Monday, March 22, 2010

Windy Welly

The old Parliament House is on the right. The new beehive parliament office building on the left.

They don't call it windy Welly for nothing. We had wind gusts to 75 miles an hour today and grey skies. There were times when we leaned into the wind to stand up, and times when we grabbed the traffic light posts to keep from being whisked away. Amazing.
This fish sculpture is down near the harbour. You can see the man struggling up the steps. We were struggling right behind.

Wellington is a city with a sense of humor and a great respect and support for the arts. The column on the left is a piece of sculpture. It might have been blown over by the wind. It just looks as if it's the remains of ancient Pompeii. Many of the sculptures in public places are whimisical and intriguing. One we noticed yesterday consisted of a number of huge multi-colored cups that filled with water and emptied into each other in a random pattern. There are four major theatres (not cinemas), in a city of 170,000. Eilene, you should see the fashions, both on the street and in the shop windows. Incredibly innovative.

The beehive building on the left is the new (1992) office building for the parliament. We had a great tour of the new and old parliament buildings, all of which were re-engineered in the same year to with-stand earth quakes. They lie on a major fault line. We felt safe while in the buildings. Coming home was something else.

We also visited old St. Paul's cathedral which was built in 1865 of local timbers in the Gothic style. It is still consecrated but only used for weddings and funerals, no services. It is remarkable there is a US flag hung from the arches there, and a US marine flag, because during WWII American troops were sent to Wellington to protect the citizens from attack. There were several thousand marines stationed here while the Kiwi troops were sent to the allied front. The Kiwis have never forgotten the "sons" of the US who came here. It was impressive to see the flags still displayed, the one with only 48 stars.

We had lunch at Pravda, a lovely restaurant in the center of of the city. Our waitress, Caitlyn, is from the US (California) and attended the College of Charleston! She has received a permanent residency in NZ because she has a Kiwi partner. Good girl. Good decision.

Bought our dinner at New World Market, a huge grocery store 2 blocks from our hotel. It's so nice to come home to our own space and be able to eat-in, no matter that there are great restaurants within blocks. It's still windy tonight, but predicted to be sunny tomorrow.
Great and interesting city. Don't particularly enjoy the windy-bits.

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