I just returned from the longest vacation I’ve taken in my adult life. Our family went to Sydney, Australia for a few days, followed by a 13-day cruise of Australia/New Zealand.
It was fantastic. If you ever have the opportunity to do something like that yourself, I highly recommend it. We’re Lord of the Rings fans, so it was great fun to visit Weta Workshop, some sites on Mount Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand, where they filmed key scenes, and Hobbiton Movie Set. (I’ll add some photos to this post, later.)
One interesting (to me) thing that happened is that one day while eating in the buffet area, I noticed a couple with their heads bowed down in prayer before eating their food. Instinctively, my estimation of humanity went down (Yes, I know that there are many smart, wonderful, people who pray as a matter of cultural ritual and don’t reject science or practice intolerance…). Then, I looked a bit closer and noticed that they were both actually reading their Kindles; and my estimation of humanity went back up even more (again, yes, I realize that they could have been reading the Bible, or worse). This says more about my values and prejudices than anything else.
Here are some pictures:
From Weta Workshop:
Here is our great Wellington tour guide. He was actually a stand-in for Bombur in the film:
Here’s where Frodo and friends were hiding from the wraith under the road (the tree wasn’t really there):
Here’s Bag End from Hobbiton Movie Set:
Here’s some carpet from the hallway on the cruise ship. Most of the fish are swimming towards to front of the ship (to make it easier to navigate). I, of course, identify with the red one swimming against the crowd: