Day 7: Wellington (Rover Rings Tour)

Trip Start Aug 04, 2012
Trip End Aug 20, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, August 11, 2012

Today is Jessie's birthdayyy! Bridget gave her a crown/tiara thing to wear, but she only wore it for about 30 seconds. Apparently Lisa blew up balloons in the bathroom while everyone else was sleeping because she's awesome like that. She said she was so worried that she would wake Jessie up, but she didn't. Kay-Marie bought a card for her and did an awesome job of getting everyone to sign it without Jessie noticing.

Breakfast was at 7:45 today, and I took an apple for later. Then our "Rover Rings" Lord of the Rings tour started at 8:30am. It was me, Jessie, Sheryl, Bethan, Steph, and Steven who did the half-day tour, and Mark was the only one doing the full day tour. They actually put us in completely separate groups, so Mark was the only Contiki person on his tour, and we barely saw him all day.

The tour ended up being better than I expected it to be. I'm not exactly super obsessed with LotR, so I was afraid it would all be stuff I didn't care about. But the scenery was pretty even if you didn't care at all about the movies. Our tour guide played an elf in the second movie, so he was able to tell us a lot of interesting stories about what went on during filming. We also got to dress up like elves and take cheesy pictures. Steph pretended to be a ringwraith/dark rider thing, and the twins got Steven and some of the non-Contiki people to pose with them as hobbits in their pictures. We were also given "second breakfast" as part of the tour, where we had chocolate croissants and other good stuff. And we got a free souvenir map! I'm glad that I ended up choosing this over quad biking, which is what I originally signed up for.

Once we got back from the tour, it was about 1pm. Jessie and I met up with Kay-Marie, and we went out to explore Wellington. We went to the free Te Papa Museum, which ended up being a really great way to spend the afternoon. We also ran into Jo, Louise, and Crystal at the museum. After that, we tried to find Jessie St. so that Jessie could get a picture with the sign. Unfortunately, there was a fire on the street, so it was full of firetrucks, and we had to walk all the way around to get to the other side where there was a sign. It was sooo worth it, though (lolnotreally).

We also got to see the bucket fountain on Cuba street, and we found an awesome gelato place. Jessie finally got to try the hokey pokey ice cream she was told she haaaad to try, and I got some awesome dark chocolate gelato (but I don't remember what Kay-Marie had). On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a convenience store where I bought some chips. Then I went back to the room and ate my stolen apple and my chips to tide me over until Jessie's birthday dinner.

Jessie picked a restaurant called "One Red Dog" that was supposed to have pizza. She had the dude at the front desk of the hotel make a reservation for us, but apparently he made it for some other restaurant with the same name. We also had four extra people, so even if we found the restaurant that he made the reservation for, we'd have to make twelve people fit at a table meant for eight. So, we decided to aimlessly wander the streets of Wellington with twelve people, balloons, and a cake and hope that we'd stumble upon a restaurant that had room for us.

Luckily, we did eventually find a place. There were people who were already sitting at the only big table, but they looked like they were getting ready to leave, so we hovered until they did and then stole their table. Jessie and I split a cheese pizza, and we all had chocolate cake thanks to Morgan and Kerri. Ketan was in charge of cutting it, and every piece was a different size. He claimed that he was basing the sizes on how much he loved us, so I was surprised when I got the biggest piece. He said it was because I was his "special friend," which was really creepy. I only ate about 1/3 of my cake, but it was pretty good. Jessie seemed really happy with her card and her dinner, so I'm glad we could make her birthday special even though she couldn't be with her family.
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