Well, I left Wellington reluctantly and headed to Napier. I say reluctantly, but really, what could have topped meeting Alan Lee?!
Anyway, I headed to Napier after Wellington. I had wanted to go back there and do the Art Deco guided tour. A friend of mine, Jan and I, did the self guided tour the last time we were here and missed out on the history and background of it all. This time it was much better. It was a good tour. Napier was totally obliterated in the earthquake of 1931. The town was rebuilt in two years and with the Art Deco theme. They used patterns like the Ziggurat motif, which is like steps going upward. They used this pattern a lot in the States. The Americans, at that time, were told to use the Ziggurat motif, which allows more sunlight to reach street level, like the Chrysler Building in New York. There was also the Zig Zag, the Sunburst, Spanish Mission style with Maori motifs, Spanish Maya style and they used pastel colours, which really brightens up the buildings. Even in their light fittings, it was common to use neon lights etc. So they used all of these techniques in Napier. I really like Art Deco style, so it was lovely to see all these buildings properly this time. www.artdeconapier.com
I had met a South African woman, called Lucette, on the bus to Napier, who was working in Napier but trying to find a job in Wellington, so she could be with her husband and 2 sons. I met up with her and her friend Jen that evening, to go to dinner and they showed me parts of Napier which I never would have seen myself without a car. After dinner, I walked over to see the Art Deco fountain, which is lit up at night, with different colours and it’s right beside the statue “Pania of the Reef”. The last time I was here, Pania had been stolen. But they found it and it was put back in it’s rightful spot, a short while later. They just had to glue her broken feather back on and she was as right as rain. Everybody climbs up on Pania and sits on her lap, to get their photo taken, so this Napier woman at the fountain told me, so I did the same.
The next morning too, Jen drove me up to Te Mata Peak, which is about 30 minute’s drive from Napier. Gosh it was lovely up there but extremely windy. It definitely blew out a few of the cobwebs! She dropped me off at the bus stop, as I was heading to Rotorua. For these two months, I travelled everywhere by Intercity busses. It was an excellent service and good timing for me, as it was off season, so not too busy. Because I get motion sickness, every time I travel by bus, I had to try and get myself a front seat, to be able to see where I was going. This was Wednesday and there had been reports on the news, that the road from Napier to Taupo was closed because of bad snow in Taupo. The road had been closed since Sunday, so there had been no bus service for the last 3 days and it was also during the kid’s school holidays, so today, there were a LOT of people waiting for the bus! So, for me to be able to get a front seat, I had to make sure that I was at the front of the line. It was first come, first serve! They had made announcements that everybody had to have their luggage correctly labelled. I was one of the first in line to get my luggage on the bus but did I have my bag labelled correctly…..No! I got told off for it, by the bus driver, but I wasn’t going to go to the back of the queue. So, I got myself a seat where I could see out and I was happy.
I really commend the Intercity bus service. I found them to be very punctual, with very friendly drivers. In the South Island, every bus driver gave a historical and local commentary on most of the well known towns/cities that we went through. I really liked that, because it gave us more local information than we would ever find in a book. It was very interesting. We also had a driver who kept saying “Righteo” through most of the commentary. It put a smile on my face! We only had that commentary in the South Island and my question is, why didn’t we get that in the North Island? None of the drivers of the Intercity buses, apart from the Coromandel Peninsula, gave the commentary. I missed it, I must say.