Auckland, Auckland, Auckland.
Auckland is awesome to say the least! I love big cities and Auckland was just the change I had been needing! We started out in Auckland attending a Blues rugby game at Eden Park. We were running a little late and as the facilitator I was struggling a bit to solidify directions to the stadium at the last minute. Luckily the people of Auckland are so nice! I asked this college aged girl for directions to the stadium and she ended up walking us the entire way there just to help us out!
Guys really the people of Auckland are so sweet and kind, 10 out of 10s for sure.
The rugby game was fun and a great change compared to the activities we had participating in prior. As the sister of multiple rugby playing brothers, I really enjoyed watching a game of rugby again.
The next day Madison and I had to ourselves. We went running in the morning and then spent the early afternoon at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki museum. Art galleries are totally my thing and I was in HEAVEN at this museum. Honest to goodness it is a good thing Madison is such a trooper and lets be embrace my inner art geek. But really though, it felt so good to be back in an art gallery and have those creative juices flowing again. The exhibit showing was "actually pretty cool too" according to Madison. The exhibit was about the life of New Zealand artist Billy Apple. Billy Apple was all about perceiving individual reference points. For example one of his most famous works titled Motion Picture Meets Apple is a self portrait where Apple color codes his cheeks both green and red. This was done to connect his name in reference that apples are neither just green or just red. I really liked a lot of Apple's contemporary and political artwork and going to the museum was what my soul has been needing!
After attending the art gallery we walked our feet off tearing down all of Auckland - Queens street, the Harbor, Britomart... After stopping for some freaking delicious nachos for lunch we met up with some girls to watch Pitch Perfect 2. Not as great as the first but still some great, hilarious one liners in there. Following the movie all of us talked about our days adventures at Giapo ice cream.
Giapo ice cream deserves a post of its own. I can't even begin to describe how delicious this ice cream is. Just know that it is far better than ANY ice cream I have ever had. Including every single ice cream/gelato/sorbet shop I visited in Europe. Hands down Giapo is the absolute best. How Giapo works is all the ice cream is hidden behind the counter, that way you pick your ice cream based off of taste and not look. Once you've decided on your flavor they make it there for you. No matter what size you pick, every ice cream has special toppings specifically designed to enhance the ice cream flavor. The ice cream is pretty deluxe and truly a culinary masterpiece. Just take a look at the photo.
Our third day in Auckland was quite an exciting and fun filled day. To start is was Madison's 22nd birthday! The girls and I knew we had to celebrate in style, and what better way to do so than SKY DIVING! Yup, I went sky diving in Auckland and I about died.
No joke though I legit about died. When we arrived at the sky diving site everyone in my group was greeted by their sky diving guide. They proceeded to get suited up and given proper directions and training. I kept waiting patiently for my guide to come. However when everyone started to get on the plane and I still hadn't met my guide I started to panicked. I finally asked the front desk where my guide was so they shouted my guide's name out. Right then my guide, Sam, strolled out from behind the shed with his suit half on, his boxers hanging out, and a cigarette in his hand. His response to their call was "What?"
Needless to say, Sam was totally prepared to jump out of a plane that morning.
Long story short. Sam was running a bit behind that morning and wasn't really on his "A game." He had me nervous the entire time even after we boarded the plane. Again every girl is getting strapped to their partner and all prepped with their caps and goggles on. Meanwhile Sam is staring out the window watching the sunrise.
Finally at the last second Sam helped me get strapped in and we legit rolled out of the plane. It wasn't the most graceful descent but granted we were the first to jump out of the plane so I didn't really get a chance to watch anyone else jump out before me.
Even though Sam was a bit of a struggle bus sky diving was AMAZING. The feeling of free fall in the air is so exhilarating and a total rush. It was scary for sure but somehow I just felt so confident in the air. Weird, I know. But I highly recommend sky diving to everyone out there. It is definitely something you don't regret doing.
After our sky diving adventure Madison and I went BACK to the art gallery one last time (once is never enough for me) and then to a quick dinner before watching the Broadway show Singing in the Rain. The show was phenomenal and they even dumped 12,000 liters of water during the performance! Watching the show made me so excited for my job at Tuacahn Amphitheatre. I love the performing arts, you honestly can't walk away from a Broadway musical without a smile on your face.
Once the show was over we went back to Giapos for one last round of their ice cream. No regrets baby.
Our final morning in Auckland was spent back at Eden Park having private tour of the stadium. It was great. And really educational. Yay for awesome homework on a study abroad (I mean adventure abroad).
So thoughts about Auckland: I love it here! Auckland is a beautiful city and it has a great feel to it. Its not too busy or rushed. Everything about New Zealand has been so great. The country is clean, the food is great, the people are nice, and the sites are breathtaking. I have zero complaints or regrets about New Zealand and it has definitely been one of my top places I have traveled too.
I think I was a little too distracted with how beautiful Auckland is to take a lot of photos of the city! Whoops!