in Wanaka. I had quite fun with special illusions, but sometimes it was quite annoying in the labyrinth. There was necessary to walk within a maze, found four towers and the way back from the maze. I was quite successful, but the problem for me was to find the exit point. So I wasted my time with visiting exactly the same places in the maze. When I left the Puzzle World I was walking up to Mount Iron. It was not that difficult as for instance Red Tarns in Mount Cook village and I could enjoy some of the beautiful scenery quite soon. That day I also met Sanna because she lives in Wanaka and wants to stay there as long as possible. I invited her for some beer, she showed me a really cool place where you can taste and buy some local brands that are really good. In the afternoon I cooked some pizza for me and started wondering what to do next. In the evening the guys in YHA surprised me when they prepared Donnie Darko movie for the evening YHA premiere. I like that film. After that I started conversation with some of my friends from Germany and the Czech Republic. It looks like the next week I am going back to Wellington and travel the North Island with Martin. He has a car and we can share expenses. He proposed that idea and because I also would like to travel there, I agreed.

Next day in Wanaka we went shopping. Suzie needed a new cell phone and I was wondering how to send a bigger package to Europe with some books that I used here for study purposes. I met with Sanna again and I sent my package to Europe. It was about 10 kilos and I believe everything would be delivered without troubles. I had to change my room, because my booking was only for two nights and I wanted to extend. Unfortunately the room was full, so I decided to try to go to room 17. Exactly the same one I was staying a couple weeks ago, when I visited Wanaka for the first time. I opened the door and there were some people. I had very nice conversation with a couple from Denmark. They were very nice people with a very nice approach. I liked them. In the evening I visited Sanna again. We went to the cinema together. She said that the cinema in Wanaka is quite unique in the world. At the first moment I thought we had a similar one in the Czech Republic, but when the movie (Get Low) started I recognized I was wrong and that cinema was really quite specific.

When I returned back to my room, there was another girl. Her name was Karlie and I also really enjoyed my conversation with her. She was from Canada, from British Columbia and was travelling around. I gave her some tips and we discussed about our experience. Last day in Wanaka I said Suzie good bye. She went to West Coast and it was probably the last time I saw here in New Zealand. I rent a bike for a half of a day and was riding around the lake. It was pretty amazing. Some of those places I recognized from my recent visit, but during my cycling I had absolute freedom. I observed beautiful beaches and a very special lifestyle. Sometimes I had really nice moments when the chain from the bike fell down, but I fixed that and I could return back to YHA. My bus was going to leave in the afternoon and I had maybe one hour to go. I wanted to say good bye Wanaka with drinking their local beer. I went to the bar for a pint of dark one.

When I was drinking and eating some muffins, I recognized that a guy from Thailand, who I met in Mount Cook village for the first time, sat next to me with his family. Sante was a cool and easygoing guy. He invited me to Bangkok where he lives. He said in Thailand there are only three kinds of the weather – hot, damn hot and very hot. I returned back to YHA, said goodbye to Karlie and after that I was waiting for my connection to Queenstown. I was really happy I really enjoyed Wanaka and met some amazing people with a similar point of view. I am sure I never forget.

The trip to Queenstown was all right. We had one stop in Cromwell and one a couple kilometers behind Cromwell. There was a small market with fruit and vegetables. Everyone took a lot of fruit in bags. I bought one apple for 80 cents and ate outside. I didn’t hesitate and started to talk to the driver. He was from Queenstown. His friend was from Australia and when I said about the Czech Republic and Prague, he replied with Skoda Auto brand. He was a satisfied user of one older model that was made a long time ago – when Czech Republic and Slovakia was one country that was ruled by a communist government. I also tried some kiwi fruit and some other delicate sweets and it was really nice. The rest of the trip was without break, but it was all right, because it was really close. I saw some beautiful sceneries and I was wondering what I could do in Queenstown. Some people hate this city, some ones like and I had a lot of question in my mind. I had booked my accommodation for two nights. When I arrived, I left my luggage in my room and started to explore the famous Queenstown.

A lot of cities and places have a nickname. Queenstown also has some. You can hear people to talk about Queenstown like a capital of attraction or the best place with nightlife in New Zealand. In Rough Guide you can read that Queenstown is a victim of its popularity. The true is you can find a lot of attractions everywhere. Do you like bungee jumping or some adrenaline? Go to Queenstown and enjoy your time here. It seems that whole town was built for tourists. I can hardly imagine living here like a resident. The town is really nice; there are a lot of things to do, I explored a lot of parts here and I enjoyed my time here, but I am sure that in New Zealand and in the world are more suitable places for permanent living. However, it was my holiday and I tried to enjoy as much as possible. I was walking through the town, meeting some people and visiting some places. I liked the architecture here and a good experience is to smell some savors of various cousins. The atmosphere here is really special; however, if I can select between Queenstown and Wanaka, I like the second one more. In Queenstown, I had no wow effect, but I was not disappointment. In fact, I had a quite good time here.

I met Sante with his family from Thailand again and my last day here when I wanted to book some activities surprisingly I met Jason with his family in the same hostel. It was very nice, we took some photos together and finally I could say to him good bye, because when I left Mount Cook village, he was away. My roommates were all right. Some guys from Netherlands, Austria, Hong Kong, Ireland and Spain. Nightlife in Queenstown was really pretty cool. I have not visited pubs, but there were a lot of artists and musician in streets and the atmosphere was really cool. I used local buses here for some travelling. I like travelling without goals; just try to explore anything without strict goals seems like the best way. Because there was not possible to pay with credit cards on bus and I travelled without plans I had a lot of fun. I wanted to see a lake close to Arrowtown. I chose a bus and went there, but I was really surprise. There were a lot of nice houses and the driver wanted to drop us somewhere, in the middle of nowhere. I paid 5 dollars, but I was wondering how I could get back from there to Frankton. I said him it was not necessary to drop me off and I would like to go back now with him and it was for the first time I was really happy the driver agreed with my proposal, because he probably saw I was really worried. I went back to my hostel and booked my trip to Te Anau.

When you are reading this article, I have already been here and this place is absolutely fantastic, especially because I met an extraordinary girl from Sweden on board and I must say I have an amazing time here; but because this is a different story, see you next time. :)

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Mueller Hut, Mount Olivier, last week in Mount Cook village

When you are reading this article, I am leaving Mt. Cook village and together with Zuzana we are going to Wanaka for a while. Even though the both of us have different plans, we will travel to Wanaka together and there we will see if we also visit some places on South Island together. For me, time I spent in Mount Cook village was really special. I wanted to go here, I was really excited to try to do something different and actually I spent here a really long time, almost 6 months. I met a lot of very interesting people, visited some beautiful places and although I used to work in a kitchen and sometimes the work was nightmare for me (maybe for others as well :) ) I have to say I had a really great time here at all. Charlie, his family and my colleagues were nice people who gave me a chance to try to do various things in our restaurant and I could learn a lot of practical things that weren’t essential for me before. I recognized some of my weaker and stronger abilities and I know what is really important for me. It also looks like I have been growing up – I drink coffee now. About my travelling I will publish some other articles. Because a lot of things happened during my last week in Mount Cook village I would like wrote about that.

A couple days after I visited Tasman Valley I met my friend from Germany Anna here in Mount Cook village. We had a really nice time in Wellington, we often visited Te Papa National Museum and ate a lot of chocolate. It was really nice to see her here and we agreed to go to Chamois bar together after I finish my shift. She introduced me her friend. I tried to guess where he from was. I said a lot of name of countries but I was wrong. He was from the Netherlands. On the other hand he thought I was from Germany and when he tried to guess the right place, he said all states around Germany, except the Czech Republic. Anna showed me her new paintings and it was amazing experience. She is really good at painting and one of these pictures you can see in this article. She agreed with publishing the picture based on the last big earthquake in Christchurch that she also experienced. She tried to call to her parents and wanted to say she is all right. When she was talking to her father, in Christchurch there was an aftershock, she cried “earthquake!” in surprise and the connection was interrupted. It had to be really bad and I am very happy she is all right. She recommended me to visit a chocolate factory In Dunedin. On toilets I met a guy with a pirate hat on his head. He celebrated his birthday and when I saw him next to bar again, he joined to us and we took some photos together. I introduced Anna to my friend Steven from Germany and we had a really great time.

Next day I saw how Zuzka talked to some Czech guys. They drank some beer and all of the looked like nice people. However, my head was full of Mueller Hut. I wanted to climb up there earlier, but in result it was my last point where I had not been yet. I prepared everything, some food, a lot of water and when I woke up I just went there. I met Tom and he wished me all the best. The whole trip was amazing. The most difficult part was to reach Seally Tarns. The rest was quite all right, but the patience was also useful. I saw a lot of extraordinary sceneries. I was quite close to Mueller Hut when I prepared a small picnic. After that the rest of my trip was all right. I met a really nice girl from Poland. She grew up in Germany and we had a really nice conversation. Finally, Mueller Hut was really close. I was really happy. When I was close to that hut I heard some noise. At that moment I thought it was the well-known duck family from the village, but on the other hand I was wondering what they felt like doing under Mueller Hut. I ducked myself and went close to those animals. Ladies and gentleman, no duck was there. Finally I met some kea parrots. They ate some ropes and when I was taking some photos, they were starting to parade close to my camera.

I went to explore the hut. I met two guys from Australia and another one from New Zealand. They looked after that hut like volunteers, very nice people indeed. They recommended me to climb up to Mount Olivier (about 1933 meters above sea level, so maybe another 100 meters from Mueller Hut). At first moment it wasn’t a good idea, but in next 20 minutes I reached the summit of that mountain. It wasn’t difficult, but I had to be really careful. The panorama was gorgeous. When I was walking back I met those Czech guys from restaurant. All of them were from Brno and they were really nice. We were walking back to the village together. We had a really nice discussion together and close to Seally Tarns we met a couple from Prague. I invited them to Chamois Bar and recommended them some nice places to stay. However, when I was walking back and reached the Hermitage Hotel, I was really tired. I wasn’t sure I could reach my place.

But the result was amazing. I took a shower and I heard my cell phone ringing. Fiona called me. At first moment I thought she needed me for some tasks in restaurant. However she just wanted to check whether everything is all right. In the evening I went to Chamois Bar. There was a concert. Jason and his friends played and sang some nice songs. I met Rebecca there and later the Czech Guys arrived as they promised. I introduced them some my NZ friends and we invited each other for some beer. Czech guys like beer and that was reason why they asked for special (bigger) glasses for their jug. We talked about various topics, girls, the Czech Republic, their experience in New Zealand. When they left I had another nice conversation with Jason and Dolores. She was from Ireland and worked behind the bar in Chamois bar. However I was really tired and I decided to go back at my place.

Another night I went to Chamois bar with Sanna. She was leaving Mount Cook and we wanted to drink together some drink. However we were late and the bar was almost closed. The last chance was Sunday night. We went there and it was really nice. I met the Czech guys from Hermitage and there were quite a lot of people. We drank some beer and talked to each other. I stayed quite long time there. Menzi was leaving the village as well. He wanted to go to Wellington, Australia and Europe. He invited us for his last night here. I went there and it was interesting. A lot of people were there. It was the same evening I met Julia, a very nice girl from Christchurch who works like a guide. She was really interested in some Czech phrases and when we were walking back to our places she invited me to her house. I originally thought she wanted me to teach some new Czech words, but in the result we had a really nice conversation about Australia.

Last days in Mount Cook were quite quiet. :) Joe gave me some special farewell tasks; I started cleaning my place and was wondering about my next steps. The last working day was all right. We said good bye to Rebecca. When she drove us to our places it was probably the first moment we had a longer conversation together, because normally I did not talk that much. I wished all the best and at my place I took a shower, changed my clothes and went to Chamois bar for a while. I met there Charlie from Fiji, his wife, Mike from New Zealand and Steve from Germany. We had quite interesting conversation. We talked about Europe (Germany :) ) and Australia. Charlie said he often beats Joe. This is probably a Fijian kind of greetings.

My last day here I was packing my things, finishing cleaning my house and in the evening went to our restaurant for our last dinner here. I said good bye to my colleagues and in my head there are some ideas how to enjoy next few weeks here. See you soon.

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Tasman Valley

I’m temporary living in a small village and when the weather is nice and I have a day off, I would like to explore as much as area is possible, in particular, when my stay here is almost gone. Yesterday considered between Mueller Hut and Tasman Valley. The both places I want to visit, but according to the weather forecast I decided to go to Tasman Valley instead of Mueller Hut, because for climbing up to the Hut is useful when the weather is nice. However, Tasman Valley is quite far from the village, so I went to YHA to rent a bike. They gave me a special discount, a helmet (in New Zealand is required) and a locker and I could ride.

Even though I haven’t sat on bike for ages, it was all right. The trip was very nice, the weather was beautiful. When I was crossing a narrow bridge I heard a car behind me. I stopped, took my bike and moved myself close to the small sidewalk. The driver was a guy from DOC a he was surprise with my reaction. For him wasn’t any problem to drive slowly behind me. Unfortunately I live in a country where the drivers aren’t as much patient as those ones in New Zealand, so I have experienced something new. When I arrived I locked my bike and started walking around. I met Tom and Charlie who was returning from their kayak trip from Tasman Lake. I also met a couple from Australia. They congratulated on my success I rode a bike in this valley. My first point was Blue Lake. It was really beautiful. After that I went up to Tasman Lake point when I could observe whole lake from above. I mentioned that there are more blue lakes than one. I wanted to see all of them so I was walking that way. Some terrain was quite unpleasant, but the result was excellent. I could return back the same way, but I like walking somewhere without preparation, so I kept going towards. I met some new beautiful places, but I hadn’t had an idea where I am. However after 10 minutes I was back in a small camp where my bike was.

I wanted to explore more, so I went close to Tasman Lake. There were a lot of groups from Christchurch. Some guys recommended me to jump into water. It was hot, according to their words. Almost all the time people try to guess where I am from. They think usually either Sweden or Germany. Those guys guessed I am from France. I went close to the lake. I saw some equipment belongs to Hermitage. Because the weather was surprisingly very nice, two guys from the Glacier Explorers started preparing something for the next trip. One of them probably likes singing. I was walking back and he started singing very loudly, so everyone could listen to his performance. Before I left that place I met some other guys from Christchurch and another guy from Ukraine. He lives in New Zealand and we had a really nice conversation. When I was coming back to the village I had to stop at one point and I understood why I met some guys from DOC before. There was an accident, a car fell out of the road and some guys tried to fix that situation with special equipment. The road was close, so I took some photos. After I came back to village, I was really tired. I returned my bike and started to relax. However all day was really amazing. In the afternoon I talked to Zuzka and Tom and in YHA there were some noisy people. However next to me sat down a girl from Switzerland and we had a very nice conversation. However, I was really tired and I went back at my place quite soon.

In the restaurant, there’s still a lot of fun. On the one hand my stay is almost gone; on the other one I do some funny things. About two weeks ago we had quite busy day. I almost finished, I had to broom and mop a floor and get rid of rubbish. I hadn’t mentioned that the door was locked when I left the kitchen with rubbish bins, so I couldn’t get back. I locked myself. The weather was horrible, I tried to knock on some doors around, but the problem was that there was only Charlie in the restaurant and he was in his office upstairs. I hoped he come soon as usual. Almost everything was done. After maybe 40 minutes Charlie saw me how I was waving on him. He was surprised and I would be happy because sometimes he finishes at 12 am he said. The next day was really funny. However I was happy that my patience is really unlimited and if I believe in something, nothing can stop me. :)

Sanna is a very interesting roommate. Time to time she cooked me something. I’m still wondering why, but I think for her it is a good way how to improve her cooking skills, because she often visits her boyfriend and according to her words he is a good cook and she wants to prepare something for him as well. I found some recipes for vegetarian lasagnas and I believe their really enjoyed that food, because Sanna cooks very well. However, she is on a diet now. A couple days ago she wanted to epilate her legs. It was really late, almost midnight. I fell asleep and when I when I woke up because of the toilet, she still kept going. She is a really precise person. :) Together we admired Fiona for her work results and we agreed that she works like two guys.

In the restaurant you can recognize that the peak season is gone. Less people, less worries and in next few days a guy from Jordan arrives and he helps in the kitchen like a cook. His visa is valid for 2 years and I believe it would be nice for all guys in the restaurant. I wish all the best all of them. Last week when I was returning back from the restaurant back at my place, I met Fiona from The Hermitage. She wasn’t drunk and the conversation was interesting. I originally thought she is from New Zealand originally, but her domestic country is Switzerland. Her father was from New Zealand and that was reason for her NZ citizenship. I had to say thank my friends who support me since we met. Without them I couldn’t be where I am (and I don’t mean Mt. Cook village or New Zealand, they know what I mean :) ). They recommended me some books I bought them for a special book reader, read very quickly and I have to say it was very useful and I’m very happy I can distinguish between important and unimportant things. When I was in Wanaka I sent a Greenstone to my friend in the Czech Republic. I’m very happy that everything was delivered without troubles. Thank you for your support and see you in next few weeks with my travelling report.

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Earthquakes, Flight of the Concords, Panda

If you read newspaper, watch TV or talk to people, it’s hardly impossible to miss that Christchurch was struck by strong earthquake and seriously damaged. There were series of quakes in a row. In September, 2010, the magnitude was 7.1, but (fortunately) nobody died. They started recovering city, the cathedral in the heart of the city was a little bit damaged, but it was possible to fix it. In next few months everything looked all right. They found some quakes, but very weak ones, the life was returning back to normal. A couple days after I left Wanaka, Christchurch was struck by earthquake again. The magnitude was lower than in September, but the epicenter was closer to the city and the result is such a catastrophe. The city is in ruins. Not everything was damaged, but it is not good at all. Lots of people passed away, the cathedral is down and according to some optimistic architects the recovery of whole city would take at least 5 years. I was talking to Bill, the driver of the Cook Connection and he thinks it would take more than 15 years and definitively things won’t be the same like before.

When I was in Prague, there was a conference about world problems and if we could afraid of some changes and unpredictable things like economic crisis or terrorist attacks for instance. There was Jaroslav Bengl, a guy who work in Google in Zurich and who is responsible for Street View implementation, the biggest photo-documentation project in the world. He said it would be useful to use those pictures in Street View if buildings are damaged by a natural disaster for example. New Zealand is in Street View as well and you can see Christchurch without any damage, but I agree with Bill, that things definitively won’t be the same. I was in YHA Mount Cook when it happened, talked to Adrian. He wanted to go to Christchurch that day. I felt some shaking and some girls asked me if it was an earthquake. I was wondering about that, because it was strange, but I said it had to be a strong wind. Sometimes when the wind is really strong, you can experience in some weak building small shaking, but not in YHA. After two hours Adrian said what happened and I thought about my friends who were there. I knew only about Kate. The extraordinary girl from England I met in Lake Tekapo and Anna from Germany. I was talking to Anna maybe 2 hours before the quake. She asked me about Mt. Cook and she wanted arrived. Our conversation finished when she was going to take a shower. The both of them were all right.

The earthquake brought a lot of troubles; it had a significant impact on tourism here, the city is seriously damaged and a lot of businesses in Christchurch are gone. I wanted to try to live there, I had an IT opportunity there, but maybe it is better I tried something different. Our village was struck by earthquake as well. On Tasman Lake about 30 000 000 tunes of ice bergs were broke. When I’m writing this article there was an earthquake in Japan as well. I was worried about Tomo. According to some statistics, that one was among ten worst quakes ever in recent history (since 1900). The 8.9 magnitude quake killed more than 100 people, but a big tsunami wave that came after that multiplied everything and the result of that disaster is a serious catastrophe. I’m really happy Tomo is all right. However, the Mother Nature could be really cruel.

Otherwise, the live here in Mt Cook village goes normal. Ama and Nic left this place at the beginning of March and the both of them were really nice guys. I liked them. The day before they left we had a small farewell party. They want to travel around New Zealand. After that Nic wants to try to find a job in France like a kayak guide and Ama wants finish her courses like a mountain guide. I wish all the best both of them. The last time I wrote about a new colleague. I didn’t know many details, but now I can say more. Her name is Johanna, she is from Sweden and she is really skilled at hospitality work. When she arrived, you could recognize she likes this kind of job and she hadn’t seen it for the first time. However, when I’m writing this article, she is going to leave. She stayed here only a few weeks. Some things in the kitchen happened as well. Because I believed in myself a little bit more than before, I helped Joe and Rebecca with some cooking tasks. Lots of fun included. Some things weren’t finished properly; time to time I prepared wrong desserts. However, I think I would be satisfied with my progress.

Because of the earthquake, Lewis with Anna returned back to Mt. Cook village for some more days, because a new term in Canterbury University stars later. It was good for us, because Lewis as well as Anna is very skilled in hospitality field and they could help us with more things. Another good thing, a new girl arrived in our village two weeks ago. Her name is Sanna and she is also from Sweden. She helps with cooking and her help is very handful. It’s quite interesting, when Nic and Ama were talking together, I could understand some things because I know a little bit French. When Sanna a Johanna talk to each other in Swedish, I understand nothing. On the other hand, their English is really great, but that’s no surprise in Nordic countries. Sanna has a boyfriend. Jamie. Third Jamie I have ever met. He is originally from England, but lives in Wanaka. I met him and he is a really nice guy.

When I returned from Wanaka I knew about Charlie’s birthday and I gave him my favorite Swiss chocolate. In next few days I found Fiona had the birthday in March, exactly two days before mine. We had a great celebration in Chamois bar. When we celebrated Fiona’s birthday, there were a lot of people and I didn’t talk to her that much I wanted. My celebration was interesting as well. Tom spread the information about that around and almost everyone wished my all the best. I had some extra break time and Charlie shared the lunch with me. I ordered a pizza and it was really delicious. When I went in restaurant, Fiona and Anna started singing and there was a visitor. A girl ate pizza. She started smiling. In the evening we went with Sanna to our favorite bar. However, we went quite late and there was only one beer for each of us.

Another night was much better and I went to Chamois bar together with Sanna and Fiona. There were much more people and we could drink more. The whole night was awesome and I really enjoyed. We had a great conversation together and in the world there’s a really beautiful that everyone has different dreams. We were talking to each other about my work, my beginnings here and some other things. After that I have to say I definitively admire Fiona, Rebecca and Joe for their daily work in the restaurant. I never forget about that conversation as well as never forget about Mt. Cook experience at all. Fiona is a really interesting woman in many aspects. She would like to visit Europe, especially some countries with a lot of culture like Italy and France. She was quite surprise when I said how many people live in Europe, 80 000 000 people in Germany for example. (AFAIK whole EU has about 500 000 000 people). We were laughing about Flight of the Concord series as well. A couple months ago Tomo said me about that, I watched some episodes and it is pretty cool. A very intelligent kind of humor about two guys from New Zealand who try achieve in New York together with their manager. A lot of nice moments include and I definitively recommend everyone this series. A short example (I don’t use subtitles, so maybe sentences aren’t 100% accurate):

Mel: “Bret, I dreamt about you again….Actually, I’m kind of angry what you did in my dream last night… Yeah, you did it too Jemaine, but you did something very nice, but Bret….I feel like silly, but you should apologize for what you did.”
Bret: “Apologize for what?”
Jemaine: “What he did do?”
(Mel is whispering Jemaine what happened)
Jemaine: “eh, oh my god, what was the last thing I did?”
(Mel is whispering Jemaine what he did)
Jemaine: “Eh, uh”
Bret: “What did I do?”
Jemaine: “I don’t wanna say that, Bret, but I think you should probably apologize.”
Bret: “I’m not gonna apologize, it was a dream.”
Jemaine: “But actually, it seemed real.”
Bret: “I apologized in your dream.”
Mel: “No, you did not.”
Bret: “It’s a shame; I didn’t apologize in your dream.”
Mel: “You’re a bastard.”
Jemaine: “You are a bastard, Bret.”
Mel: “Apologize!”
Bret: “I’m sorry!”
Mel: “Ok”
Jemaine: “I should think so!”

Our village visited a signer called Panda. Sanna just left Wanaka and he helped to drop her off in Mt Cook village when he arrived. I spent the night in Chamois Bar again. Sanna and Johanna originally went with me, Adrian from YHA had already been there and we had very nice conversation. But they left by midnight. I met there Pavel and I wanted to talk to him. I have to say that the rest of my time there was amazing. Pavel said me he doesn’t want to go back to Europe, but it looks like he has to go. According to the last earthquake in Christchurch, less tourists traveling around and The Hermitage have fewer visitors than before. There’s a complication with extending visas because they want to hire domestic people. Pavel would like to stay here, but his visa expires soon and he is not a skilled migrant. We had a really interesting conversation; he has similar opinions on some topics like me. If he has to go back, he would like to go to Canada where we can also apply for Working Holiday till 35 (by the way, there were some changes in New Zealand Working Holiday Scheme and the age limit was extended from 30 to 35 and the restriction about maximum 3 months’ work limit for one employer is history).

I met some of his friends, very nice people as well. Some of them were surprised when I said I had been living here since October, 2010 and they hadn’t met me yet. Almost everyone works for The Hermitage in various positions. I chatted to two guys from DOC as well. Whole night was really nice, especially when there were three girls who tried to help Christchurch and had some special costumes. There was Fiona, but from The Hermitage (maybe it is a popular name in English-speaking world). I wanted to talk to Pavel, but she tried to talk to us, wanted to take a photo with me because I am quite popular there. I’m the only one who buys cheese cake in their shop she said and she ordered some extra packages because of me. :) Some of Pavel’s friends were interested in some Czech phrases, impolite of course. A lot of fun included. I returned back to my place at 3 am and was really tired. I wanted to go up to Mueller Hut in the morning, the weather was amazing, but I was a little bit tired because of the last night, so I decided to go there in my next days off. Hopefully, the weather will be all right. It was a miss opportunity for me, in particular because the day before I met a really cool guy from Germany, Frankfurt am Main. His plan was to go up to Mueller Hut next day a he had to really enjoy. :)

My staying here in this village is almost past. March is my last month and on Friday, the 11th of March, started my next month in New Zealand. However, I found there is not important to plan here something, because almost everyday something should surprise you. A couple days ago a woman from an Auckland agency called me and I meet some criteria for work in a bank in BI area she said. She asked me where I am nowadays and if I’d like to continue with this occupation and how fast I’m able to go to Auckland. That’s nice, but unfortunately my work permit is almost gone, so she has to check with her client if they are willing to sponsor me. If they chose and sponsored me, it would be nice and definitively I’d like to try it if possible. However, I know I will be happy in every situation. Before I arrived in Mt. Cook I thought I vividly knew that nice and beautiful cities are the best place for me. The Mount Experience definitively persuades me that you can have a nice time everywhere, there’s only necessary to continue with things I’d like to do. Hospitality area is really enough for me. I don’t have a problem to stay here longer if the bank opportunity will work, but for me is not problem to return back to Europe and realize my projects I’d like to finish. After that I see what will be. In the world it is pretty fantastic, that you can do absolutely everything you believe in and the results will come. There’s no the one right way. However, I’d like to travel through New Zealand and you can expect some new articles and photos, very soon. So, see you soon. :)

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Beautiful Wanaka, Lake Tekapo, meet Kate

A lot of beautiful moments happened during the last week. I had three days off in a row and it was a perfect time for a small trip outside Mt. Cook village. I needed a haircut and because not many possibilities in our village as well as in Twizel I decided to go to a bigger place. Originally I wanted to go to Dunedin because I had heard a lot of nice things about this city, but there were some troubles with the connection there. Some people told me Wanaka is a very nice place. There is also a hairdresser, Nic said. Therefore my next decision was straightforward.

I know that in my workplace a lot of unpredicted moments can happen. For instance, somebody could be sick or cut his or her finger. I waited till the last moment. For me last moment for a booking is two day before the trip. Two days because you can find quite good prices and make sure about the connection. Sure, with a car a lot of things are easier. My mistake I made I didn’t buy a car at the beginning of my trip. Now I decided during my traveling I only rent a car. You can buy a cheap car, but a lot of worries about that in many fields and because nowadays I expect my next traveling through New Zealand for about 7-8 weeks, the rent possibility sounds better for me.

I went to YHA to book my trip. I told Adrian my ideas and we started with booking. I got quite good prices for bus and hostels. There were some problems with connections, but I am a very flexible guy and my mind is full of ideas, so after that everything was all right. The first part of trip was from Mt. Cook village to Twizel and from Twizel to Wanaka. The second one was from Wanaka to Lake Tekapo and from Lake Tekapo back to Mt. Cook village. I was so excited. However some troubles happened. The day before Joe cut his finger and a doctor said he should stay at home for about 2 days. It was a bad moment for leaving, I was a little bit sad, but I really needed a haircut, so I left the village according to the plan for 3 days. However, I had also some troubles during the trip from Mt. Cook to Twizel. Some Japanese guys put luggage somewhere and we waited till they found it. In Twizel, the bus had some delay. However I caught the bus. We had one stop in Omarama town. I met a really nice guy from Germany and during our trip we had a nice conversation. He went to Dunedin and recommended me ice cream in Wanaka.

Since I have arrived I was fascinated at all. Wanaka was pretty amazing. I was walking around; I saw a beautiful beach and lake. I took some photos and I was walking through the streets, tried to find YHA Purple Cow. Wanaka is a smaller town, so it wasn’t difficult. I got a really nice room with own toilets and with 6 nice girls. :) Two of them were from Denmark, two from Canada, one from England and the last one (surprisingly) from Germany. All of them were extraordinary. I had a really great conversation and I liked my roommates. English girl Gabie travelled by bicycle on the South Island. She gave me some very good advice and she was as nice as many English people I had met before, but with different interests than the others. The german girl Sarah was wondering how to get to Mt. Cook, so I gave her some advice. She found an Italian guy who was willing to drive her there and hopefully they were successful. Allegra with her sister Che from Canada (British Columbia) were the most impressive, maybe because I am really interested in Canada. :) We had a really great conversation about a lot of things. Allegra was also in Prague and with her sister there were really nice people.

When I was walking through the town I found a barber shop. I made an appointment there the next day and the rest of the current one I was walking. In one restaurant I ordered some ice cream. I said the waitress I heard they have a really good one. She was happy and gave me some extra amount. :) I wanted to relax and rest from my work. However, in the middle of town I saw some advertisement for a Falcon photo exhibition by Donna Falcon and later in YHA I heard some songs I know very well from The Old Mountaineer restaurant. :) I was walking along the beach and enjoyed the beauty. Normally I prefer cities, but the Mt. Cook and Wanaka experience persuaded me you can have a great time everywhere. I think more important than place is what kind of people you have around yourself.

I was talking to people, listened to their stories and it was really beautiful. Wanaka is a holiday resort with a very nice atmosphere all around. Quite busy, but not that much how Queenstown. Normally I could imagine staying on place like that for a long time. Unfortunately the IT industry is almost none. On the other hand you can work remotely from your home, so it is not that significant problem to stay there. The only one problem was the weather was too hot over there. I like when the weather is accurate, not too hot and not too cold. That’s reason why I prefer countries like Canada. According to the weather I had very bad sleeping, however, good experience at all. The next day I went shopping. I bought some postcard, a greenstone for my friend and a new memory card. The prices were higher than for example in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, but it was all right. More than money I prefer an experience. I visited the library and the war memorial. I saw some beautiful things. At 3 pm I went to a barber shop. My hairdresser was a pretty cool local lady, originally from the Netherlands. It was quite funny. We had a really long conversation about the cut. She prepared me some tea with some biscuits and gave me some professional advice. A complete new experience for me and with result I was very satisfied.

Because we are currently looking for people who are willing to do some kitchen work I was really active during my stay. I spread some job advertisement all around, in hostels and supermarkets. I was talking to people directly. Because I like listen to people, I usually started the conversation and when I recognize the guy is nice, I told him about the opportunity. When I was in the Information Centre I was on toilets. When I left that place I was thinking about some things. From the corner came a girl, an employee of that Information Centre. She was absolutely surprise when she saw me. I scared her and she started screaming loudly. Maybe she thought I wanted to kill her. :) However it was nice to meet her. Fortunately she didn’t see my passport photo. :)

Last day in Wanaka I bought a lot of things in New World supermarket. In my room I was packing everything when I talked to my new roommates. The both of them from the Great Britain and the both were really nice people as well. I had quite a lot of time, because the checkout was at 10 am. I sat close to the beach on a bench. There was an oldish lady. I started to talk to her and she was a really nice person. I admired her for her wisdom and energy. She was from Dunedin. If everyone in Dunedin is nice as people I have met, I must pack my luggage and move into that city. I was really happy with that, it was good reflection for me. I was wondering about some things and I recognized a really significant progress. In Wanaka I did some things simpler than before and I’m really appreciated that Charlie gave me a chance to work for him. During March, my last month in Mt. Cook, I originally wanted to plan some trees. It looked like a great idea, because Ama, Nic and Zuzka are skilled enough and they can handle those things well, much better than me. Unfortunately, Nic and Ama are leaving this place soon. It is all right, however according to this situation I proposed Charlie to help him in the restaurant in March as well, because I don’t have a problem to leave when everything is all right a people are happy, but I really understand how difficult the work in a hospitality is and as I wrote before, I really admire my colleagues for their hard working abilities. So, I don’t have problem to work for them in March as well.

From Wanaka I went to Lake Tekapo. In the bus I met a really cool girl from Spain. She works and studies in Sydney. Her father has a restaurant in Spain, but she didn’t want to work there. In Sydney she hadn’t choice. The driver dropped me close to YHA Lake Tekapo. If I can compare YHA Mt Cook, YHA Wanaka and Lake Tekapo I have to say, that I like the first two. Even though I have never slept in YHA Mt Cook, but I spend a lot of time there. However Lake Tekapo is a really nice place for living. From towns I don’t like Twizel too much, but I don’t have any problem with Wanaka and Lake Tekapo. I shared room with two beautiful girls. Kate was from England and Anni from Germany. By the way Anni is willing to work for Charlie. She loves this kind of environment and she works in Germany like a restaurant. She has some breaks when she travel and for next season she would like to spend some time in Mt. Cook village (yesterday, she visited our place, Fiona and Ama saw her). Kate surprised me and she proposed we should go to a local bar. After my late snack we went together to a local place where the main attraction was a mechanic bull and a pool table. We had a very great evening. We met a lot of nice people and had a great conversation. We played the pool as well. Kate was really skilled and I was out of practice. She tried to explain me a special shoot. I understood, but I needed more practice. :) However, she trusted me I could do it.

We drank a lot of beer. When I ordered my first jug of beer in that bar, staff was surprised, but when Kate said them that I am from the Czech Republic, everything was all right. :) I hope the Czech guys are famous here not because of drinking. I added I’m a nice guy, but that’s a common answer the waitress said. :) I tried to ride the bull. It was quite funny, I stayed there more than 1 minute and a lot of fun included. Kate was really interested in Fiji. She originally wanted to stay there for about 2 weeks, but in result she spent there almost 6 months, the maximum time for visitors and tourists. She wrote down a short message for Jovesa and I got some nice information about the Fiji. It was a nice example how beautiful is not to plan too much, just to do things and enjoy everything as much as possible. Kate was similar like my close friend Lenka, so I was happy at all.

We met some other people from Lake Tekapo. There was a Fijian chef in that bar. I guessed he was from India, but I was wrong. He had only some ancestors from there. We met some locals. There was a farmer who looked like Tomas Matanoha, quite famous person in our country, with his friend. The farmer had totally nice personality. I had never met anyone like him before. After we finished in that bar, we got in his car and relaxed with an instruction speech about the car. It was a quite old British model, but with very good condition. When I compare the Czech cars from 70s and that model, there was a big difference in favour of the British model. I came back to my room quite late, but it was very nice. There were some more people in our room, but I went directly to bed.

The next day, I was returning back to Mt. Cook village. During the trip Allan described the filming of the last part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and how there was a problem with extras for a battle, so some people in hotels had some special days off and together with visitors they went to help with. Everything was situated close to Twizel. In village I said goodbye to Lewis and Anna and everyone was surprised with my new cut. I was little bit tired because I slept only a few hours, but it was very nice. The whole trip was absolutely amazing. During last two weeks many more nice situations happened. I described my progress that I recognized in Wanaka, but it wasn’t a coincidence. Time to time Joe ask me if I still enjoy the work. My answer is either yes or it depends. And really, if someone is in a learning process and is making mistakes (that’s necessary to make, you can avoid them in next time and really learn anything), his mind is different than in situations when has some new skills that use with confidence. In first months I experienced some really difficult moments when I wasn’t sure with a lot of things. However, nowadays everything is much better and my answer for Joe could be, the more confident I am, the more enjoyable the work for them is. That’s true. I can handle much more things than before and I’m really satisfied with myself. I hope we will find anyone who is willing to cook.

When I was in Wellington, my friend from Germany, who is a chef in Te Papa National Museum, told me, that in a luxury hotel when he used to work before, they had a lot of requirements for the chefs, but the salaries were very low and for many of people this kind of work isn’t that attractive. I know it could be a little problem to find anyone, but I’m still an optimist. A good thing is we have some new staff, a very skilled girl. She will be a waitress. Because I feel more confident, time to time I don’t have problem to help Joe and Rebecca with cooking. Even though I don’t know how to prepare some things and my cutting is a comedy sometimes, I believe I can handle this. An impulse for me was the moment when Ama could prepare fish and chips. She took a fish from the freezer and after that she put the fish on a grill and left the kitchen. I was preparing some pizzas and when I saw what happened I decided to help. Fortunately, the result was all right and I was really happy.

I saw some Kea parrots, the sat down on the roof of the Hermitage Hotel. I was talking to my friends from Czech Republic and Poland as well and it was really nice. I definitively decided to come back in June, 2011. I rebook the flight ticket for that month, but I don’t tell the date, because it must be surprise. :) I’d like to continue with things that are quite important for me. After that I try to apply for something. However, I am a very happy guy because a lot of very nice people are around me. So, I’m quite excited what will be. Till that date I try to enjoy my time here as much as possible. Spend all my money for travelling and return with some beautiful experience, especially from the South Island that is a really beautiful place.

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