Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Zealand trip, day 3: Road trip

Monday, October 3

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and somewhat back on track as far as a sleep schedule. Josh had planned to give me a walking tour of New Plymouth, but it was cold and rainy, so we stayed in. To be honest, I was more than okay with this, because a lazy, cold, rainy day is truly one of my favorite things. Especially after the 30-some-hour trek I had had through airports, shopping centers, and bus stations. Plan B for the day was to make bread. By the time we were ready to make bread, though, it was late enough in the day that we didn't anticipate having time to make it before packing up the rental van and heading out for our three-day trip to the Bay of Plenty. Fortunately, we executed Plan B-1/2. I remembered a friend telling me long ago that beer bread is a quick bread that resembles more traditional yeast bread. So we looked up some recipes and whipped up a loaf. It was so good that Josh ran to the store for more butter so we could immediately make a second loaf. If you have never made it, I highly recommend it! You stir up the ingredients, pour into a pan, and bake for an hour. No kneading, no rising. And it turns out fluffy and delicious. Here's the recipe we tried (we mixed in the butter rather than pouring it on top). I don't care for beer as a drink, but I devoured this bread. In conclusion, plan B-1/2 was a huge success.

Pretty soon it was time to load up. Colby, Cheryl, Josh, and I piled in to the van, picked up Natalie (roommate) from work, picked up Neal (friend) at the hostel where he works and lives, and headed east. Here's a map of our general route. We wanted to get to Taupo in time to get a room at a hostel, so we drove straight through without stopping for dinner. Like the bus ride yesterday, this drive was beautiful but long. Four-ish hours later, we arrived in Taupo, found a hostel with a room for six, and settled in for the night.

This was my first time to stay in a hostel. I had learned about them in high school German class and heard lots about hostels from all of Josh's travels, but had never gotten to experience one first-hand. We got a six-person room with three bunk beds, equipped with basic sheets, warm comforter, and pillow. There was also a bathroom in our room, as well as communal bathrooms with more showers down the hall. There was also a communal kitchen and internet room down the hall. So, fairly basic. Nothing fancy. Cheaper than a hotel.

Just to clear the air . . . yes, there are guys and girls living in the Team Cat Biscuit house; no, there is nothing inappropriate going on among the roommates. I was a bad traveler and didn't take many pictures today. The only ones I did take were of Team Cat Biscuit's porch, and they aren't that good.

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