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21.11.2019 Kia Ora Taranaki. Pronouncing and remembering placenames of Maori origin correctly is quite a challenge to us, but what helps us is learning about the meaning of syllables like 'wai' (water) or 'whanga' (bay), in addition to expressions like 'kia ora' (hello). Interestingly, Aotearoa (the island of the long white cloud) once got its other name, New Zealand, from a Dutch explorer, who named it after the province Zeeland back in the Netherlands. Other placenames came with British settlers, like that of New Plymouth, where we arrived a few days ago, just in time to hide from heavy rain and strong winds. After a long period of good weather it was getting cooler and wetter, and it was amazing to stay a couple of days at Anne's place during the worst bit. Anne is a very well-travelled and knowledgeable lady who passionately defies the stereotype of a typical grandma. She is a backpacker, camper, hiker and cyclist, and it was fascinating and enriching to talk to her over the meals we shared. Coming into New Plymouth felt like finally reaching the seaside, although we had technically been to the NZ coast before. And the special thing about this town is that its black beach is at a stone's throw from the mountains. One afternoon we climbed Paritutu Rock, and with the weather getting better, we caught a glimpse of beautiful Mount Taranaki. It presides over the region with the same name and seemed to look down on us when we cycled on along the coastline. In Opunake, the neat vintage cinema caught our attention, and we got to know Andrew, one of the volunteers running it. He gave us the chance to have a look behind the scenes of this intriguing old but newly refurbished place. Today we ended our day with a beach stroll in Patea, and tomorrow we will leave Taranaki and cycle on to Whanganui. #scoutbound #neuseeland #newzealand #newplymouth #opunake #patea #taranaki #whanganui #helmet #coast #cinema #driftwood #warmshowers #couchsurfing #scouts #dpsg #worldbycycling

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