Moving to New Zealand

Moving to another country is exciting, and the kind of adventure I think everyone should go on at least once. I love to relocate. However, it can also be stressful and overwhelming; there’s a lot of things to consider before you go! Here’s a list of some things to know before moving to New Zealand that’ll make the transition as smooth as possible.

visa

You Need A Visa!

I’m just going to outline the benefits of a Working Holiday Visa as it’s the only experience I have and is most common among backpackers, but there’s a list of all Visa types listed on NZ’s Immigration website.
A Working Holiday Visa will only be granted to those under 30 (or 35, for some nationalities).
There are some other requirements which are clearly outlined here, but I’ll be honest, they don’t ask for proof of half these things. ie. No one checked my bank account, and no one asked to see a ticket home (which is great ’cause I don’t have one).

Brits and Canadians are given the option between a 1 or 2 year Working Holiday Visa.
Other nationalities can apply for 1 year, and they’re all quite easy to have approved as long as you’re not a convict.
The cost of either visa is around $200 NZD.

2 years – You’ll require both a chest x-ray and medical exam (includes blood work) which will run you about $600, and you need to choose from a list of pre-approved physicians. You can find the one closest to you by searching this list.

1 year – no medical exam, but you may have to get a chest x-ray if you’ve been to a country that isn’ton this list of places with low incidents of TB. DO look it over, you’d be surprised. The x-ray can cost anywhere between $80 and $300. Strive for $80. I drove to a city 45 minutes out of my way for a cheaper radiologist, and it was the best $220 I ever saved. If you can’t find the price online, you can call up and ask.
If you don’t need the x-ray, you’re in the clear! You can just roll up and start livin’.

Brits and fellow Canadians: I would advise that you get the 1 year visa for starters. You can always extend it later! What if you spend all that money and go through the headache (and shot to the wallet) of the medical exam, just to decide you want to go home after 8 months? When you’re applying for jobs and employers ask about your visa status, a Working Holiday Visa is a Working Holiday Visa. They don’t care if it’s 1 or 2 years, and you’re often not even given the option on an application to specify.

Other Nationalities: There’s an option for you to extend your visa for another 3 months if you’re cool with farm work. 3 months of rural work will earn you 3 more months of fun in the land of the kiwis.

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 12.46.53 PM

You Need a Job!

Join job boards and websites like Indeed, Seek, and TradeMe. There’s always The BackpackersBoard and Facebook groups for odd jobs too.

There’s also recruitment agencies, which I never considered before I arrived. Companies like Beyond, Velocity, and Salt will help you find temp work. The upside to this is that you don’t have to commit to anything and can have some freedom to travel around between jobs. The types of employment they recruit for varies, as does the length of each contract.

I got ahead of myself and started applying for jobs way before I left Canada. Like, months in advance. That was unnecessary. Employers are going to be way less interested in you as a candidate if they can only meet over Skype, next to someone who’s ready, in the country, and able to start right away. Take it easy, touch down, travel around a little, decide where you’d like to stay, and then start your search. There’s tons of work if you’re not picky about what kind of job you’re after!

Some of the easiest work to find:
– Fruit Picking/Farm Work (hang out at a winery, anyone?)
– Barrista (Kiwis live for the flat white)
– Server/Bartender (Wellington has 40956837 cool bars and restaurants)
– Sales (lots of fundraising stuff)
– Construction (I know a guy who removes asbestos, for example)
– Au Pair (I saw one posted where half the time would be spent in Fiji…not a bad gig)
– Data Entry, Admin, Customer Service, Accounting, etc. (Contract – through recruiters)

These jobs require little to no experience and employers are familiar with hiring foreigners with Working Holiday Visas.
The minimum wage in NZ is about $16/hr.

28175817_10151072916799963_673523774_n

You Need Somewhere to Sleep!

You’ll be staying in hostels for the first little while, which is a great way to make friends when you arrive in a new place! The cost of a cheap dorm room is about $20-$30 per night.

When you’re ready to find a flat, get on the Facebook groups. Before I arrived I joined some groups in Auckland and Wellington, just to get a vibe for the rent prices and what kind of accommodation I could expect for my budget.

Be prepared to have roommates. Many, many, roommates. The cost of living in New Zealand is high, and there are no skyscraper condos with tiny individual apartments, so you’ll most likely be sharing a big house with 4 to 7 other people. Unless you’re coming over here with your recent lottery winnings, you will not be able to afford living alone.

28233069_10151072841479963_311089045_n

 

You Need to Pay for Stuff!

While the Euro, Canadian, American, and Australian Dollars are worth more than that of New Zealand (at the time this post was published), everything is straight up more expensive.

Some General Price Listings ($NZ)
Hostels: $20-30/night

A bottle of Coca-Cola: $4 (They have vanilla Coke here guys!)

A bottle of water: $4 (but you have no reason to be buying those, the water here is clean and plastic bottles are ridiculous #BoycottNestle)

A standard budget meal: $13-20 (You can find some good lunch specials)

Groceries: $50 for a stir-fry dinner between 3 people (fruit/veg are crazy expensive)

Flat White/Tea at a Cafe: $4

Pint: $6 cheap (Tui), $10+ craft (but Wellington is the home of craft so you gotta try some)

24-cheap bottles from the super market: $30

Decent bottle of wine: $10+

Uber Fare From Auckland CBD to Ponsonby: $10
Uber Fare from Wellington Central to Newtown: $8

Petrol/Gas: $2/litre

Car Rental: $30-40/day (depends on length of rental)

Bottle of shampoo/conditioner: $4 each

1 zone bus fare, Auckland: $3
1 zone bus fare, Wellington: $2

Airport Bus – Auckland: $18
Airport Bus – Wellington: $9

Wifi: $6/day at some hostels. I’ve found any free/included wifi is usually shit, and if you want something that works you need to pay. However, you can always count on a solid free wifi connection at places like:
⁃ The Public Library
⁃ McDonalds
⁃ Starbucks
Or, life hack – find a cute cafe, pay for a coffee, get unlimited free wifi.

Phone Plan-Per Month: $40 Vodaphone 4GB, unlimited texts, 500 minutes.

Rent in a shared house: $900/month (but rent is paid weekly)

Cost of a flight here: $1400 (depending on where you’re coming from, of course)

I suggest showing up with at LEAST $5000 NZD.
You’ll easily spend $60+ per day, which means you’ll only survive here for maybe a month and a half without a source of income. You want to be able to do all the fun things when you get here! Fun things cost money!

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to in my life.
With mountains, volcanoes, beaches, hot springs, glow worm caves, wineries, craft breweries, and so much more, you’ll have no shortage of things to do during your Working Holiday year!
Go live your best life!

Here’s my suggested itinerary, built with IQPlanner, for your first few days in Auckland!

Take me there!

Waitangi Day and Mystery Dorm Mates

Alright so after barely having made my 7am flight from Auckland to Wellington, I made it here in one piece and now have about 5 hours before I can check into my hostel. Grand.

I can leave my bags in the luggage storage at least, so I abandon everything except my laptop and go for breakfast. I’ve made a rookie mistake with this flight. I always think I’ll be so thrifty, book the cheapest airfare, and sacrifice an early morning to save myself 20 bucks. Well. Guess what? The breakfast I’m now eating to kill time is gonna cost me about 20 bucks.

“This has been the worst trade deal in the history of trade deals, maybe ever.”

Next I go exploring. I find my way down to the waterfront which is full of good vibes. I’ve been here 10 minutes and I think I already prefer Wellington to Auckland. Everywhere I look there are buskers, people on long boards and bicycles, art installations, street art, food trucks, tons of cute cafes and restaurants. It’s got everything!

The only downside so far is the weather. It’s a beautiful day today, but windy as hell and I’ve been told that’s normal. The winters get rainy and even more windy. While it’s not -20 like back home…I’m not sure I want to commit to that. I have some pretty fabulous hair, but when it’s up I look bald, and I’ll never be able to wear my hair down here if it’s so windy! Do I want to be bald for a year? Not particularly.

I’ve forgotten it’s Waitangi day, the national holiday. Maybe that’s why the city is so alive, bu I expect it’s like this all the time. On my way back up to the hostel I walk through a park with a stage and listeners lounging in the sun on blankets. Some kids are performing what I can only assume is a traditional Maori song in honour of the holiday. Okay, so this is probably not here all the time. Fair.

2pm finally comes around and I can check-in. I’ve purposely chosen the cheapest hostel in the city, Lodge in the City, despite its 6/10 review on Hostelworld. I can deal with whatever, but it soon becomes apparent why it has its reputation. Firstly, just 30 minutes of free wifi per day. That’s absurd. Secondly, I’m on the ground floor and my closest washroom is directly opposite reception which isn’t a big deal BUT what does suck, is that it doesn’t have a shower. The showers, which are co-ed, are on the first, second, and third floors. So I have to walk through reception and up a flight of stairs just to get clean.

If the showers were close and co-ed, no big deal. If the showers were far and all female, I could deal. However with this configuration, if I forget to bring a top with me, I’m not going alllllll the way back to my room, and now have to worry about a nip slippin’ while I blow dry my hair. Most undesirable.

At least I get a bottom bunk.

I’ve not been on my bed for 2 minutes before I’m invited out to a festival with a British guy and Italian girl who share my room. I love how social hostels are. We head back down to the waterfront where I’ve just come from, and find the park with the stage. We pick up a couple beers from the supermarket across the street and lay out on the lawn. The music has changed from the children’s choir to another Māori artist who I reckon is quite famous here. He has the traditional Maori tattoos covering his entire face and mixes the two languages in his songs. It’s rad.

Next another band comes on, with a more reggae style, but still honouring their Maori roots. They’re called Tomorrow People, and lots of the crowd is singing along. We get up and dance near the end when they’re playin’ their most popular bangers. They entertain us for an hour or so before the final act takes the stage. Everyone is chillin, relaxing after the reggae tunes. Then BAM the next band is a hardcore rock, bordering on screamo group. Not exactly family friendly holiday out in the park kinda music, but it’s entertaining nonetheless. I fall asleep on the lawn during their set because I’m so tired. I pride myself on being able to sleep anywhere but…who’d have thought I could sleep through something so intense? I’m an expert level napper.

I go back to the hostel for a miserable second floor shower. It’s not as bad as I expected but it’s neither enjoyable nor is it convenient.

Some of my hostel mates and I go for some drinks out, but come back relatively early and retire for the night. I fall asleep almost instantly.

When I wake up, the guy sleeping adjacent to me starts up a conversation.

“hey! Who was that guy sleeping under your bed last night?”

“Excuse me?”

“That wasn’t a friend of yours?”

“Was WHO not a friend of mine?”

“There was a guy sleeping under your bed, man”

And then two more of my dorm mates confirm. Everyone had just assumed I had a friend who didn’t want to pay for a room and let him in but uhhhh NOPE. I check my bags and all my stuff is still here…but I’m creeped tf out. Laughing, but that’s definitely not cool. It’s probably best that I DIDN’T see the guy before he left in the early morning because if I’d have woken up to an arm below my bed, I might have died. Or he would have.

A human. crawled. under there. 

The identity of this dude is still at large; as is how he got into our room.

There’s a huge depression in my bed from where I’ve been sleeping on my pathetic mattress, to boot.

I’ve booked 4 nights here and I’m not weirded out enough to leave, but if I plan on staying in Wellington to find work, I should probably upgrade my accommodation.

Today was an expensive day.

Airport bus: $17

Flight: $60

Airport bus $9

Hostel $20

Breakfast $20

Lawn beers $4

Dinner $15

Pints out $20

Total: $165

Ahhhhhhhh. It all happened so fast!

I need a job. Like now.

Rotorua to Lake Taupo

As I have previously mentioned, it’s frustratingly difficult to get around here without a car. My fun German companions from yesterday have all checked out of the hostel, which means I’ve also lost my wheels. I do some mapping to figure out what activities I can get to today, and realize I literally require a car if I want to do anything cool. I’ve never driven on this side of the road, but there’s no time like the present, so I say let’s dooooo this, and rent a car. When I tell my Texan dorm mates about my plan, they decide to tag along which is great because now we can split the cost.

We pick up a rental from the Hertz literally next door to our hostel for $47, and head towards Kerosene Creek. This is an area with a naturally heated creek (obviously) that’s a suitable temperature for swimming.

I’m a little uneasy getting into the car for the first time, and the weirdest part about it is probably that the turn signal switch is on the opposite side, but staying in the left lane is just fine. Within 15 minutes I’m cruising stress-free.

We follow a little trail down along the water until we find a good spot to take a dip. I channel a little Kiwi and go shoeless for the walk. No one here is ever wearing shoes, I swear.
Some parts of the sand in the creek are insanely hot. If you dig down a little it’s unbearable, but the water temperature itself is perfect. Of course, there’s that yucky sulphur smell that comes along with any Geothermal pool, and call me crazy, but I’ve come to like it. It reminds me of beautiful places. Places like this, like Iceland. It’s grown on me.

As have the Texans. They’re tons of fun to be around and we’ve discovered there are millions of other topics besides gun laws!

Next up on our docket is the Lady Knox Geyser. We’re just blindly choosing places to go based on what we can see on Google Maps. There’s so much cool stuff in this area we can’t go wrong.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Some stuff you have to pay for, like this Geyser. Before seeing a price we decide to cap it at $5. Anything more and we’ll find something else to do. Well, it’s a whopping $32.50 for entry to this “Thermal Park”, and thats straight up not even close to within budget, so we move on. Byeeeee!

We decide to take the long drive down to Lake Taupo. We get 200 free kilometres on the car, and Taupo is pushing it a little, but we should still make it there and back under the limit.

We stop at a view point above Huka Falls on the way. It’s got some of the brightest blue water I’ve ever seen un-glaciated. I don’t understand.

Finally we reach Taupo, which is a MUCH more lively town than Rotorua. Rotorua actually has a really weird ghost town vibe. I’m not a fan. Most things are closed on Sundays, which is when I’d expect most people to be visiting? The weekends, no? It’s somehow acquired the nickname “RotoVegas” and while I’ve never been to Vegas…I can promise you it’s nothing like this. Anyway. Taupo makes more sense and is cooler.

We get out for a walk along the path surrounding the lake, and encounter a funny little driving range…aimed out into the water. I’m not much of a golfer (or a golfer at all) but one of the Texans is. He buys a basket of 25 balls for $20 and starts driving ’em out towards this floating dock. There’s a “hole in 1” target, but the staff say it’s only ever reached about once every two weeks. The best part is the scuba diver out there, retrieving balls in his bright yellow helmet. Imagine having that job? Hilarious.

Please note the gator boots!!

The boys are set on buying some Jade jewelry so we find a cute little shop selling everything from necklaces to table ornaments in the shape of kiwi birds. I’m trying to stick to as low a daily budget as I can manage, but I find this really cute Paua shell necklace for $19 so I buy it. Paua can only be found around New Zealand which makes it unique to me, and it’s a super pretty iridescent blue so I can’t help myself.

On the drive back to Rotorua I want to stop at some mud baths, which Google tells me are free. Turns out I totally confused the mud baths with bubbling mud pools, which are not the same. I pictured a mud spa tub where I could relax and slather myself in clay. But no, the bubbling mud pools are way too hot to touch, so we get to admire from behind a fence. It’s a fun stop to make anyway because they’re pretty rad looking.

After the pools we’re getting close to our kilometre limit so we head back to the hostel. We use the car to go pick up groceries from the “Pak n Save”, which I can equate to Costco without the membership fee. It’s hella cheap. We pick up some veg, shrimp, and chicken for dinner and cook two different epic stir frys.

Tomorrow I’m heading back to Auckland for a night, before catching a flight down to Wellington. I love a good city, but it’s clear that the best thing New Zealand has to offer is its incredible nature. I plan to settle in a city but now that I’m an expert left-side driver, I’m thinking I might invest in a car for weekend getaways.

Daily Costs

$47 car rental

$8 breakfast

$20 hostel

$10 for a third’s share of a 24 pack of beers

Free tea/coffee at the hostel

Free entry to Kerosene Creek, Huka Lookout, wandering around Lake Taupo, and Mud Pools.

Total Day Costs $85

(Plus my $20 necklace but that was unnecessary…)

Paid by the Texan boys:

$35 petrol (for half a tank)

$50 dinner groceries

Take me there!

Rotorua – Redwood Forest

After arriving in Rotorua in the late afternoon, I didn’t have much time to do any exploring yesterday. I settled into my hostel, The Spa Lodge (which is mad cute, by the way) and went to a local pub, Pig and Whistle, for some live music in the evening with my dorm mates.
Ohhhh, my dorm mates.
My 8-bed room is mostly German, with the exception of 2 undeniably American Americans. They are like a walking stereotype. Gator skin boots, camo, a tattoo of Texas, star spangled banner swim trunks, the whole deal. After spending a few hours together, one of them pointed out I was the first person they’ve met on the road who didn’t ask them about Trump. I had absolutely zero interest in having that conversation with them, because I knew exactly how it’d go. Having been raised on political discussions around the dinner table, I have developed strong opinions and a love for debate. However, I don’t see this one going well.

We all spent the night dancing and talking about literally everything else, having a grand ol’ time, but once back at the hostel we slipped up, something sparked a discussion, and a heated argument broke loose. One of the Germans acted as a moderator while the Americans and I hashed it out…until 4am. Oops.

So this morning I’ve gotten up to meet the Germans for a hike through the Redwood Forest, unsure of whether or not the Americans and I are still cool. They’re still asleep so I won’t know until later.

Most travellers I’ve met here in New Zealand have rented or bought a car. All the best spots are often far from the city centre and it’s really the only way to get around. Buses can take you between major locations, but otherwise you have to go with a tour package and I have no interest in doing that. Even though the Redwood Forest is relatively accessible from our hostel, there’s a difference of an hour walk or a 5-minute drive. Luckily, one of these guys has a car.

It’s a rainy morning which has brought out the contrasted colours of rusty red and lush green in the forest. I’m not a botanist or anything, but I never expected Redwood trees to grow in the same area as these giant, Jurassic Park-resembling fern trees. It makes for a super interesting trail. Entrance to the park is free, unless you want to follow the hanging bridges that are hung up in one small area of the forest, which looks pretty damn cool, but it’s also $25, so no thank you. We follow the arrows for a 3 hour route, which ends up taking us a little longer because we get lost more than once. I swear someone has stolen some of the arrows off the posts just to confuse us. Rude.

The 3 people I’m hiking with are all lovely. One thing I’ve noticed about German people when traveling is that they are really considerate of the language barrier and will speak to each other in English even when I’m not necessarily involved in the conversation, just to be polite. Usually other people revert back to their native languages which doesn’t bother me in the slightest, but I still think it’s really nice of them to keep me in the loop.

By the end of the hike my legs are pretty tired and I’m dreading how I’ll feel tomorrow. I’m a city walker; flat surfaces only. I can’t handle this incline business. Fortunately, our $20/night hostel has its own geothermal sulphur spa pool! and it’s free!In the morning, before it’s filled

We take a dip to relax when we get back to the hostel, and I run into the Texans. We have a quick awkward like, “heyyyy sorry ‘bout the yelling…I stand by everything I said….but we good? Yeah we good. Good.”

We vow not to talk about it again, though.

Costs for the Day
$20 hostel
$20 dinner
Free park entry
Free ride
Free tea/coffee at the hostel

Total: $40

Take me there!

Rangitoto Island

Guys. I have to tell you about how much I love this cafe. It’s my new home. There’s a “take a book, leave a book” shelf, couches, solid wifi, a decent selection of teas, a giant window I can sit in with my laptop, and a random little vintage pac-man arcade game in the corner. I’m obsessed. This is where I spend every morning.

27498125_10151063582039963_1681081001_n27497383_10151063582034963_780049436_n

I’ve been operating without much of a plan each day. The only problem with this is that all the activities around Auckland require a bit of travel time and therefore a bit of planning. I decide it’s a good day for hiking, and look up ferries to Rangitoto; an island visible from the Auckland port, and home to a dormant volcano! It’s not painfully expensive at $33 return, especially when you consider that’s the same price as visiting the Sky Tower (Auckland’s imposter CN Tower – erected 20 years later, I might add).
A volcano hike seems like a pretty good bang for my buck!
The last ferry heading to the island is in an hour, so I rush back to my hostel to change into some more appropriate hiking gear and walk down to the ferry terminal.

Before boarding the boat, we’re asked to clean our shoes off on these little brush things stationed outside the entrance, and to check our bags for rats, mice, and ants. Yeah, alarming. Apparently people find them in their bags “more often than you’d think” and I am horrified to even look. Thankfully, I’m clean.
Rangitoto has a fragile and well-contained ecosystem that New Zealand is working hard to preserve while still allowing for tourism. There are no shops, hotels, cafes, or anything on the island. Not even a place to fill up a water bottle, so they advise you to bring all the water and/or snacks you might need for the day. I didn’t know this in advance, so I’m extra stoked that I thought to bring my reusable water bottle, and filled it before I left!

In half an hour, we’ve arrived on the other side, and I head straight for the trail. It’s 1:45, and the last ferry back to Auckland is at 3:30 so I want to get a move on. It’s possible to leave after the last ferry, but it’s an extra 50 bucks, and that’s a hard no from me.

27707786_10151063594964963_1472093586_o
arriving on the island – I don’t know what’s in the little house!

I follow black trails lined sometimes with unfamiliar trees, and at other times with nothing but stark black volcanic rocks. The higher the trail takes me, the better the view becomes. It’s an easy walk, especially for the first half as it’s pretty flat. I’m a city walker; Toronto has no hills. I’m not used to all this stair and hill climbing, and it’s roasting hot out. If this path weren’t partially shaded, I might have died from heat stroke. I apply my weak 30SPF sun screen twice during the walk, just to be sure I don’t burn.

Once at the top there is a view point that looks out over the old volcano crater, which is now entirely covered in greenery. Without the sign post to tell me what it was, I’d never have known. The real sight though, is the 360 degree view around the island. You can see Auckland off in the distance, and epic teal blue waters all around. Pretty fantastic for a 1 hour hike.

27606180_10151063594994963_1766880300_o
You can see the fake CN tower from here!

I soak up the views, finish the rest of my water, and head back down. I end up chatting with a nice elderly couple from Malaysia on my way down, who start a conversation by calling out “where are you from!?” as I pass them on the trail. We talk about Malaysia, Canada, and they tell me all their opinions about “Mr. Trump”. They’re pretty adorable.

I’m back down to the pier by 3pm and have 30 minutes to spare, so I find a shaded bench where I can lay down and take a little siesta, but set an alarm so I don’t miss the last ferry. Not that spending the night here wouldn’t be rad af.

When the boat arrives they have so much trouble docking due to the high winds, that they have to try 3 times. I’m a little concerned about the choppy waters back to the city, which weren’t this bad on our way over this afternoon.
They make an announcement on the way back that “If anything should happen, life vests can be found in the lockers”…which I notice are secured and tied up with ropes, so if this ship starts goin’ down, I’m pretty sure I’m done for. R.I.P.

After more trouble docking back in Auckland, we make it safely off the boat and I head back to the hostel. I have to double take when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I look like a god damn tomato. Noooooooooooo! I applied my sunscreen! I tried to be responsible! I am heavily regretting leaving the 100SPF in my drawer back in Canada. I brought that Nicaragua a couple years ago, and came back just as pasty white as when I left, so I didn’t wanna go totally tan-less again. Huge mistake. I knew about the absence of ozone layer down here but… I thought double sunscreen would do it. Nope. How embarrassing. Now I gotta walk around like this for the next few days. So much regret.

Aside from the burn – solid day.

I go out at night and try to get a look at this blue moon/super moon/eclipse thing, but it’s too cloudy, which is tragic.

Costs for the Day

$16 breakfast at Remedy Coffee

$33 return trip to Rangitoto

$16 for 2 pints at a pub in the viaduct area

$8 fast food wrap for dinner

$20 hostel

Take me there!

Piha Beach

Wandering around Auckland has been fun, but I’m dying to see some of what New Zealand is most famous for – it’s beautiful wilderness and beaches! I’ve found that getting around is almost impossible without a car, and while I made sure to get my international driving permit before I left Canada…I’m still not sure I’m ready to drive on the other side of the road. I still haven’t even gotten used to walking on the opposite side, much less driving.  Continue reading “Piha Beach”

Last Day/Beach Day

3 weeks have never flown by so fast. I feel like I just arrived in Athens, but somehow today is my last day. If I had the money to survive here longer, I would love to stay and keep working at the refugee residence. Continue reading “Last Day/Beach Day”

Cold Waterfalls and Highway Driving

We survive the night without any demonic activity from the creepy candle lit church.
It’s out by morning.

We get an extremely early start for our hike. We don’t have time to summit so we’re just doing a 2 hour climb instead, before getting on our way back to Athens.  Continue reading “Cold Waterfalls and Highway Driving”

Monasteries and Mt. Olympus

Bells are sounding off in the distance. It’s still dark outside, but I suppose this is to wake the residents of the monasteries. We hear them first from our neighbouring cliff, and then faintly from somewhere much further away. The sound bounces between the mountains and rocks to reach us in our little fort beneath the trees. The moon has risen and I catch a glimpse of more falling meteors before drifting off to sleep again.  Continue reading “Monasteries and Mt. Olympus”