February 10, 2011
We arrived at 7am in Auckland, New Zealand, having slept wonderfully well. CruiseGran and I shared a Mercedes car trip to the Sky City Grand Hotel. Our room was not ready at such an early hour, so we checked our hand luggage, made sure Jane’s luggage (which had been sent on earlier) would be delivered that day, collected the other four (who arrived by separate cars) and went in search of the hop-on, hop-off city bus tour.
Looking up--the Sky City Casino and Hotel -complete with bungee jumping!
Andi and CruiseGran waiting for the bus
Another tour company, not ours.
At Parnell Street, which is such a LOVELY shopping area...
...we got off the bus and while Bill went to reconfirm our dinner reservations, we found Jane’s “old favorite” purse place, Gerrard’s. (My mom has a favorite shop of some sort in every port, I think.....) She bought a purse that had just been unpacked. It didn’t even make it to the store shelves.
We had lunch at a wonderful bistro La Bocca. My gnocchi in tomato cream sauce was wonderful, as was the wine- of course, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
After lunch, we needed to stretch our legs, and hiked uphill to the Auckland Museum to see the Maori Cultural performance at 1:30. Really cool architecture!
Very interesting and well done. Everyone wanted photos with the Maori warriors.
Then, we did the “hopping on” thing again, and headed back to the hotel. The rooms were ready, with spectacular views.
We met for drinks in the downstairs bar...
(oh, come on...like this is a surprise??)
Bill had arranged dinner that night at Antoine's. It was the 50th anniversary of Suzanne and his first date. (Now, I ask you, what kinda guy could remember a thing like that?) Started with champagne,
Note the surprised look on Jane's face at the mention of the 50th anniversary of the first date!
... then fresh oysters, both raw and tempura’ed. Huge. Delicious. Very briny.
A salad of baby greens and white anchovies came next. Then a venison loin in a berry demiglace sauce with a touch of chocolate. Delicious. It was so good, I forgot to take a photo. Oh, and red wine- a pinot noir, I think.
Well, after a celebration like that, there was no excuse for not drifting off to sleep to prepare for some winery tours the next day!