Sunday 10 March 2019

Wellington: cruise over, so just cruising

With thanks to WellingtonNZ
We woke this morning moored already in Wellington, whose harbour we had eased into in the early morning. It was cool and cloudy – it’s officially autumn now, after our long hot spell – and we disembarked with absolutely no ceremony (this has been the least official-feeling famil I have ever been on) but also no bills to pay. Always good! And now, goodbye Viking Sun, and on to the next thing: collecting story material in the capital.
Wellington was quiet – it is Sunday, after all – but it’s still a cool little city, with an abundance of stately and official buildings, and interesting shops, and heaps of restaurants. I did a bit of an explore of Hannah’s Laneway where Fix and Fogg the peanut butter specialists were officially closed, but their premises occupied today by Duck Island, who make what Lonely Planet has decreed New Zealand’s best icecream – high praise indeed, but well deserved, judging by the coconut caramel sesame peanut praline (a mouthful in all senses) that I enjoyed.
The Wellington Chocolate Factory is nearby in this fashionably grungy little street, making ten flavours as block chocolate plus individual ones from beans imported from Peru, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Purely because I was surprised and delighted by a similar combination in Copenhagen last year, I bought a block of craft beer-flavoured dark chocolate. (Eaten later, it was interesting but the arty dried hop flowers stuck on one side were much less fun to eat than they looked.)
Appropriately, next I went into Fortune Favours, a craft brewery in a former factory where there were many hipster beards and black t-shirts, and the Beachcomber wheat beer was very good. 

Sunday afternoon was winding down, so that was that for exploring, and I wandered back along Lambton Quay to the Park Hotel (workmanlike and handily central). Later, I ate at the always excellent Ortega FishShack, where my admiration of my juicy prawns equalled that for the friendly efficiency of the staff in their leather aprons, whisking up and down the steps and welcoming every diner like an old friend.

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