AES’EA – Fourth Place

It was our very last day in New Zealand, and we were split between getting the most out of the day and finally relaxing after days and days of hiking. We checked out of our fairly impressive hostel and started the drive up to our final stop in Aukland. On the way, however, we made one absolutely crucial stop – Hobbiton!

Home of hobbits and somewhat overpriced LoTR souvenirs

The tour was pretty fun on the whole – the tour guide knew all of the little filming quirks that went into the shire scenes and the sky managed to hold during the whole tour. Even better, the stop at the Green Dragon Tavern included a free beer. I have to say that it was a really good beer, especially for being tour-branded. Both the amber ale and the stout got the Aaron Troy seal of approval, which is hard to beat.

Exactly one type of produce in this picture is fake – which one do you think it is?
These were on a far away hill, apparently constructed for literally three and a half seconds of screen time in The Hobbit Trilogy. Perfectionism was the name of the game here.
Bilbo only lets the hottest girls into his frat
Bilbo’s birthday party meadow on left and the green dragon on the back right. It was a surprisingly large area for such small hobbits

After concluding the tour (and Ethan and Aaron bought some souvenirs), we jumped back in the car and continued north. Despite hitting some very heavy traffic just outside of Aukland, we managed to make it to perhaps the only kosher restaurant in all of New Zealand. Unfortunately, upon arriving, we found that it was dairy (not meat, as expected), and more small grocery store/bakery than restaurant.

Something tells me that there are jews around…

We through Aukland a bit to the next and final hostel. Only Aaron decided to stay there that night; Ethan and I planned just to head straight to the airport instead. First, we were quite hungry by this point, so we stopped in at a restaurant across the street for their happy hour. Ethan and I split lamb and calamari and had a couple glasses of wine apiece, while Aaron nursed a sore throat with some tea.

A New Zealand “Serves two” is an American “slightly large meal”. That said, it was all absolutely fantastic

We walked into a local bar next to the hostel and found out that it was trivia night in just over an hour. Wanting to play but not wanting to sit around waiting, we walked around Aukland for that hour. I spotted a small gelato place that we patronized, as well as a very off color advertisement for what I assume to be a strip club or something similar.

Oh Uncle Sam, the years really haven’t been kind

The hour passed and we headed back towards the bar. It was a very homey place, seating probably around thirty and only half full. We entered the trivia competition and grabbed a drink apiece, but quickly realized that we didn’t have any chance of winning. Many of the questions were geography based, and another set were New Zealand specific. We tried our best for just over an hour, and eventually landed fourth place! Unfortunately, there were only five teams competing. We got a small round of applause when our score was announced, but it was clearly only thanking us for coming out.

Aaron napped for a few hours while Ethan and I talked with some people at the hostel. Eventually 1AM rolled around and we woke Aaron up to drive us to the airport. The drive out of Aukland at 1AM was much faster than the one in at 3PM, unsurprisingly. We made it to the airport without a hitch, said our goodbyes to Aaron, and went inside to begin the fourth and final stage of our trip, to Thailand. What happened next is a tale for another day.


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