Off The Beaten Track in Aotearoa

Two blogging friends cruise in to my hometown

I know the whiff of opportunity when it shows up in my in-box. And when I got a message from pommepal, aka Pauline, asking what’s the one must do thing I’d recommend in Napier that whiff had me asking questions.

You see, I’ve followed Gypsy Life and Jack’s Jottings for a while now. It was pommepal who told me about Airbnb, and who invited me to join the five day black and white photography challenge. As for Jack, his blog is a celebration of life that always affirms and inspires.

It turned out that they were taking a cruise around New Zealand and coming to my home town! My questions culminated in: “How would you like a chauffeur named John and a map reader called Jill?” (Not that either John or I need a map, we know Hawkes Bay better than most.)

Will I recognise them, I wondered as we drove to our meeting place, yesterday. I needn’t have worried: they popped from the crowd the way old friends do. And, like old friends, we picked up from where we’d left off when they took a break from blogging to begin their cruise.

It was a classic Hawkes Bay autumn day. There was no wind, the ocean was smooth, the sky clear, and the sun warm enough for me to hope this could be the year winter doesn’t make an appearance. There really was only one thing to do, apart from talking and laughing: show off Hawkes Bay.

The best place for views is at the top of Te Mata Peak. It’s about thirty minutes drive from Napier; the last ten minutes or so up a narrow and winding road, the sort where you really must have your wits about you. There’s no room for error, the drop on one side is precipitous. Nervous travellers might have been anxious on that road. But we were all much too busy swapping stories to have time for worry.

Bloggers at work:

Bloggers at work

At the top of Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Blogger in action

Blogger in action

Bloggers at play:

At Te Awanga Beach, Hawke Bay, New Zealand

At Te Awanga Beach, Hawke Bay, New Zealand

Jack

Jack

After Te Mata Peak, there was just enough time for a drive through the Tuki Tuki Valley to Te Awanga Beach. There’s a café there that’s perfect on a day like this but it was closed. Never mind, we took in the sea air. From the beach I confidently pointed out Jack and Pauline’s cruise ship. I don’t know, said Pauline, our ship is black.  Hmmm, it looks like a cruise ship to me.

Looking towards Napier, across Hawke Bay

Looking towards Napier, across Hawke Bay

Well, don’t you think that the white shape on the far horizon looks like a boat?

Regular readers of this blog will know by now that when I speak with such authority, more than likely, a fall is just around the corner. Sure enough, when we visited the Bluff Hill lookout to check out the ship I discovered that, although it’s only a couple of weeks since my last eye test, my sight is, well, unreliable. We’d been looking at a large white shed. From a distance it could be mistaken for a boat. It could, really, it could.

Bluff Hill Look-out

See the ship? See the shed? Photo supplied by John.

All too soon, it was time to say good-bye. For security reasons passengers must catch a shuttle bus to their boat. They run regularly along Napier’s Marine Parade whenever a cruise ship is in port. We were talking so much Jack and Pauline missed the first shuttle that came along and only just made it on to the next.

The shuttle bus

The shuttle bus

John and I waved them off from the look-out above the port. They sent us a text to tell us they were welcomed back aboard by a dixie band – so very apt for Napier, Art Deco capital of the world.

We hoped they had  a smooth sailing, I’m pretty sure they got it!

The Oosterdam leaves Napier Port

The Oosterdam leaves Napier Port

This was a blogging first for me. You hear stories about how people on social media shape the information they reveal, that meeting virtual friends is full of danger because of it.

Over on King of States Michelle reminds us the Internet is made of people.

And Mr Ross Murray at Drinking Tips for Teens has something to say about friends on the web, too.

Jack and Pauline not only looked like the them I knew from their blogs, their actual selves were just as I’d expected. The best thing was that in real time we could hear and see each other laughing and enjoying life. What a pleasure and honour it was to show them around my place.

Who knows maybe we’ll get the chance to meet again.

If you’ve met up with other bloggers, how did it go?

42 replies »

  1. Hi Jill = well it is fun to see the pictures on P’s post and then yours here and piece them together -similar – but slightly different – and the ship sailing away is a great shot. I also DO think that looked like a ship. 🙂 or some whipped cream – just kidding.

    anyhow, what a great send off from the Art Deco capital of the world – and I have connected with a fellow blogger in 2013 – and was going to meet up again, but we had to cancel our trip up north. It was a great experience – and I am now going to click the two links you included here – they both look interesting – the “Internet is made of people” point is so good….
    🙂

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  2. Popping over from PP’s blog to see your side of the story 😉
    I met up with a couple of fellow bloggers (separate occasions) when I visited Australia last year and it was just as you describe – a little nervous beforehand as you do wonder if you are doing the right thing, but then as soon as we met the conversation flowed as though we’d known each other forever! One, Meg, was so good as to put me up for a few nights and was the most wonderful hostess. I guess as bloggers we do already have something in common, the desire to share photos. stories, adventures and through conversations (comments) you do get to know a lot about each other. You guys look so happy in the photos, and if I ever manage to make it to Napier I shall be sure to get in touch for tips of what to do in that lovely region.
    Jude xx

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    • For me this experience, apart from the very great pleasure of actually meeting Pauline and Jack, was another reminder that the world, and the blogging world in particular, is full of good people. If you ever do get to my part of the world, Jude, I hope you do get in touch!

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  3. A real big THANK YOU Jill and John. The trip up Te Mata Peak and the view from the top was breathtaking. Your photos do it justice Jill. Meeting you both was a highlight of our 2 week cruise. We only had 3 hours in Napier, not nearly enough time, but you made every minute count, swapping stories, and driving us through the stunning Hawkes Bay scenery and arranging picture perfect weather. It was a pleasure to get to know you both. Now I look forward to showing you around our patch.
    We are now back on terra firma and today I have made a start of sorting the 100’s of photos….

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    • It was our very great pleasure Pauline! The weather was miraculously wonderful – grey skies and much cooler now. I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of your photos. And who knows – maybe we will be over your way one day!

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  4. We knew Napier is a beautiful city of Art Deco architecture.
    Pauline and I did not know about the fantastic views from Te Mata Peak.
    Jill and John you made our day perfect we felt we were back home.
    Great post too Jill showing just how enjoyable our meeting was regardless of the scenic tour.

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  5. I love playing tour guide! I’ve met a few bloggers (though on their home turf, not mine, so haven’t played tour guide for them yet.) have not a bad experience with any of them 🙂

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    • Hello Violetsky, I have to admit I do like showing off my home town. And you are so right, playing tour guide is heaps of fun, especially when your visitors are as interested and interesting as Pauline and Jack.

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  6. That is the way it should be – I like to believe that if I got a chance to meet some of the folks I have gotten to know through blogging that it would as pleasant and fun as your meeting was. 🙂

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    • Hi Elizabeth, I did feel a bit cautious to start with. It was a first for me – meeting up with someone through social media – but it really was like we’d met before, and i suppose that’s probably because I’ve read many of both Pauline’s and Jack’s posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Never got around to meeting any bloggers in person as yet, Jill. I’d love to and sure that one day it will happen (well I hope it will). I know we’d have so much to talk about.

    Stunning photographs in this post. Looks as if the Autumn has got off to a great start.

    Happy Easter!

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    • Autumn has indeed gotten off to a great start – it still feels like summer! You are so right about having a lot to talk about – we didn’t stop for the entire time. It was a great experience. A belated Happy Easter, Hugh!

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      • I can only imagine. Put a bunch of writers together and I’m guessing the conversation would hardly ever stop.

        Hope you had a lovely Easter. We’ve been blessed with some gorgeous weather here in the UK for the last few days. It felt almost like Summer yesterday. Strange, considering the trees are all still bare.

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  8. This is so awesome and glad to hear you had such a good time! And beautiful pictures too! I met a lot of people I first only knew from social media. Sometimes it’s a bit awkward at first, but sometimes you hit it off straight away. Some people have become close friends and others are just someone from social media now. Because of social media, I have a lot of international friends and I absolutely love it! 🙂

    Happy Easter!

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    • I hope you had a happy Easter, San and thank-you for commenting. I love the way social media has brought the world to my place – especially given that down here we are so far away from most people. It makes the rest of the world seem a lot closer.

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  9. What a nice treat for everyone. You live in a very beautiful area. If I ever get the chance to travel out (over, down) your way, I’ll let you know. I’ve met people I know from my technical blog but none that I know through No Facilities. I hope to be able to do that some day.

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