For the final part of my adventure, I went to Wellington in New Zealand, followed by San Francisco before the long (mental) journey home. Wellington was quickly christened Windy Welly and it was definitely felt by yours truly, who was used to the desert heat of Darwin! But shivering aside, I took to the city instantly. It's a small place and easy to get around and there is a nice laid back vibe to it. It has a bit of an alternative flavour to it, and one of my favourite things to do was to people watch in Cuba Street among the cafes and quirky shops there. I got to NZ at the start of the rugby world cup and went to New Plymouth to watch the first Irish game. My mode of transport/accommodation waaas....a camper van! But this was by no means slumming it, no siree. This was a luxury camper van, complete with a mini kitchen and shower n'all n'annyways. Although we avoided using the toilet when we learned that we would be cleaning the, errrrrr, contents. Fail. The match was great but the atmosphere better, and being among a heap of celebratory paddies was a great way to end my too-short visit to New Zealand.
My next stop was San Francisco, a place that I would recommend anyone going to should they get half the chance. It's Californian without being pretentious, and the city is beautiful. There is so much to see - Alcatraz, the Golden Gate, the Redwood forests are an hour away as too are the wine regions. After taking a trip to Soma Valley and spending the day wine tasting (hic) I now know that I don't dislike Chardonnay as I had previously thought, just the cheap stuff. In case it's your round. Just spending time walking around the city is great but bring the walking shoes! Some hills are so steep you're practically horizontal walking down or up them.Don't attempt post-wine tasting. I would go back there in a heartbeat.
After that, the next stop was home. Home is the same, but I feel different. I don't know how I can't quite place my finger on it. It's lovely being back and seeing everyone and everything I missed so much. I missed my friends and family of course, but I missed the little things too, the unexpected things, and it's nice to walk the streets of my city again. I feel back in a welcome cocoon of the familiar, and for the next few weeks while I'm re-adjusting I'm happy to hibernate and just be for a while. No plans. Kinda scary in one way but if I've learned anything in the past year it's this; just roll with it. So I'm rolling with it. But something tells me that travel bug hasn't finished biting just yet...XXX