The Fan Tourist

Totally irrational, but the closer we came to today’s destination, the more excited I felt. Wellington. Capital of New Zealand. And once the temporary home of Mr A. We drove into Welington from the North-West, on the No. 1 Highway from Wanganui or Palmerston North. The last ten kilometres between Plimmerton and Wellington the highway took us along the coast, which was spectacular, and I kept thinking “I am sure RA *must* have driven this way once. And now *I* am driving here.” Yeah, I know – how tentative a connection can you concoct *ggg*. Never mind that I know full well RA is on the other side of the planet, filming some gruesome horror stuff in Canada (?), and that it has been years since he lived and worked here… it still was kind of fun to imagine that I was seeing what he had been seeing.

imageWellington is quite busy this weekend, as the Valentines love-fest is on Saturday – and for the less romantic part of the population there is the Cricket World Cup. (I keep thinking of Monty Python: “Do – you – play – cricket?????” I don’t actually. Any game that takes longer than a maximum of 90 minutes (excluding break) is simply too long for *my* attention span.) And so we waltzed into the tourist info (“i-site” in NZ – I keep calling them “eye-sore”) to let the tourist assistants do the work and book a cheapo hostel for us. Ehm, except they were all booked out. And the rest of the available rooms did not appeal to us our budget. In short, we thought we could get a cheaper deal somewhere, maybe the same way I got us the room in Chateau Tongariro (*winks eyelashes* “Have you got any special rates? You know, it’s a Monday today…?” Trust me, it worked!!!). Gandalf looked as if he disapproved…

Unfortunately we failed at the first hurdle. Instead of finding our way out of the city centre, we kept taking wrong turns. Well, or maybe it was the universe guiding me, because all of a sudden I was all eyes when I spotted a road sign pointing to “Miramar”. Yep, this is where it came in really handy to be a Hobbit and LotR fan… well, in the sense that it meant I now had a sign to follow to a place that I was interested in. The esteemed travel companion (ETC) did not object, and so we drove on. The travel companion was not quite so amused ten minutes later when Guylty broke into spontaneous enthusiastic shrieks. I had spotted a road sign to “Lyall Bay”.


Lyall Bay – view of Wellington airport. If you click the picture, you can see a plane coming in to land.

Now, this is where the casual fan gets left behind by the supersonic expert fan *ggg*. Lyall Bay is where Armitage is supposed to have hung out on occasion. (Did he live there, too? not much of an expert fan NOW, are you Guylty???) Anyway, if I am not entirely wrong, he mentioned his favourite café in that Russian interview a while back.) So Guylty completely zoned in on Lyall Bay and hypnotically followed the signs, blanking the esteemed travel companion. We came out on a little bay front, with a view of Wellington Airport. (Pretty interesting, btw – it must be quite spectacular arriving into Wellington by plane – I wish we had flown there. The approach is from the sea, flying into the bay.) We left the car and walked along the shore. I promised the ETC a “short black” (that’s what they call an espresso in NZ) in the event of us finding the café.


The Maranui from the outside.

And whoa – there we were.


Inside of Maranui

The Maranui Café. Sort of a life-savers’ clubhouse-cum-café which apparently is a favourite eatery in Wellington. ETC actually kindly insisted on taking a photo of Guylty in front of the entrance (to be buried in the vaults of shame). Upstairs was a light-filled room with a maritime themed decor. We had a short black and enjoyed the view from the picture window. The cafè itself is a really unpretentious, nice eatery.


Behind the bar/counter


The singing fish – did Rich press the button?

There is an informal beach café sort of look in it, and it is casually shabby – or shall we say “well-loved”? Not fancy, but very cheerful and simple. Much like the man himself??? Guylty certainly approved! I took a couple of surreptitious shots into the café while my ETC benignly ribbed me for my RA love.  Before we left the café, she insisted I take another picture of the toilets – “because *he* must have been in there, for sure”…

Once back in the car, the customary 80s-music-station played “If I can’t have you, I don’t want nobody, baby”, and ETC declared that it was being played just for me and Richard. Yeah, right. At least I am entertaining *her* with my fan-guided tourist activities…


Methinks, this is *just the place* for a self-confessed DIY-fan…

Mind you, the whole Lyall Bay detour had a great side-effect. Still looking for a place to stay, we simply followed the road to the airport – and ended up on a fabulous coast road that took us around several small bays back into Miramar. And yes, I spotted Stone Street, or rather the big green screen walls, and passed by the studios. Another little check for “places RA has been” 😉 No accomodation to be had on that side of Wellington though… But we did manage to find our way back into town.

PS: We did eventually find a room for the night – although not as cheapo as we had hoped. On the upside, we are staying bang in the middle of Wellington in a twin room with our own bathroom. No more feeling our way in the dark to some communal campsite washroom. At least for a couple of nights. A top hotel, btw – it has Gloin’s costume in a glass case in the lobby…



38 thoughts on “The Fan Tourist

  1. Wie schön, dass ihr doch noch ein Plätzchen zum Schlafen gefunden habt. Ich finde es immer stressig, wenn sich der Tag dem Ende zuneigt und immer noch nichts in Sicht ist. Und die Toilettenbilder werden auch eine schöne Gewohnheit 🙂 Kartenproblem gelöst?


    • Silly but true. As if there is a connection because you have been where someone else has been. Mind you, if our concept of time were wrong and time was not a line but a string of curves and bends, then I might be here at the same time as he *ggg*

      Liked by 1 person

  2. AWESOME! So glad you’re both having a great time! Do you think you could talk ETC into a trip to the Mighty Mighty? A couple of us Googled it when he mentioned it in an interview and it looked so cool that we thought a field trip might be in order. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s great fun writing the RAlevant sights up for you. After all, this component of the journey does not really get mentioned on my regular blog, and will most likely never be used in an article…


  3. I think your trip is more a RA’s pilgrimage or a RA’s investigation. You as Holmes and your husband as Dr Watson !!! trying to find the most famous fingerprints or one wonderful hair !!! It’s so nice to see these places through your eyes – places where I know I will never go – so thanks again Guylty. And one more thinking : he certainly pressed the button and at this second I would have liked to be the fish !!!!


    • Lol – my ETC (who is NOT my husband but a friend *ggg* would not stand for a RA pilgrimage… She was already slightly bored yesterday when I kept shrieking every time I saw something that I had seen in PJ’s vlogs or had been mentioned by RA. We’re splitting up today as she has no interest whatsoever in seeing Stone St or Weta… Fine with me, at least I can fangirl without any regard to propriety…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, you can release your inner fangirl without worry when it’s just you. So glad you are taking in some of the RA sites. It is really fun to look at them and imagine being there, following his footprints and pushing buttons.

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. Ahhh He’s been there and told about now you’re there and are telling us about and it’s almost as if we’re there where he was.. contented sigh 🙂 looks like really chilled out relaxed places! And I’m a horrible beginner/clueless fan had no idea what the places were but it’s fun to learn about them through your eyes. Glad you found a place to stay and looking forward to the Weta visit Thanks so much for taking precious time to share with us !


    • It’s a pleasure to share this with you – especially as the ETC is not into Middle-earth, PJ, or the Hobbit… And I *need* to share ;-). Just back from Weta. Will hopefully have time to write it up later 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love that you’re doing this, and I totally agree that there’s something about “in the footsteps of Armitage” that appeals — not that I’ve ever done that. I also think there’s a kind of added charm that it’s such a “normal” place. Probably many of the places we could follow in his footsteps, we couldn’t afford. Although I recently stumbled over the restaurant the cast at in Berlin before the TDOS premiere there in 2013, in Mitte, and it’s the kind of place that I could certainly have afforded. Nothing crazy fancy.

    Can’t wait for more!


    • I suppose looking at the places that he describes as his favourites gives us an insight into his likes and preferences. Another opportunity to interpret him, of course. It really cheered me up to see the Maranui Café – because it was so normal, so unpretentious, so utterly non-glamourous. I like to think that RA is normal, unpretentious and non-glamourous. Maybe he just says whatever comes into his head, but if that is the case, it was actually a nice place to have a cup of coffee in 😉
      Which place in Berlin was that, btw?

      Liked by 1 person

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