Travel.P #8 – Bonjour Akaora


“I don’t want to know what time it is. I don’t want to know what day it is or where I am. None of that matters.” 

Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Parting from the farm, was an exciting day for me, because I left my home, the place where I cooked and slept for the the last three and a half month and was facing the open world. There was a nice line, that impressed me in the book ‘Into The Wild’ about leaving, when I recapture and reconstruct it, it says that leaving is never easy, but after you leave, all the opportunities – the whole world, is open to you again. Leaving in my eyes is not easy, especially if you form deep bonds. I just left New Zealand and with New Zealand, bonds of love and friendship were geographical
torn apart.

But it is worth the pain, it is worth to completely embrace the situation you are in and feel all the beautiful moments, even if you know you will leave this beautiful situation at some point. That’s why I am not a big fan of social of smartphones, because they trigger you to reach out to friends and check on things, that disturb you flow of these situations. Ones I sat down in quiet and thought about if it is really worth it, to spend all your energy and heart into something, that will perish or dissolve in the end and I found for myself that it is worth is. It is like our live just in a smaller scale, we live and try to live the whole thing and we spend all our energy into it, knowing that we leave in the end and can’t take anything with us.

View from the dock in Akaora

While I was living on the farm, I planed my travels a bit, places and points that I would like to pass and things that I would like to do. I looked at that list around five times during my travels. It is nice to have a plan, but in the end it is almost always different, which is great!

Equipped with a small plan, I left 40 km north to Christchurch to hang out with some Argentinian friends, one guy that I met in Haka Lodge in Auckland. His name is Pelito and he is a great guy, currently working in California, haha. We spend a day together, the day I discovered Mate for me. Following I will explain the Mate rules, that I got taught from Argentinians of São Paulo: Mate is prepared by filling a container, in my case an old pumpkin shell in the size of a 250ml cup, up to three quarters full, in a slight angle away from the metal straw (bombilla), with dry leaves of the mate plant. After adding hot but not boiling water (80 °C) over the site where the there are less mate leaves, you wait a bit and empty your cup trough the straw. When you return it an say thank you, that shows the guy who tops up and got the boiling water, you had enough and don’t want anymore. After refilling and passing to the next person until the taste is gone, it is a social practice from people of all age in South America. Because I was so interested in this practice, Pellito gave me my own bombilla, and later in Blenheim, I finally got my own mate cup.

Mate

He and his friends told me to go to Akaora, so my next destination was set, just next to Christchurch. ‘Akaroa’ is Kai TahuMaori and stands for ‘long harbour’. It is placed on a sheltered harbor, surrounded by the remnants of a volcano, except for a small gap where the town is connected through the bay to the wide Pacific Ocean. I wasn’t really a fan of Christchurch, I found it ugly and not peaceful and was happy that I found the opposite in Akaroa.

Approaching it over the hills through HW75, with a wide view of the bay, I was impressed by it’s simple beauty. Shimmering turquoise water, with golden reflecting sun bits. Unspoiled in comparison to Christchurch. Green hills and small group of houses at the shores of the bay. Driving around the bay, passing a couple small towns, I came closer to Akaroa. Without a plan I simply went through the french settlement and spent some time at the dock. It was not too touristic during the time I when I was there, considering that there was a cruise ship anchored in Akaroa. Surrounded by french vibes and flags, I found that my favorite place was the french bakery in town. Spending my evening at the beach, a group of french invited me over for a beer and later to their hostel, ‘Bon Acoord’, I loved this place.

one of les Arthures in Bon Accord

Sleeping in my van, I kind of lived for free, showered and cooked in the hostel but didn’t sleep there. After a day helping out to redesign the garden for around eight hours, I was allowed to stay two days for free. That was great from the managers of the hostel since I helped unconditional and just I enjoyed helping my friend Gabi. In Bon Acoord we had some fun evenings, where we ended up at the french bakery and the dock at night, watching the stars and eating warm croissants with nutella, really just made by the baker, who was living in the hostel as well.

Bon Accord Backpackers

A nice hike I did was the ‘Skyline Circuit’, a beautiful hike with the view over the bay of Akaroa and on the other side the Pacific Ocean. I was surrounded by yellow flowers and their smell. The hike was not too hard, even thought it was boiling hot, and I had some lovely breaks under trees, where I even fell asleep at one point.

View from Storry Bay Peak

After four days and a good time with new friends, I left Akaora to continue my travels southwards. Together with another friend from Haka Lodge,Lean, who just quit his job, like me.

Still in Melbourne and with itchy feet, to move on I finished Travel.P #8, I am looking forward to leave, but also feel sad because the place where I am volunteering is great. I will make my choice in the near future.

The next time I will tell you about my travels with Lean, my other friend from Argentina. The beauty of the country of New Zealand and spots that we enjoyed.

Why don’t go outside today, maybe barefoot and get in all the smells and feelings around you and your feet.

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