New Zealand Throwback #3

Day 15: Wellington

Best. Day. Ever. It started with a mail from my parents saying that I can choose a birthday present when I’m on the Lord of the Rings Movie Tour. Heeeello beautiful limited Thorin 1/6 scale figure J Great tour, great locations, great souvenir. Grinning like mad. And grinning like mad again when writing this down 🙂

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On location – Mount Victoria

 

Day 16: Marlborough region

Early trip to the ferry – haven’t been on one since I was a child, and man, that thing was HUGE. The passage was nice despite the rain – there was always something amazing to see, even if it was “just” water. Stop at Havelock, drove on to the Pelorus River. Lovely forest walk to another Hobbit movie location. Night stop at Nelson.

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Pelorus River

Day 17: Nelson

Started the day with a visit at Jens Hansen the Ringmaker. The salesperson was so lovely, she immediately showed me the big replica they used for the movies and took photos of me without even knowing if I would leave a single dollar in the shop … Well, I did *cough*

Spent most time of the afternoon on the road on my way to Westport.

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Nelson

Day 18: Westport to Hokitika

First stop at the Pancake Rocks. Amazing sight! And if you think I didn’t eat pancakes at the café after the walk, you’re mistaken. I would’ve done so simply for the pun, but they were delicious as well 😉

I also stopped at Shantytown. The replicas of the buildings were quite nice, although I preferred the more quiet walks. I even managed to see a kiwi!

Evening in Hokitika. Went on the most gorgeous beach walk ever – the clouded sky looked so amazing! It’s obvious why New Zealand is called the land of the long white cloud, I already have so many beautiful pictures of clouded skies.

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Sunset at Hokitika – see what I mean?

Day 19: Franz-Josef and Fox Glacier

Seeing snow-covered mountains so close to lush green plants is really a sight, and helicopters on their way to the glaciers made quite an impression on me as well. Took the glacier view road – gravel road, narrow, and almost like driving through a green jungle tunnel. Did I mention that it was raining as well? The sight was amazing, but I’m still glad that no other car came my way!

Another gorgeous view point was Knight’s point – cliffs, wind, and then only the sea.

Night at Haast Town. Not as big as it sounds, the evening walk was rather short.

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Fox Glacier

Day 20: Mt Aspiring National Park

Wonderful scenic route through Mt Aspiring National Park. Stopped at the Roaring Billy Falls, Thunder Creek Fall, and the Blue Pools. One sight more gorgeous than the next, and so many beautiful postcard pictures!

Lunch break (and ice cream break!) at Wanaka, sitting at the lake and simply enjoying myself before driving on to Queenstown.

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Blue pools in Mt Aspiring National Park – and one of my favourite photos! Okay, okay, I admit that I have many favourite photos …

Day 21: Queenstown

Went right to the i-site on the morning and booked some trips for the next days. And the first today is my (next) Lord of the Rings tour, this time to Twelve Mile Delta, Glenorchy, and Paradise. “You look like you would like to be a hobbit …” YES of course! Pretty much sums up my experience 🙂

Have to get up early next morning … to get to Milford Sound!

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It’s called „Paradise“ for a reason …

And that was #3 of my New Zealand throwback – three more to go! 🙂

 

New Zealand Throwback #3

New Zealand throwback #2

I’m back for the New Zealand throwback, so let’s start without many big words 🙂

 

Day 8: East Cape

Plan: leisurely driving along coastal roads and enjoying stops at beautiful bays. Reality: stopping at bays to hop out of the car, take some photos, run around the car once or twice to move a bit, and back into the car. Cold wind. Brrr. Rather early stop at a motel at Hicks Bay. Remote and cosy. Felt rather startled that Narnia is on TV. And that in New Zealand/Middle Earth …

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Actually I like taking such pictures: churning sea, heavy clouds … It’s quite atmospherical!

Day 9: East Cape

Many people get up when it’s still dark, drive to the East Cape Lighthouse, and watch the sun rising. I didn’t do that, and honestly: I’m glad! I would’ve probably parked somewhere and waited till the sun was up … Coastal road including construction sites!! Oh, and don’t forget the 800 steps up to the Lighthouse … Stunning sight, though.

Stopped at Tikitiki to see the famous church. Then further on to Gisborne. Nice evening walk at the beach.

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The proof that I went up all 800 steps!

Day 10: Gisborne

Today breakfast in Muir’s bookshop café. What a pity you aren’t allowed to take a stack of books and browse through them while drinking tea – you have to buy them first. Went to the lookout point for a gorgeous sight of the city.

Drove on to Napier. Rather late arrival, so I didn’t do much in the evening. For the first time, I’m not alone in a dorm. Roommates weren’t too talkative, though.

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Gisborne was stunning! (And not alone because of its name *coughcough*)

 

Day 11: Napier

Had a lovely quiet day. Walk around the city, including a little chat with a charming lady in a souvenir shop and some hot chocolate while enjoying the Art Deco buildings. Finally managed to buy some postcards and stamps. Went to the spa in the afternoon. I just love hot pools … and a berry smoothie after that 🙂

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Beautiful colours at Napier

Day 12: Palmerston North/Wellington

Tired – spent most of the day driving!

First stop at Palmerston North. So cold I wonder if I should finally buy gloves …

Arrived at Wellington in the rush hour, it seems. And for the first time, it was quite tough to get an accommodation! Managed to arrive at the first day of the World of Wearable Art show, and it seems as if no hostel, hotel, or motel has vacancies for the next three nights. Got a place in a motel actually fit for a family! For the first time since I came to New Zealand, I felt a pang of loneliness in this big rooms. It was gone soon, though. If the king size bed has to do with that? 🙂

Found an accommodation for the next few days online. Quite expansive, but whatever.

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Side note: I DID buy gloves, but not here at Palmerston North …

Day 13: Wellington

First stroll around Wellington: Civic Square, waterfront, Lambdon Quay, with the cable car to the botanic garden, evening walk along the Oriental Parade. Written down quite quickly, but kept me busy the whole day ^^

I quite like my new hotel despite its price … I think I haven’t had such a comfortable bed during the last two weeks – it’s big, there are four cushions, and I’ll use all of them. Every. Single. One.

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I didn’t even have to wait long until another cable car appeared 🙂

Day 14: Wellington

Decided for the hop on hop off bus tour. The tour started as a private one – most of the other participants were picked up later. The tour guide was so lovely! When he heard that I’ll join the Lord of the Rings Movie Tour the next day, he told me I should NOT look out of the window as soon as we pass Weta Cave because spoilers … And OF COURSE I tried to peek, but he had his eyes on me 🙂

In the afternoon I strolled through Te Papa National Museum. Really amazing, especially the Gallipoli war exhibition with its more-than-life-size figures from Weta. Also got me rather emotional because it was so touching. Immediately felt better after some sweets from the food night market at Cuba Street.

So so excited for tomorrow and the Movie Tour!

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It really looks like in the travel magazines, doesn’t it?

… which will be mentioned in the next update 🙂

New Zealand throwback #2

New Zealand throwback #1

I’m sorry it took me so long to finally sit down and carry on with the posts about my holiday in New Zealand. Real life, you know …  But it’s definitely time to share some experiences (right from my travel journal) and photos after my Middle Earth Edition! So I decided to split it up into six parts for each week of my holiday. So let’s begin with week # 1 🙂

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One of the first pictures I took … what else!?

Airplane. Everything feels quite surreal: Eating Chicken Tandoori at about midnight, watching Poldark … and that on a plane to New Zealand. Too afraid to watch The Hobbit because I might grin and/or cry like mad. First six hours of the flight were quite good and calm, but the next 14 hours to Australia were exhausting. Noisy which means I didn’t sleep much. Don’t remember much of the last three hours to Auckland. I still remember breakfast and the filling in of the arrival card, and then there was already the landing approach. I missed some time … By the by: I try not to think too much about crossing different time zones … makes my brain hurt.

Arrival at the airport went quite smoothly. Was rewarded with the sight of a dwarven statue in the arrival hall. Feels good to be finally here …

Check-in in my booked hotel. Got out to get a water bottle and something for breakfast next day. And then … bed!!!

 

Day 1: Auckland

Slept almost until midday. Took a stroll through the city: Myers Park, Aotea Square, Albert Park, University, Winyard Quarter. A Kiwi addressed me when I was in Albert Park, asking if I was on a walk. So so nice! Had some trouble to understand his accent, though …

Had some late lunch at the waterfront. Sun was shining, and it was absolutely lovely. Still tired, however, and went to bed early (again).

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Auckland Skyline

 

Day 2: Auckland

Took the ferry to Devonport and joined a round trip. Amazing views of Auckland’s skyline. Had a disgraceful defeat in the fight men against nature … But that damned sea gulls were staring at my fish & chips!!! And I’m sure one of them got closer whenever I turned away from it …

Relaxing walk at the beach. Barefoot! Absolutely gorgeous.

Spend the evening with a nice cup of tea at the Sky Tower, watching the sunset. I think I understood for the first time that I’m really in New Zealand. Feels perfect.

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The beaches of Devonport

 

Day 3: Auckland

Organized my rental car; I can pick it up tomorrow. Auckland Domain und museum. I learned that I shouldn’t go in museums when I’m alone … My imagination is too vivid, I can’t leave a hall with a mummy without looking over my back. Brrr. Followed by a bus tour around the city.

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Albert Park

 

Day 4: Coromandel Peninsula

Drove on the left side of the street for the first time in my life. Woo-hoo! And didn’t went too bad … Short stop in Thames. Stopped many many times on my way to Coromandel Town to take lots of photos. Every bay prettier than the next, unbelievable. Warm sunshine, sea … happy sigh. Overnight stay in Whitianga. Another barefooted walk at the beach. Another happy sigh.

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I loved to take photos with amazing clouds! This is only one of many, from Whitianga

 

Day 5: Coromandel Peninsula

Went to Cathedral Cove. Warm weather again, and beautiful sights. Had a little accident on the way back, though: I stumbled on the rocks of Gemstone Bay. Some bruises, and I think the girls that were there at the same time were more shocked than I was. Confused my plans, though, and Hot Water Beach was deserted when I arrived. Moved on to Waihi to stay there overnight. Had no problems with my arm while driving, but I could hardly get out of my shirt in the evening …

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Cathedral Cove

 

Day 6: Matamata/Rotorua

Oookay. Who cares about a bruised arm when you’re standing in Hobbiton?? And know that that’s Bag End up there?? No fit of weeping or other breakdown, I’m quite proud of myself. Or maybe I just can’t get that I really was there, standing in front of Bilbo’s door and having a drink in the Green Dragon Inn …

Drove on to Rotorua and spent the evening in the Polynesian Spa. Met a nice guy who was interested in European history. Was totally excited about my knowledge of German studies, and I could have talked with him for hours.

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I’m still surprised that it wasn’t necessary to remove me from the set with force …

 

Day 7: Rotorua

Woke up rather late and thus felt a bit disorganized. Actually planned to go on a trip to the thermal area, but drove to the historic Maori village Whakarewarewa instead – definitely a good decision, it was fascinating! Saw a cultural performance (with haka!!), a guided tour through the village, and a hangi meal at that. Great day, and the drizzle only added to the charm of the geysirs and hot springs.

Bought a greenstone pendant for my mother there – almost cried when the seller told me this: The Maori believe that a part of the wearer gets into the greenstone, and the person thus lives on in it. I feel a bit emotional in general … Maybe I need some time to work up all the impressions.

Night in Whakatane. Had a room above an Irish pub, but decided for a quiet night.

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Rain and fog at Whakarewarewa Village

 

… And that was week 1! I try to be quicker with my next update 🙂 We will start the trip around the East Cape!

 

New Zealand throwback #1

Going on an Adventure – Middle Earth Edition

There’s a reason why I start to resume my holiday in New Zealand with a Middle Earth edition: I’m a freaking nerd. It’s not that I didn’t know that before, dear me, but during six weeks in New Zealand I proved it to myself once more …

I won’t say that the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies were the only reason I wanted to go to New Zealand, but I can’t deny that they played a major role in my decision – which raises the question: Should you really go to visit a country because you got enamoured by seeing it in in some movies?

Simple answer: Yes. Hell yes, to be exact. I could write quite a few lines about “It’s not only some country in some movies” (I guess I don’t have to tell you about that), but the simple thing is that you should do whatever you like to, and you shouldn’t have to explain yourself for going on a journey ever. And don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do that. Just take me as example: I’m an introvert with overly worried parents, have never even booked a flight online, or have gone on a holiday alone. And now I’ve been to New Zealand for six weeks on my own … and wish I could still be there.

But that’s enough philosophy for today, let’s explore/revisit some movie locations!

NORTH ISLAND

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Matamata – Hobbiton Movie Set

What better way to start exploring Middle Earth than visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set? However, I found the label “movie set” a bit misleading: I didn’t have the impression that I was at a movie set because it seemed so real. I was there on a rainy day in the middle of September, and smoke was rising from the chimneys amidst the green hills. There are clotheslines with shirts and dresses hanging from, market stables filled with pastries, a chair with a jacket on the backrest, as if its owner would return any moment, beehives and ladders to reach the branches of fruit trees … and I just stood there, amidst all the green, and tried not to stare at the one hobbit hole up on the hill with its green door and an oak tree on top of it, while thinking “Yeah, I’m in Hobbiton, and that’s Bag End up there, but I’m fine. I’m cool. I’m NOT freaking out …”

I even got a photo of me, standing in front of that green door, with my little Pop!Thorin, and was told he was cute 😉 From Bag End, we headed for a drink to the Green Dragon, and I just sat in front of the fire, my mug in hands, and still couldn’t believe it …

I also couldn’t quite believe it when I got there the second time – and yes, I went to Hobbiton twice: The first time was quite at the beginning of my holiday, and the second time was on my last day in New Zealand before heading to Auckland and flying back home. It was the Evening Banquet Tour, and it was such a great experience! It started – just like the day tour – with a walk through Hobbiton (got another photo of me and my Thorin in front of Bag End … you can never have enough of that!). But this time, a feast was waiting for us in the Green Dragon, and oh my … I still remember the delicious smells, and the point all the people on the tour were just sitting around the tables, hands folded over bellies, cheeks rosy, and everybody sighed they couldn’t take one more bite … until desserts came. Phew.

But even after way too much great food, we managed to sing the song of the Green Dragon (the one Merry and Pippin were singing) and dance around the may pole at the festival field. Then, we walked through Hobbiton again, and all the hobbit holes were alight – it’s only a pity that we didn’t pass Bag End one more time!

It was a perfect conclusion for my holiday in New Zealand. Though I got a bit emotional when our guide bid us farewell. Just a bit. Bless me, I was sobbing and sniffing all the time when I drove back to Matamata!

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Piopio – Hairy Feet Waitomo

I can only recommend this tour to anybody who ever has the chance to join it! I was the only participant on the 1 pm tour that day, and it took place nonetheless, and I never felt awkward for a single moment despite having that kind of private tour. My tour guide, Suzie, was such a lovely lady! We started with a little photo shooting – I look weirdly good with Gandalf’s hat, staff, and Glamdring 🙂 Radagast’s staff was great as well, and I was – of course – enthralled by Orcrist. More determined than ever to buy this sword one day …

You could tell that Suzie was a big fan of the movies herself, and that she was proud and happy that they chose their farm as a location. It’s really a great, diverse location – high cliffs, green hills, and deep woods so close to each other! Aaaand I even got to sit on the same rock where Richard Armitage sat, fully dressed as Thorin. I know I shouldn’t grin like a madmen because of that, but I still do 🙂 Though I can’t help wondering how Richard could actually sit there – it’s a rather weirdly shaped rock and not comfortable at all … My grin didn’t go unnoticed, of course, and Suzie could also tell me some anecdotes from the shoot: like that she didn’t quite dare to approach Richard because he always stayed so focus she was afraid she would only disturb him; or that she got closer once just to see his costume in detail. Metal and fur and leather, mh. What a nice picture to imagine …

Oh, and I also got Sting bestowed upon me – there exists a photo where you can clearly tell that I try to make a serious hobbit face, but the corners of my mouth are twitching upward! I also stood on the exact spot Martin Freeman stood when the wargs attacked – they even have a little yellow mark with “Bilbo” written on one side and “Martin” on the other. The production team left it, but the tour operators won’t send it back 😉

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Tongariro National Park

Okay, there’s one thing to rant about: Websites about the Lord of the Rings locations recommend a guided tour because it can be difficult to find and to access the right location, but the only Middle Earth-themed tour on offer is a six- to eight-hour-hike … self-guided. Meh.

I decided to find out how far the combination of car and feet would get me, and I actually got quite far. I started with a drive to the Mangawhero Falls to find they glade where Frodo and Sam saw the broken statue of a king, crowned with flowers, and drove up to Turoa skifield, the Desolation of Smaug. It really felt desolate – the road was open, but the skifield itself was closed because of the strong wind … and it was strong. I got out of the car nonetheless and managed to walk a bit around without getting blown off my feet … but it was a short walk, I admit it.

After that, I drove to the northern access of Tongariro National Park to find Iwikau Village where they shot parts of Dagorlad, Morannon, the Emyn Muil … But it was pouring. I admit that I didn’t see much of that location but rain … But it wasn’t raining that much a few kilometres down the road, so I could go the short walk to Tawhai Falls, the location for Henneth Annûn. I always knew that the weather in Ithilien was much nicer than in Mordor. Rain and snow in Mordor … Sure. I gave things have changed since Sauron left 😄

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Taupo – Aratiatia Rapids

This is the reservoir dam where you can watch huge amounts of water getting released and rushing down the rapids. A great sight, even without dwarves in barrels 🙂 It starts out slowly, almost a bit disappointing, but as soon as the deep blue colour of the rapids mixes with the iceblue spray … Gorgeous sight.

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Wellington – Lord of the Rings Movie Tour

Wellington has some Lord of the Rings Tours to offer, and I chose the “Ultimative Movie Tour+”. Not doing things by halves! It was a full-day tour, and the first part led us outside of Wellington to the locations of Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith, Isengard (yep, they were taking us to Isengard; it’s the photo above!), the river where Aragorn was washed ashore after the attack of the warg-riders, and Rivendell. The afternoon part led us to Mt Victoria, on the hobbit’s trail.

And they had so many prompts! Loved it. I was walking through the gardens of Isengard, leaning on Gandalf’s staff; I posed with bow and arrow, elf-ears AND a blonde wig (I guess I have to hide that photo … I look far better as a hobbit!) ; I was hiding from a Nazgûl … Another great thing was that they had a screen on the van and showed us scenes with the places we were visiting as a little reminder. That’s the point on a trip where you learn to tell the hard-core fans from the others: These are the ones who stare at the screen (because hobbits!!!) instead of looking out of the window. Including my good self, of course.

Our last stop was at Weta Cave. My tour included the workshop tour, so we got a look behind the scenes. Oh my, all the prompts! I saw a life-size figure of Thorin, Orcrist and Deathless, I got to hold the oakenshield, and I held mithril in my hands …

Another great thing was: I got an e-mail from my parents in the morning, saying “When you’re on the tour and you see something you like, get it. It’s our birthday present for you”. Sorry for showing off now, but I’m the proud owner of a 1/6 scale figure of Thorin Oakenshield!!! No self-control, no regrets. I mean – he was on sale as well, how could I have said no?! And the people at the Weta Cave were happy as well because I had such a big grin on my face 🙂

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May I introduce my precious to you? 🙂

 

South Island

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Havelock – Pelorus Bridge

You can explore the Pelorus River and thus the location from “Barrels out of Bond” by kayak, but you can also simply walk there. There’s a walk, and a signpost almost casually saying “river access”. And suddenly I stood there and thought “But wait … Isn’t this where the dwarves got ashore after the barrel escape!?” Truth to be told, it’s sometimes difficult to tell if you’re really in the right spot … and I think the water level was actually lower than in the movie. Only solution: Take as many photos as possible! Just for reference, of course … 🙂

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Nelson – Ringmaker Jens Hansen

It’s not an actual movie location, but Nelson is home to many artists and craftspeople … also to the maker of the One Ring (and no, I’m not talking of Sauron here).

When I entered the shop, some people were already looking at a display with rings, and I joined them for some ogling. And the salesperson was so lovely! She asked if I was a Lord of the Rings fan – heavy nodding – and directly asked if I would like to see the big, 2,5 kg ring they used for filming, if I would like to hold it, and if she should take a picture of me … and all that without even knowing if I would buy anything! Still impressed and happy.

Queenstown and surroundings

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As an Austrian, I always thought that I would be most impressed by New Zealand’s rivers, lakes, and the sea. But mountains? I know them from home, of course, so why should I be impress- But oh my, the Remarkables. I just loved their sight – I think they’re my most popular photo subject. Plus: They were used for almost all the mountains of Middle Earth. For me, they are the embodiment of the Misty Mountains. I think I was humming “Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold” to myself more than once … I also drove up to the Remarkables skifield – the location for Azanulbizar – although I must admit that I skipped the last three kilometres. Gravel road, eeks. It was shaking so terribly that even my GPS fell from the windscreen. Shame on my Austrian head for that! I think I got a good impression from Azanulbizar, though.

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Another great trip was the location tour to Glenorchy/Paradise. On the way there, we stopped at Twelve Mile Delta to walk through the fields of Ithilien. At one point, our guide just pointed at some spot: “And this is where Sam and Gollum had their discussion about how to properly cook a rabbit!”

After that, we drove past Beorn’s house in Paradise – it’s actually a hill with a bush in some noticeable shape you can also see in the movie. A pity we couldn’t get closer … But, only a short time after that, we arrived at the valley of Isengard. No Orthanc anymore (the Ents did a good job), but a very nice view … and besides, I found out that I like driving through deep water puddles with a 4WD, even when I’m only sitting on the passenger seat.

Walking through the woods around Glenorchy (Lothlorien) was quite funny as well. Usually, the tour guides show you pictures from the movies for reference, but they couldn’t do that there – Peter Jackson made quite a secret out of the actual filming location so they could only guess! But we we’re having a tea break somewhere in Lothlorien, and drinking tea dressed up as a hobbit is quite a nice thing 🙂 Our tour guide just looked at me and said “You look like you’d love to be a hobbit” … Sure!! And when another car with some tourists drives past you and they all stare at you because you’re wearing a sword … Priceless.

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Not far from Queenstown there’s Arrowtown, and a part of the Arrow River was shown in the Fellowship of the Ring as Bruinen ford. Same problem as on the Pelorus River: Am I in the right spot? I am in the right spot … right? Just take photos. And eat ice cream.

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Middlemarch – Rock and Pillar Range

Richard Armitage described the Rock and Pillar Range as “monumental”, and who am I to ignore such a recommendation? However, I made a mistake: As the Rock and Pillar Range is a conservation area, I thought you couldn’t access it. But you can – actually, you can go hiking up there! I’m still grumbling – if I had known that, I would have stayed a night longer and would have gone hiking (I’m never going hiking at home, but I would have done that, I promise). But I didn’t carry enough food or even water with me for such a trip … I mean, I didn’t go up far, and it was monumental. Grrr. Seems I have to travel to New Zealand once more to catch up on that!

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Twizel – Pelennor Location Tour

I’m really glad I could go on this tour! When I arrived in Twizel and asked about the tour at the tourist information, they couldn’t guarantee me it would take place on the next day: So far, I was the only participant! But fortunately, two other people booked until next morning, and they turned out to be an absolutely lovely, somewhat elderly English couple. They were more enthusiastic about the whole tour than the younger participants I met on such tours – she was so happy about being able to dress up as Èowyn and kill the Witchking, played by her husband … maybe a bit too happy? *giggles* My main role was the Gondorian Gatekeeper – the location is on private land, secured by a gate, and I was allowed to open it with a tiny tiny key attached to a big replica of Thorin’s key! It’s so difficult to find a keyhole when it’s not Durin’s Day … I love it when I can make such a joke and people actually understand it! And joining the Rohirrim on their battle charge while sitting in a van that drives 60 km/h (the speed of their horses) while screaming “Death!!” is a once-in-a-lifetime experience … And a really great one. I always love the anecdotes the tour guides can tell – ours played one of the refugees from Lake Town in Battle of the Five Armies! I’ll have to look for her the next time …

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All these landscapes were incredible – I always make a face when somebody asks me „What was your favourite part of New Zealand?“ because everything was just so beautiful … And I think that there was even an extra thrill because I so often thought „Oh my, I just stepped into Middle Earth!!“ That’s like the extra cherry on the cream topping of the ice cream bowl, if I may use this hobbit-like comparison…

 

 

Going on an Adventure – Middle Earth Edition

The world is ahead …

Let’s start with a confession: I’m not quite sure why I write this, or what I should write. The main purpose is to inform you that I’ll be on a hiatus for a while … because I’m going on a long holiday to celebrate my university graduation. And it’s not some staying-at-the-beach-holiday.

It’s the Middle Earth experience. I’m going to New Zealand.

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It’s only me, a rental car and a whole country to be explored. Pretty nice after months of „you’ve got to do this until that“ and „make sure to learn that as well“ and all that stuff.

And I’m freaking excited!!! And a bit scared, to be honest. I’ve never travelled that far on my own – after all, it’s literally the other side of the world!

I didn’t mean to write anything at all at first because I was a bit jazzed (yeah, a bit, of course only a bit). Maybe it’s the fault of the half-full bottle of Bailey’s I had to empty before my holiday, but I wish you a happy time! I’ll check my diverse accounts from time to time probably, but don’t worry if you don’t hear much of me! I’ll probably laughing/screaming/crying because I can’t believe that I stepped into Middle Earth …

*disappearing with a mixture of concerned and thrilled noises*

The world is ahead …

Another year round

Dear birthday boy (and dear reader as well, of course!)
another year’s over, and I can only say: Man, how time flies. As I sit in front of my laptop and recollect, a few highlights stick out, and I figure that I spend really much time with you, Mr A, despite all the university stuff that bothered me for so long. In this year, you …
… you made me sigh at your John Porter, the brave soldier …
… you broke my heart again as I watched your Thorin Oakenshield in the extended version of The Battle of the Five Armies …
… you put me into a moral conflict: Should I be afraid of your Francis Dolarhyde, or should I be afraid for him?
… you helped me forget all worries of the day as I listened to you narrating David Copperfield …
… you made my whole day in only three minutes as I watched your King Oleron …
However, one of the most discussed topics, I guess, was about being political – good or not good? But that’s not the point here, and I don’t want to add my own rant here – except for one or two small points:
Maybe a bit. Let’s be honest, even a single word can change our view on someone. But it shouldn’t change our view on someone’s abilities and accomplishments. And I think nobody can deny that Richard Armitage is an extraordinary actor who puts all his heart and his soul into his roles. I wouldn’t write this if I thought different of him.
I think Richard considers a great deal what he’s sharing on the internet, like his deleted posts show. But it would be really a shame if he wouldn’t tweet anything at all, don’t you agree?
And let’s be honest: There are always people who will complain about something, and if Richard hadn’t tweeted anything concerning politics, there would be people who would complain about that as well. It’s something I do not only witness with politics, but in fandoms as well. Different opinions are natural, of course, but I’d like to refer to a quote in one of Terry Goodkind’s novels, Confessor (I’m only paraphrasing here): Live your life according to your wishes. Do what pleases you, but keep two things in mind: You have to be able to justify your decisions to yourself … and you have no right to force your opinions on other people.
So, but that’s enough about rants and being all serious, and I’d like to end on a lighter note … a very happy, actually.
For this year, I didn’t only watch Richard’s works, but I also got into closer contact with his fans. I participated in the #RichieValentineSwap and, right now, in the #RichieSummerSwap, and I had a great craft exchange with Guylty, whom I’d like to thank again for a stunningly beautiful and kind RAPS that helped me a great deal through my final exam. Also check out her Birthday Auction – it’s so wonderful that fans come together and achieve something like this!
That’s one of the things I like the most about being an Armitage Admirer: Not sitting isolated in front of the TV, but also being in contact with other fans. I’ll stop here before I get too cheesy, but I guess that most of you will know what I mean …
And now I’ll leave you with birthday celebrations and re-watching, re-reading and re-listening your favourites 🙂

Happy 45th birthday, Richard! And please, keep distRActing us 🙂

PS: Oh, and can I make a wish for the next year? I’d be so so happy to see you in a kingly role once more! Or, if it has to be a smaller wish: to see you with glasses! Harry Kennedy wearing his glasses is a bit underappreciated, I think 😉

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This. Because reasons.
Another year round