Kia Ora from Rotorua

I've made it to the volcanic area in and around Rotorua! Chris and Warwick kindly offered to give me a ride down there from Tauranga and we ended up having lunch in the Redwoods. Yep, Redwoods, as in Californian Sequoia trees! I was so bummed that I didn't have enough time to visit the Redwoods in Cali and now here I am on the other side of the world walking through a Redwood forest *hihihi* I love forests! I know, that's a weird thing to say, but it's true! It's so peaceful... and very relaxing.

They then dropped me off at my new host Carol and the first thing she tells me is that there will be a bunch of other couchsurfers staying at her place as well :) I had some time before the others arrived, so I explored the city a little... It's really peculiar... There is this big lake and everywhere you can see steaming wells and hot springs... kind of scary, if you ask me. It's also a center for Maori culture, so I went to see a village by the lake and there, the volcanic activity came right through the pavement. It's bubbling and steaming everywhere! *crazy* 

one of the many many hot springs in town
The house I stayed in was on the hillside, so we had a fantastic view over the valley and the lake. Apart from me, three chinese couchsurfers and a couple from Spain were staying at Carol's and we all made a very weird but surprisingly delicious dinner on wednesday night. Melody made salat, the boys helped chop up some veggies, I was in charge of noodles with tomato sauce and Glenda made a delicious strawberry desert! It was so much fun! All these different nationalities and no plan whatsoever but it worked anyways ;) 

The next day, Glenda, Jorge and I went on an adventure in their caravan together :) we started in the Redwoods *again* sincce they wanted to see it and I didn't mind going there again. Then, we drove down the road to the blue and green lake. Those two are so much fun! We had a blast! We did a lot of hiking, but we also took some time for fun pictures ;)

The Caravan Crew!
We got a little lost in the woods around the blue lake, then we drove down to the sunken village, but were too broke to pay the 32 $ each for the tour, so we just had lunch there... Lucky for us, a Korean film crew complete with a bunch of Maori guides was just passing through and they were having lunch as well. They had these huge sushi rolls... Jorge went right over and asked them what that was and the next thing we knew, he handed us a roll! The guide had just given it to him - for free :) It was absolutely delicious! (And I don't even like sushi...)

...Jorge made us do it...
Oh man, we had so much fun! It was just perfect! We drove down to another lake to have a swim and a siesta before we headed back into town to check out the bathhouse. New Zealand was a British colony after all. It's fascinating how they mixed the colonial style with Maori carvings at the entrance... Glenda and I used it to meditate ;) 

pretty impressive structure....

To finish off our day, we indulged in the Night market in downtown Rotorua. Now, there's a funny little story as to how we ended up there. Back when we were strolling through the Redwood forest, we ran into these two nice ladies having a picnic on a bench in the parc and we started talking to them. One of them told us about the market, saying that she'll be there too, because her husband will sell traditional Persian food. She encouraged us to come and we decided it sounded like a lot of fun. It offers all kinds of different food, from Italian, Chilenian, Spanish to Thai, Persian or Croatian and they have some live music and a couple of craft stands. So, about seven hours after meeting those two in the forest, we met them again at their food stand at the night market! :D Their falafel-like food was really tasty and the woman instantly recognized the weird, interational trio :D My favorite was the Croatian dessert! I have to get the recipe for that...

meeting new friends in the forest :)

THANK YOU Glenda and Jorge for spending the day with me - I had SO MUCH fun with you guys! Hope to see you again at the crossing or maybe in Europe someday! Couchsurfing is simply the best....

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