Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Zealand 2016 Day 24. Flying back home

Waitomo Caves has . . . well . . . caves, and although we didn’t go into any of the commercial caves we did take a great walk through a cliff-bound valley that formed when the ceiling of a subterranean river collapsed. It was a short walk, but a very pretty one. That reminds me that Anna has been busy compiling the statistics of our trip: She figured we have driven 5,300 km, at an average of 243 km per day, and that we walked about 149.8 km in this trip, with a daily average of about 6.8 km/day. On 22 days of travel, she woke at an average of 7:35 am (on her own, and without me prompting her), and ate a grand total of about 8.7 kg of salad and tomatoes, and about 13.2 kg of fruit. Oh, and she has not touched a cigarette for 22 days!

It has been great traveling with Anna, who has all the makings of a great traveler. I will certainly miss my travel companion, and look forward to reading about his adventures in India, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

After a feverish morning packing and cleaning the van, and taking our small hike, we got on our way around 10:30 am. After 80 km we reached the town of Hamilton, where I blew off my last New Zealand dollars in a couple of books. Another 120 km brought us to Auckland International Airport, around 2 pm, in plenty of time for my 4 pm departure for Tahiti, and from there to Los Angeles and then Sacramento. Anna is staying for three more days in New Zealand, so she will keep the van and will be in ultimate charge of returning it to the rental agency. On January 29 she will be taking off for New Delhi, and she will be in India for six weeks. I press my thumbs for her (a German expression for “I wish her good luck”) and look forward to hearing about her adventures in this exotic and mysterious land. Buen Camino, Anna!

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