Tag Archives: town hall

New Zealand, 2004

It was a last minute decision to go to New Zealand for Christmas with my friend who had family to visit there. The chance to visit a new country was too hard to resist and I figured my family wouldn’t mind as I had been overseas for Christmas before.

We landed in Auckland on Christmas Eve and it was dead. I expected it to be one of the most happening nights of the year, but I was wrong. Auckland turned out to be a pretty harbour city like Sydney, but about 20 years behind!

I saw the town hall, went up the Sky Tower and went to Mission Bay. Viaduct harbour was definitely the highlight for me as it had lots of waterfront bars and restaurants to enjoy with a view of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

We drove to Rotorua which was smelly due to the thermal springs, but you got used to it after a while. We visited Whakarewarewa thermal village which had the Te Aronui a Rua Maori cultural centre. We saw the Nga Mokai Akoko mud pool and the beautifully blue coloured Waiparu hot pool. The best bit was when the Pohutu Geyser sprayed water high into the air.

The next day we went to Lake Rotowhero which is warmed by thermal activity and the enormous Lake Rotorua. We caught the Skyline Rotorua gondola to the top of a Mount Ngongotaha and had a scary luge ride back down.

There were lots of sheep in green fields to be seen on the drive back to Auckland to catch our flight home. On the way, I went clay bird shooting for the one and only time I have ever shot a gun. It was harder than I thought and I got a strange muscle injury in my right shoulder that served as a reminder of my trip until it was cured by an acupuncturist a few years later.

Related posts: Canada 1997-1988, India 1987-1988, Part 1: The Road South

Belgium, 1997

Sarah and I arrived in Antwerp and to see the huge Cathedral of Our Lady which was an overwhelming sight. I don’t think I had ever seen a cathedral that big before.

We strolled through the famous Grote Markt to the Brabo fountain.

In Brussels, we stayed in a tall house with friends of our friends from Zwagg. They took us to the Hotel de Ville (town hall) and the Brewers buildings in the Grand Palace for a cheery beer at the King of Spain. The first of many different flavoured beers that we tried in Belgium.

The famous Manneken Pis was so small that we almost missed him as we walked through the town square and we rubbed the Everard ‘t Serclaes for luck.

We visited the bizarre Atonium in Bruparck- a monument to the discovery of the atom which was shaped like an atom. The grounds had a miniature Europe, which looked even smaller from the top of the monument.

Whenever I go to a new city, I always like to go to a high viewpoint so I can get an idea of the layout of the place. So when we travelled to Brugge- a miniature city surrounded by canals- we climbed the 366 steps up the Belfry to the carillon bells. Nothing but flat land and orange rooves as far as the eye could see.

We found the Church of Our Lady with it’s a famous marble statue of Madonna and Child.

Every town in Belgium seemed to have a town square with town hall and a tall church.

We had our fill of waffles and headed from the small country of Belgium to the big city of Paris.

Related posts: Holland, 1997, England, 1997, I first started travelling, By special request, Home is where you make it, I first started writing