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Wellington - The Kiwi Hospitality in Upper Hutt

Nya Zeeland (Wellington) 2006-02-22

Dear Friends!

And specially Hellen and Philip Swales! - How can we say Thank You? You are wonderful!

From left to right: Brian (BOS), Hellen, Philip, EvAnders and Ann in Upper Hutt. Click to enlarge.We have stayed one week in the "Swales Villa" just relaxing, enjoying and recharged ALL our batteries. A wonderful breather in our life’s as "Professional Tourists”. No queue to the toilet and shower (or Jacuzzi), a big COMFORTABLE bed, Internet and broadband just in our own part of the house, song of the Cicadas for breakfast and for the dinner often made by Hellen (she is fantastic- a past in the restaurant business), really nice New Zealand wines and the best of all, spend time with two such open minded, warm-hearted (how do You say that in English?) dear friends! WOW!!!!!!

Of course Philip picked us up when the Ferry arrived in Wellington and showed us the way home to Upper Hutt where Hellen had prepared a Welcome dinner with some very good wines. New Zealand is really a good wine country, didn't know that before.

And yes, we changed our green rental car into a red one (see picture), but unfortunately we had to change it back because there were no space for the backpacks....:-((

During our first day in our "new home" we didn't even leave the house!! Oh, dear did we enjoy! Well, You cannot just stay at home, we have also played two rounds of golf, a looong visit in THE museum, visited friends of Hellen and Philip, had dinner with Hellens father, been Body pumping (well, only Eva) and Eva has cut her hair!!

The first game of golf we played at Te Maura on a Friday and guess what? Luckily for us they had a special price on Fridays; we only had to pay 2x13 USD! A lovely course and Eva played really good and beat Anders with 4/2!! Philip had with this special kind of NZ (Kiwi) hospitality of course lent us two sets of golf clubs and fully equipped bags!

We had a BBQ that night together with a colleague of Philip (and Anders) from Unisys: Brian O'Sullivan (BOS) and his lovely wife Ann. We had such a nice evening, a lot of laughter and wines! We decided to play golf on Monday again, this time with Brian and another (former) colleague from Unisys, John O'Leary. This time at Wainuiomata Golf course, really nice and it was even until the last hole - Eva makes a two meter put to share the match!!

We ended this day having a nice dinner at Brian and Ann’s house. Hellen has been taking the day off (whole Monday) just to be able to serve us, You're the best!! First Hellen and Eva went to the Gym and Body pump, then Hellen invited Eva for a cup of coffee before the appointment with the hairdresser and back home again to catch Anders and drove us to the golf course, puh!

Ok, we had also been visiting THE museum, Te Papa, where we spent several hours. The Maori culture is increasing in NZ. More and more people do speak and understand Maori, it is the second language in many schools an in some primary schools they teach only in Maori. The Maori people where the first to arrive to NZ in big canoes from Polynesia. Nowadays their are no 100% Maori left, they are all "blended" with mostly European people.

We could have spent many days in Te Papa, but "duty calls", *smile*, and we had to come home for dinner *smile*. This Saturday evening Hellens sister, Hine and niece, Jade, were joining us and they make sure that we had even more culture. We saw the movie: Whale Rider. Have you seen it? Please do! It is really awesome and it shows much of the Maori culture.

This Sunday we did Wellington. Starting up with a wonderful Brunch in the sunshine at the waterfront. Then Hellen took us up on the hills so we could see Wellington from above on two sides. Beautiful! From the Botanic garden and "Wellington cable car" we had a lovely view overlooking the harbor and the start of the Volvo Ocean Race with next destination Rio de Janeiro!

We had an early Sunday dinner at Hellens fathers house (Pa lives also in Upper Hutt). Anders tired out Oscar (Pa's dog) or maybe it was the other way around..............The ball is in the garden of his neighbors..........what to do?? And then........... Finally we took the time to watch the four hour extended version of Lord of the Ring. And.......we have been there!!!! It is very nice to se the movies while we are in the right environment.

As we said it has been a wonderful week and Dear Hellen and Philip: We didn't planed to stay a whole week...but You two are more than............Don't know what to say......just Simply the Best and the way You have opened up Your house?! You have really made us feel like thousand of millions of THANK YOU!!!! And You are always very Welcome to join us in Sweden!

Today (Wednesday) we are heading for Napier (with all our clothes cleaned, loaded batteries and a picnic-lunch) and then further north along the east coast.

Arohanui (With love)


PS Imagine that all our new friends (that we met during this trip) will visit us in Sweden at the some time......such a party!.......but the accommodation will probably be more like a Hostel with bunk beds than a Hotel with private bathroom. And...our friends from home would join us for dinner so You all can come together. WOW!!