In the past I have sent my friends Travel Bulletins but have now decided rather than cloggingn their Inboxes just to tell them when I have posted and update to this Blog in which I intend to post accounts of my travels and some pictures as I go. I write now from Rothesay Bay on the North Shore not far from Auckland where I am staying with kind hosts Murray and Tricia Smith .
I am saying little about my various hosts in this Blogand and I hope not too much about myself. I try to write like a travel correspondent describing particular places and incidents which strike me as of interest. Comments are welcome, especially corrections from people who actually know about places and things on which I comment superficially.
I pass over getting here via Sydney which was boring and tedious. I had a day in Sydney, tired and with cool, gloomy, foggy and wet weather. I had had in mind to take the ferry to Manly Beach where I have been before and to contemplate the blue Tasman Sea while I ate seafood salad with perhaps a glass of something to drink. No luck, so on to Auckland where Immigration and Customs took an hour and I was lucky still to be able to pick my rental car and drive through Auckland for an hour to my kind friends Murray and Tricia Smith who are putting me up for the weekend in their agreeable house overlooking the wide Pacific.
It is after a long hot summer today cool and wet. The Pacific looks rather less inviting than Weymouth Bay. The glamorous photographs I hoped to add are not avaialble just now.
The North Shore contains a string of attractive outer suburbs along the East Coast north of Auckland, across the Harbour inlet south of which the main city lies. I suggest Google Maps or Google Earth to see what it is all like. The coast road winds up and over headlands and down into valleys, all once covered with dense Bush, but now with attractive houses, timber-built, shopping centres and a beach for each bay.
Commuting into Auckland is inland to the Motorway and then south over the Harbour Bridge - five lanes, one of which is reversible, and still a bottle-neck. Along the Motorway there is Park and Ride for bus services with reseved lanes into town. Not the country for a suburban railway up and down hill.
All the Media and indeed everybody in Australia of course at the moment is talking about the Bush fires and the shocking loss of life in places which might have been expected to be peaceful and untroubled by the problems of the world. The concern has spread across the Tasman Sea to NZ from which fire-fighters have gone to NSW to help.
However the morning paper here has as its headline and leading story the family who found a broken overhead power line snaked and sparking across their front lawn. A happy place where that is the headline story.
So greetings to my kind readers: more of the Antipodes before long. New Zealand is actually the Antipodes of Spain - Britain is nearer a Pole than is New Zealand.