On the day before Easter we decided to give our legs some exercise and get acquainted with downtown Wellington. Our first stop a few blocks from our hotel would be somewhere on Courtenay Place, Wellington’s restaurant row, for breakfast. We passed a supermarket along the way that was closed yesterday but buzzing with traffic today — a good sign that we would find more open doors today than on Good Friday.
There must be 20 restaurants in the first couple of blocks of Courtenay Place. Some were closed; others deserted. In fact there was only one place that was crowded as we saw people standing around waiting for tables. The food must be good, we thought, and we headed for Sweet Mother’s Kitchen. The wait was 10 or 15 minutes for most people but for us less than five. The average age of the clientele was about 30 and maybe I looked rather decrepit. Or maybe someone liked my Giants cap. Whatever the case, we got a table and sat down for some delicious coffee and tasty ham and egg wraps. We struck up a conversation with the couple next to us and were surprised to discover that the guy who sounded like a Kiwi was actually from northern California, too. He told us that he went to New Zealand for a visit about ten years ago, met his girl (pointing to his other half), and he’s still here!
After breakfast we strolled down Courtenay Place to Dixon Street and soon came upon the Cuba Street Mall, the city’s funky nightlife region that during the day is a popular browsing spot for both local residents and tourists.
I decided to visit Te Papa again while my wife did some grocery shopping at the supermarket a block away. I didn’t have time the day before to see the special exhibit on the fifth floor on Brian Brake’s photography. Brake was a famous photographer for Life Magazine in the 40s, 50s and 60s. I enjoyed the exhibit but no one was allowed to take photos. I checked in the gift shop on the first floor for a souvenir on Brake but the book weighed 20 pounds and cost 99 dollars. That would leave my luggage too heavy and my wallet too light!
Our walk today turned out to be the longest of our vacation. We dined at our hotel’s seventh floor lounge and hit the hay early, tired but happy.