Rotorua; Hot Springs & Māori Experiences

Alright folks, gather ’round.. I’ve got a story to tell.

Now everyone knows I’m always up for adventure.

This entire New Zealand trip has been fantastic and full of so many firsts for me.

And one of those firsts was pitching a broken tent in the rain and ending up having to sleep inside the car. 

 Yeah.

Rowena and I had to sleep inside the car last night because our tent was leaking so badly and falling down so much that it would have been impossible to sleep in. Sounds pretty bad, eh?

But actually it was pretty great.. We got some whiskey, popped up the laptop to watch a film and just told each other stupid stories all night. While eating an entire box of pizza crackers. We turned a bad scenario into a memorable night and honestly I’m quite glad it happened. It just added to the experiences of our trip together.

But anyway, moving on to what we actually did over the past two days.

We spent the last couple days in Rotorua, a town in New Zealand known for the hot springs under the ground and geysers everywhere. When we drove into the town, the smell of sulfur rotted our noses a bit but once we lost all sense of smell, it wasn’t so bad.. Just kidding, the smell never got better.

But that aside, it was so cool seeing something so beautiful and natural from the earth. There were literally little hot pools located in different places where you could dip your feet in for a bit. And the water was ridiculously hot. Hotter than a hot tub hot. 

 There were also geysers all around that you could just walk up to that were magnificent. 

    
 
Then, in the evening, we went to Te Puia, an indigenous Māori experience and got to see a traditional haka and poi – tribal dances of the Māori people. I was even pulled up on stage to dance the poi with the other women and as expected, I flailed around like an idiot not knowing what I was doing. We also saw a weapons display and basically the whole night was amazing. They cooked us traditional Māori dishes from within the heated ground called hangi and then took us to see the massive Pohutu geyser, the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. 

   
    
    
 
Gorgeous. Mesmerizing.

It was a wonderful two days in Rotorua.
 

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Soaking up Bath

Roman ruins & bubbling brooks. That’s how I spent my day today in Bath, England. 

    
 It’s always been a dream of mine to go to Bath and see what all the bathtub hullabaloo is about and today I found out – and it’s totally a whole lot of hullabaloo to go crazy over. Gem and I caught the train and arrived around midday to explore the town. Immediately approaching, I was impressed. The buildings and the architecture itself were original, being made of a yellow tinted stone called “Bath stone.” Basically the entire town was constructed with this unique stone and so the entire town really pulls together in cohesiveness. Anyway, we stroll through town and get to the famous roman baths and I go in. It only took about 30 seconds for me to be blown away. The ruins were absolutely stunning and the water was mesmerizing. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the history placed right before my eyes. 

    
 Walking through the exact spot where so much happened 2,000 years ago really slows life down. I indulged in the peaceful stillness that came upon me while the wind whispered by and I swear I was almost taken back in time. I could see the Romans right before my eyes.. bathing, relaxing, chatting. The experience was one I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. I was actually right in the middle of an extensive amount of history and it makes you feel so small, yet so incredibly grand all at once. Sometimes I wonder whether I’m really here living this life that I have and have to pinch myself to make sure. And sure enough, it’s always real.

So many different pools rested in this massive ancient building that I was able to explore today. I could almost feel the water splashing my face as an ancient Roman jumped in the pool to relax after a hard day’s work. Man, this really was an incredibly wonderful day for me. I never in my life thought I’d be doing the things I’m doing today. Backpacking the U.K.? If you’d have asked me five years ago if I thought this was a possibility, I’d have told you, “Yeah, in my dreams..” Because that’s all this ever was – a dream. Exploring this world and seeing the history that makes up our Earth and learning about the cultures that surround my own? I never thought I’d do any of this. 

 Anyway, back to the point.. I explored the hot springs and pools of the ancient Roman baths today. And after walking through the entirety of them, I came to the end and had the opportunity to drink the hot spring water. So, I did. Because I’m me and I never say no to an outrageous opportunity. And guess what? It was gross. Absolutely horrid. Like warm cream with a copper aftertaste. Yeah, nasty. But did I drink the entire full cup I had? Yes. Absolutely. You don’t get many opportunities like this so I took full advantage. I did it. 

 Then, after leaving the bath house, Gem and I went for this thing called a “pasty.” It’s a savory pastry thing and Gem said I HAD to get one. Apparently it’s a thing in England? I guess.. Anyway, we went to the best “pasty” shop in town and got me a traditional steak “pasty.” It was like a meat pie folded into a pocket shape and it was pretty delicious. But it had an odd aftertaste that I said tasted “something like a candle shop.” Gem told me that was some vegetable thing that tastes a bit like a pumpkin. Hmm makes sense.. So, anyway, those “pasty” things are pretty good. 

 And after a full day of hot spring copper water and steak pumpkin pockets, we headed home.. to a beautiful cottage in the gorgeous English countryside. Again, I’m pinching myself..