Welcome to Auckland =D

Usually I only have weekends off to go travelling or do whatever... Last week, however, I left the farm on Thursday already to head down do Auckland. I was going to see Leonard Cohen live in concert!!! For those of you who don't have a clue who he is - this is a small excerpt of his bio from the official Leonard-Cohen-Website:

For four decades, Leonard Cohen has been one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time, a figure whose body of work achieves greater depths of mystery and meaning as time goes on. His songs have set a virtually unmatched standard in their seriousness and range. [...] His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), announced him as an undeniable major talent. [...] Part of the reason why Cohen’s early work revealed such a high degree of achievement is that he was an accomplished literary figure before he ever began to record. His collections of poetry [...] and his novels [...] had already brought him considerable recognition. His dual careers in music and literature have continued feeding each other over the decades – his songs revealing a literary quality rare in the world of popular music, and his poetry and prose informed by a rich musicality.

To be honest, until about two years ago I had no idea who he was either. Then one day i heard that song in some series I watched. And it deeply touched me. I had to google it, find out who's voice can give you such goosegumps. The song I heard was called "In my secret life" and is still my favorite.

The concert was more than worth it! It lasted almost 4 hours and the range of songs Cohen provided was unbelievable. But I enjoyed every single one. His voice is unique and though that man is 76 years old he still knows how to entertain. I am glad I got to see him and will definitely get some of his CDs.

Being in Auckland of course I also played tourist and had a look at the city. With 1.4 million people more than a fourth of the whole population of New Zealand lives here. But the most impressive fact is that Auckland is built on 48 volcanoes. Not all of them are dead - just sleeping. From the top of those volcanic cones you get an amazing view over the city. This picture was taken from Mt. Eden:

I started getting to know Auckland by hopping on the Auckland Explorer, the typical double-decker tourist bus that takes you across the city and stops at all the major attractions. The commentary tells you some interesting bits and pieces and you get a small discount e.g. to the Auckland Museum and Kelly Tarlton.

The Auckland Museum is definitely worth a visit.

It has some interesting exhibitions about New Zealand's past, how the country has developed over hundreds and thousands of years, where its people come from, ... You can wander around a Marae, the traditional meeting house of the Maori and for an extra fee you can watch a cultural performance.

Another must expecially if you have children is Kelly Tarlton's Arctic Encounter and Underwater World. You not only learn a lot about NZ sealife. There is an actual Arctic Station where you can hop on a snow mobile ride and watch all sorts of penguins up close. Or why not watch the sharks and stingrays being fed? An interactive area makes this a great experience for little (and big) adventurers.

Aucklands most famous landmark is the Skytower. You can go up to the top for pictures (haven't that this time), do a 360 degree walk on the outer ring of the tower or bungee jump to the bottom. Which one would you prefer?

The city also has some very nice parks. I spent a few hours in Albert Park near the university buildings just reading a book and enjoying the sun. However, in the end Auckland is just another big city that offers party, adventure and sights on the one hand but on the other hand lacks the beauty of areas like the Northland with its green hills and mountaintops... It's nice to have been there and experience the flair of the city. But I am glad to be back on the farm where things a a lot more peaceful and quiet :-)

You'll find more pictures from Auckland on Facebook.


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