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City break at the hipsterish Wellington a.k.a Windy Wellington

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on
March 23, 2018

New Zealand’s windiest city – the lovely hipsterish Wellington was where we spent our next 3 days after Christmas. To sum up our short stay in Wellington – hipster vibe all around with all the cafes, craft beer quirky bars, skaters in the streets, beautiful coastline, and extreme winds all the time. We have spent our days in Wellington wandering the streets, dying my hair blue (wanted to do that for a really long time), pub crawling through craft beer venues with travelers we’ve met up with and by some chance ending up with tequila shots at The Establishment (definitely  place not of our choice, but in its own way it was fun and reminded of Erasmus times), exploring some cafes and Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand), driving the coastline as well as hiding in our not so nice (to put it nicely) hostel as being out we were spending way too much and having unlimited wi-fi is a rare thing in this country.

Some interesting facts about hipsterish Wellington

  1. Wellington is actually the third and current capital of New Zealand. It replaced Auckland in 1865. Travel to and from Parliament in Auckland was very difficult and it took the members from far south at least 2 months to get there, so more central capital location was desired and needed to avoid the South Island becoming a separate colony. (By the way, the first capital was Okiato or Old Russel in the Bay of Islands between 1840-41).
  2. Wellington is the southernmost capital in the world.
  3. Legend has it that Wellington’s well-known Parliament building, the Beehive, was actually sketched as a joke. While some say the architect’s paper of choice was a napkin, others claim it was drawn on a cigarette packet.
  4. There are plenty of houses on hilltops of Wellington that do not have road access, therefore, can only be accessed by private cable cars, which can carry up to 2 passengers per journey. If you make any friends from top of the hill, you might even get to enjoy the ride if invited to dinner.
  5. Mount Victoria tunnel is also known as the honking tunnel for it is the only tunnel in New Zealand where drivers can honk their car in celebration of the working week’s end. The first time we went through there we couldn’t understand the reason of honking and though it was due to the lights switched on. Well, how wrong we really were. Apparently, the honking starts already around Wednesday afternoon but the peak of it is Friday 5 PM – on the way home from work.
  6. Wellingtonians love their coffee and with quality cafes at every corner, they take pride in being named as one of top 8 international coffee destinations by CNN.
  7. Wellington is also known as New Zealand’s capital of craft beer and is well known abroad for the variety of interesting brews. With new craft beer microbrewery opening up every week it is a must-visit destination for every craft beer lover. Wellington is also a home to a last year’s SOBA award winner brewery – Garage Project as well as the runner-up – Panhead. If feeling adventures enough, try and complete a self-guided Wellington’s trail exploring plenty of craft beer venues and bars (http://craftbeercapital.com/). So far we’ve managed to try out the Rogue & Vagabond, Little Beer Quarter and Golding’s Free Dive, so still have quite a lot to go.
  8.  Here’s another fun fact – only now writing this post I’ve realized we have been enjoying Wellington so much ourselves, we forgot to take any photos…

Best Ugly Bagels

Speaking of those cafes, let me tell you about the most delicious bagels ever at Best Ugly Bagels (expensive but so much worth it). Well, Best Ugly Bagels is definitely one of those hipster places, where we happened to be during Saturday brunch together with a bunch of people coming in to heal their Friday night’s hangover with good coffee and delicious bagels. Not only the food and coffee are great, but the vibe is amazing as the bagels are freshly baked right in front your eyes by a big crew of guys who just seems to be enjoying themselves and what they do. One thing some like, some hate that definitely gives an extra to the atmosphere is the staff shouting your order out loud. The member taking your order shouts it out loud to which all the staff responds by echoing the shout. I personally loved that aspect, but I guess spending more time at the place, or working there the constant shout outs may get on your nerves.

Sweet Mother’s Kitchen

Oh sweet mother, what an incredible find it is. A true gem in a middle of busy Wellington CBD. It really is a busy little cafe at the end of a Courtney street. At first, we walked in a bit wary since it seems quite too crowded and too busy and we were looking for a place to settle for a few hours enjoying slow brunch and internet for updating the blog and stuff. Lucky for us, we soon found a perfect spot by the bar at the corner even with a power socket to plug in our laptops and dived into the lively yet homy cafe’s atmosphere. Not to mention the breakfast burrito, waffles and coffee were exactly what we needed after a few too many drinks last night. Anyways, if you’re looking for a lovely place to settle for a few hours, Sweet Mother’s Kitchen is just the right spot for perfect meals and coffee. Just be considerate and make sure to settle at the counter instead of occupying a big table, since it really is a very busy place (at least during weekends).

By the way, you realize how mainstream the crypto became when sitting at the counter you hear your waitress chitchatting with one of the regulars about their bitcoin investments. Well, bitcoin is the future they say. 🙂

Wellington coastline drive

Despite all the cafes and city life vibes, in my opinion, the no. 1 must do in Wellington is definitely the coastline drive. Just start anywhere in the city center by the shore and drive all the way following the highway to Petone and the road by the shore until the very end of the road. The road still continues (should continue to the very end point) which can be walked by foot or tackled with a bike, but it was extremely windy that day and we chose to drive back the same route to the city instead (so windy it was hard keeping your eyes open to enjoy the view without crying). On our second visit to Wellington later we found out the coast ride to another side all along Maupuia and Karaka Bays might be even more spectacular, but I’ll let you decide that for yourself.

Still got it stories - travel blog New Zealand

That is how windy Wellington is (on a calm day)

If not the wind, I think Wellington would be my favorite city in New Zealand (well, or maybe even with the wind it still is my favorite city in New Zealand). However beautiful Wellington was, the time had come to an end for our city break as we crossed the Cook Strait for new adventures that the South Island and New Years had been bearing for us. More on that look forward to our next travel blog post!

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Ruta & Algirdas
Vietnam

We're Ruta & Algirdas - storytellers, world travelers, photography and filmmaking enthusiasts. Our best days are spent admiring planet Earth - exploring, tasting, breathing in all it has to offer. Now, after a year spent living van life in New Zealand, we're enjoying the hustle and bustle of Vietnam. Packing bags and embarking on an adventure is easier than it may seem - just have the courage.

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  • Few days ago I found my teenage years' online diaries and had some fun reading together with @al.got.stories . Felt so weird reading those texts and hardly remembering I ever wrote them. Weirdest thing, even though thoughts are funny in they way I presented, I realize the core of questioning one's purpose and existence haven't changed that much since then. I laughed and cried while reading and trying to remember what was it like to be myself as a teenager. 
Have you ever kept a diary? If so, do you ever read those old entries and how does it make you feel?
  • When I sit down to look back on 2018, it was quite a year... the best year ever in our lives to be exact! Let's see about it:
Last year was the year we lived in our van roaming all around New Zealand; it was the year we got engaged at Arthur's Pass, the year we went caving through the enclosed cave river and saw enourmus caves full of glowworms, camped out in secluded beaches and enjoyed many nights under vast sky full of stars; it was the year we jumped butt-naked into waterfalls, hiked through mountains and bushes and it was the year we almost died in the mountains after an unpredicted weather shift but survived to tell an incredible story of the Holdsworth - Jumbo Pass; it was the year we shifted from our office jobs to taking on a challenge of picking kiwifruit for 3 months and so, it was the year I lost 10kg. It definitely was the year we learnt saving money and living on a tight budget but been happiest we've ever been. It was the year we went oyster picking on the beach and fishing for snappers with a boat with most incredible kiwi people (thank you Fran, Bill and Doug). It was the year we missed our families and friends incredibly but found unexpected friendships for life away from home! It was the year we fell in love with all those cute doggies while housesitting and taking care of them - 💚Annie, Dash, Yuki and Bonnie💚 and became obsessed with dogs. It was the year we had to say goodbye to our beloved NZ, visited Sydney (and it was love at first sight) and moved to Vietnam for a few months. Well it sure was a perfect year to say the least. 
Let's see what 2019 has in store for us!

By the way, @al.got.stories and I got engaged exactly one year ago!

P.S. stay tuned as Algirdas has finally started putting together our videos from the past year and we'll be launching a YouTube channel soon!
  • I feel a bit burnt out today and all on my mind is just food - as in what can I still eat on our last day in Dalat 🤣 
Anyways, with 2019 approaching, what are your plans for NYE?
  • So it has already been a month since we landed in Vietnam, though I haven't been taking that many photos as I'm still a bit cautious about pulling my camera out in a public as well as taking photos of poeple without asking them (with language barrier it can be quite tricky). This one though was actually one of our first mornings when we got out into district 10 in Saigon for some delicious Bo Ne breakfast. Not only the food was super yummy and cheap but the surrounding streets were really lovely to wander around and get lost. It really is so cool getting out of touristy center and discovering the real life of Saigon.
Do you ever do that in new locations - purposefully getting lost in a city and just wandering without looking at any maps? 
I think it is hands down the best way to feel and see the place. What's your favorite way for discovering new places?

P.S. if you want the name of the place for Bo Ne, DM me and I'll share it with you!
  • Merry Christmas everyone! This year we celebrate Christmas with flowers and colours of Dalat instead of white snow back at home. And as beautiful and lovely as it is here, I can't help but especially miss home today with our families and friends enjoying white Christmas and those delicious deep-fried mushroom pies we call 'ausytes' (little ears) that my mom and sisters made. I think Christmas is pretty much the only day in a year I actually want to have snow and the only day I feel guilty for travelling. Anyway, two Christmas spent away from home is hard enough and for the next one I promise I'll be back home! As for all of you guys, first, I really want to thank you for following our journeys wherever they take us, reading all of my posts (or not), as well as thank you for all the nice wishes you've sent us! Secondly, I wish you all to find some peace in your mind and in your heart and share the happiness with others! Merry holidays 🎅🤶 P.s. Even though it is not a religious celebration in Vietnam, Vietnamese love celebrating Christmas and do so on 24th - Christmas Eve 🤗
  • Who could have thought one can find such beautiful Italian gardens  not just in Italy but in New Zealand as well! Have you visited Hamilton's gardens already?

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