A Travellerspoint blog

Day 22- 25 A Christmas Abroad!

Food glorious food and a it’s Dunedin Wrap!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
Christmas Eve kicked off with lunch at a local coffee shop before Kirsty took us to Dunedin’s museum. They had a special exhibition; ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’, we were intrigued so thought we’d check it out. It turned out to be members of the public from all around the world donating things that reminded them of relationships that had broken down. There was a pregnancy test with the explanation simply reading ‘Thank you and fuck you’. There was a selection of mixed cds with the explanation of an affair with a guy 35 years younger than her and how he gave her the gift of music. Some were really strange such as: a woman had donated a pot of gallstones with an explanation of an affair of her husband and a co worker and a body vest with large breasts that her husband had bought her as he wanted her to have bigger boobs; unsurprisingly the start of the end of their relationship. Some were just sad; gifts that reminded people of their mothers who had passed away before they’d reconciled or of a friend who had relapsed and overdosed without confiding in them. (You know, a happy Christmas Eve activity).

We went up to the animal attic for a more lighthearted exhibition. The funnest animal was the stuffed ferret. All the other animals had been made to just look natural, the ferret however, being a pest in NZ, had been made to look savage. It stared out with wild red eyes while it pinned down a bird it had just killed with blood around its mouth, dripping from its chin. The goriness of it to prove how much they hated the animal.

We settled in to the evening with a quick visit from Elliots brother before subjecting Kirsty and Elliot to Jack Whitehall’s Christmas special, which although we’d already seen, was still as funny second time round. Although we feel a few references were missed by my Kiwi relatives. Although a pleasant evening and while I felt a little more Christmassy with the fire burning, we didn’t feel our usual levels of excitement.

Christmas Day
Christmas morning was uneventful and quiet compared to in the Wagstaff/Mitcham household! A very civilised breakfast with the rest of Elliot’s family. They love to over cater; a huge salmon, bacon and plenty of Eggs Benedict for everyone with fruit salad for seconds. The family had all bought their dogs with them so we were surrounded by six miniature schnauzers and a bigger dog- obviously we loved it, trying to grab as many cuddles as possible! After they’d departed to their respective Christmas lunches we got to Emma’s with a huge ham and pavlova to contribute. Not that they needed it, again there was so much food! BBQ going and kids running around, there was a lot to take in, but the volume was definitely more what we were used to. Surprised, while gifts were being handed around, we received two huge stockings over flowing with presents from the family filled with thoughtful NZ related goodies! We felt very thankful and overwhelmed by generosity, having not expected to receive anything let alone the amount we did. I tried to dance off some of the food, unsuccessfully, when everyone joined Millie, a cowgirl and a panda in a set routine (see the efforts below!).


About to burst from eating so much we headed back for a nap... and a bit of quiet time. Once refreshed and recharged we made our made out was to Elliott's family for dinner (yes, more food). With a full roast dinner tucked (somehow) in to our (very full) belly’s we sat around chatting and drinking. Although a strange Christmas, it was a really lovely one. Neither of us have been away for Christmas before and although we’d only met some of the family a handful of times, and some we had never met at all, we felt incredibly welcome!


Boxing Day
As if the previous day has been any other K&E took us to a beach; as for the first time all week it wasn’t raining! We thought we were going somewhere hot for summer! The beach had a small tunnel that had been built for a rich family who lived in a castle on the top of the hill so his daughters could get to the beach in private. Since the weather was so good one beach didn’t seem enough, so we headed to a different beach in town for ice cream. Sitting on the beach drinking milkshake and eating ice cream was a pretty great way of spending the day... although it was crazy this was Boxing Day! We decided to check out some Boxing Day sales and get a hair cut, except apparently this small town isn’t like London, so not much was open. We’re still having to get used to the fact things aren’t 24/7 or on our doorstep- I guess we’ve been too spoilt in London the last 6 years. The rain had held off for too long as was back with vengeance. Just as we were walking back home a huge thunderstorm commenced. Luckily Kirsty came to our rescue and picked us up while we were cowering under a shop front veranda, ‘waiting for it to all blow over’. Since the kiwi hosts had over catered we had a dinner compiled of left overs back at Danny and Sue's and another evening of drinking and playing ‘what do you meme’, coupled with lots of laughter! I won... you know because I’m so funny and all!


27th December (25th Day)
Our final full day in Dunedin was spent repacking our bags with slightly heavy hearts, we were obviously excited for our next adventure but we had become quite comfortable in K&E’s lovely home. Having been able to wash and dry all our clothes is such a treat, it’s amazing when traveling that basic life chores seem like a luxury. We managed to watch Gavin and Stacey Christmas special which were both excited for. Andy managed to get a haircut, another simple life act that seems like a treat.

Diane came and met us for a drink and we had a tour of the Street art. It was quite a nice way of covering a large empty wall, we were surprised that there was no tasteless graffiti anywhere! Our next stop was a much anticipated one! One that we’d been hearing about since the O’Sullivans had been over in the UK summer 2018; Emerson's brewery. We’d managed to hold off trying it until we were in their company and now it was time to try the tap stuff! Having purchased the tasting platter of 6 beers we had yet to have already over Christmas, it was time to quench our thirst. As with all breweries there were some better beers than others with the 1861, the Pilsner and The Big Boss being highlights for Andy. I preferred the fruitier Orange Roughy.


Satisfied with the experience we were taken to a pizza place on the sea front, which again our kind hosts refused to let us pay for despite our best efforts! Both of us love water so happily watching out the window at a cruise ship sailing in to the sunset while we nattered away over our last dinner with the family. We took a detour on the way home to Mount Cargill, the views were stunning, I love any view at night. Streetlights like fairy lights, everything so small below, people going about their life unbeknown of anyone else’s existence. However, Oogi (their dog) had run off and it was so cold from the wind we didn’t stay too long. We came across a hare on our drive home that was having a great time dancing in the headlights, hoping from left to right, right to left. We drove about 1.5km at snails pace while the hare entertained us until he got bored and finally hoped off the road.


As quickly as our Dunedin stay had began, it was over. Tucked in bed ready to head for our bus to Queenstown in the morning for our flight back to Auckland for new year we thought over how great the last few days had been and reflected on our NZ as a whole as it starts to draw to an end. We really are so grateful to all of the family in Dunedin but especially Kirsty & Elliot who have given up so much of their time to show us the very best of Queenstown, Milford Sound and Dunedin while letting us crash their house and their family Christmas, while asking for nothing in return. We feel privileged to have had such knowledgeable, kind and awesome tour guides. We will certainly miss these guys and hope to see them all and another point in the future, whenever that may be. Until then we will always look back on the experiences and memories made over the past few weeks with fondness. If you are reading this THANK YOU AGAIN FOR EVERYTHING! YOU ARE THE BEST!

Posted by Bears on Tour 00:24 Archived in New Zealand

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