NZ, again

2020-01-14 Aus Von christiankohl

Boring. Went to New Zealand again. Had fun. Nuff said.
You’ve read it all before, haven’t you?
BUT, and yes, it’s a capital letter but, some things are slightly different this time.

First, we booked the same international flight, SIA C from ARN via DME/SIN to AKL, but we did not fly SAS from TXL to ARN. No, we learn from our mistakes and booked us a nice easyJet flight instead, thank you very much. And as usual with easyJet, they get the job done, on time, friendly, comfortable, and most important, with all our luggage delivered.
Second, we stayed at the Clarion Airport hotel, which was more expensive than the joint we stayed at last time, but it’s in the terminal, no bus transfer, it include a very nice breakfast and have very comfortable rooms. And nice design. Very pleased with our choice.
Third, we have two Harald’s with us this time. Can you believe it? One of them if my body board and has to travel in the hold, the other our good friend the Grindr God. 😀 He’s not traveling in the hold, but harassing the flight attendants instead. 🙂

We met up in Stockholm (because Monsieur traveled LH via MUC to ARN, easyJet is not good enough for him) and had a very nice dinner at the hotel restaurant, surprisingly good. Service was a bit patchy though, but since we weren’t in a rush, we didn’t care too much, preferred to enjoy the runway views from our table. The breakfast next morning surprised me, so far breakfast at Scandinavian hotels had been rather disapointing, but not this time. Lots of choices of good quality stuff for all tastes and a very nice setting. Off to a good start so far, we approached the SIA check-in counter with a spring in our step and the firm resolution not to accept „special baggage“ handling for our backpack. (That’s where they send it last time and promptly forgot about it … .) We’ve checked this backpack a thousand times and no airline has ever treated it as „special baggage“. And why should they, it’s normal size, 14kg weight, so nothing out of the ordinary really.
This time the check-in attendant asked me whether I wanted it checked as special baggage, I declined, and that was the end of it. Good. So off for a brief stop at the lounge and then boarding. SIA C is simply lightyears better than the crappy LH seat product. Harald and Katleen hit the champagne immediately and it looked like Harald had the firm commitment to try every single wine on their menu. 😉
The VLML „snack“ that was served right after departure was rather sub-par, I found, as was the VLML meal later on. Definitely not nearly as good as the in-flight menu options. Luckily, we had „booked the cook“ for the next leg and that proved to be a great decision, the Reisebegleitung happily indulged in some WA Lobster next to me.
A snow storm in Moscow caused a bit of delay, so we basically only left the plane, went through the usual 700000 documents checks and then back onto the same plane again. Singapore did not have any snowstorms of course, so took a nice walk across to Terminal 3 and enjoyed some fresh and humid air in the butterfly garden before boarding again. Got to AKL in time at 23.35 and probably set a new record for efficiency – from touchdown at half past eleven to check-in at the Novotel Airport hotel at 00:15, including passport control (automated), biosecurity (incl. lab check of our tent), and buying a pre-paid sim card. Nice, that’s how it should be. And yes, all of our luggage, including Harald, arrived early and completely.

Shower, rest, and another nice breakfast at the Novotel, then on Monday morning we were off to our domestic flight to Nelson. I just love domestic flights in NZ. No security bullshit, no nothing. Just like taking a bus. So again, got to Nelson on time and went to pick up our cars. Of course Harald had to flirt with the lady from the agency, which was extremely cute. Then he stole away the Reisebegleitung from me for the short drive into town, but they still got lost, hehehe. We eventually met up and had a nice lunch before we parted ways for the next three weeks.

We headed to Nelson Lakes National Park, St. Arnaud, in the afternoon, but not before stopping at the fabulous Berry Lands for some berries, some nice local lemonades, and of course real-fruit ice cream! Finally! The vacation hasn’t really started unless you’ve had some ice cream!