There's our little sliding door in Hamilton!
And there's a Christie!
Here's what I was wearing:
denim shirt: H&M
shoes & socks & tank: Target
The hot tub looked like a giant beer vat.
We picked up some breakfast and lunch staples for Greg at PAKnSAVE . . .
lookout! There might be budget-conscious carnivores in the store!
There might also be gluten-free items!
Greg (a budget-conscious carnivore) picked glazed ham.
It contained "mesclun salad," which is just a type of lettuce leaf.
It was a cloudy day, but still sunny, and we didn't get rain.
My trusty crossbody travel bag finally started to show signs of wear on this trip.
I had expected it to last forever!
I looked for a replacement while we were still in New Zealand, but didn't find one, so I found two (!) at Ross after we got home.
We took off to drive to Matamata, where we would see Hobbiton!
We are fans of "The Lord Of The Rings" and (to a lesser extent) "The Hobbit" films, and we were very excited to learn more about the production of the films and see the set for the town of Hobbiton.
Once again, Greg did an amazing job keeping us and everyone else alive even though he was driving in an unusual position and on the unusual side of the road!
Hills started to appear . . .
it already looks like the Shire!
And of course there were cows and sheep.
And surprisingly, deer!
The only deer on New Zealand are domesticated ones.
In fact, the only native mammal on the islands is a thumb-sized brown bat.
Everything else came over later and is destructive to the native habitat.
Look, we made it!
This is the check-in and cafe area. The green buses drive through the surrounding sheep farm to the "town" of Hobbiton, hidden in the hills.
Even the writing in the toilet stalls is in the official Middle Earth font.
The sheep were happy and everywhere.
And the mirror allowed Greg to practice his confused and angry face:
A lot of places carried items made from sheep and POSSUM fur.
Apparently, possums are a huge menace (they eat lots of kiwi bird eggs!), so they are hunted mercilessly and made into socks and gloves!
The cafe even sold "elevensies!"
(That's a meal Hobbits usually eat around 11 am).
We noticed that the sheep found little dug-outs in the hills to nest.
There was a lot of signage . . .
a couple of days before we visited Hobbiton, an American family had gotten in a terrible accident by turning in front of a logging truck and at least one person had died. We prayed a lot about the driving.
The farm is owned by the Alexander family, and they continue to run it as a farm.
Peter Jackson, the director of the films, and his team found the farm in an aerial search and thought it was perfect to be Hobbiton.
There it is!
Our first Hobbit Hole!
The lichen on this fence is fake!
During filming, Peter Jackson had someone hang the washing up every morning and take it down every night. This made the washing look fresh (rather than stiff or dusty) AND it made an appropriate track through the grass that made the town look inhabited.
Because Hobbits are a little more than half the height of a human adult,
many things in Hobbiton are smaller (Hobbit-sized), which makes a typical human look BIG.
These Hobbit holes were used to make humans (and other taller beings) look extremely large.
But this set was also used as the Hobbits' homes, and as such, the homes needed to be an appropriate size for human actors playing Hobbits. So some of the Hobbit Holes are sized to make a human adult look appropriate to live there.
If you've seen "The Fellowship Of The Ring," this is the spot where Frodo greets Gandalf and jumps into his wagon.
If you've seen "The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey," this is the spot where we see Bilbo running out of the Hobbiton, happily yelling, "I'm going on an adventure!"
And this is Bilbo's (and then Frodo's) home, Bag End!
It's at the top of the hill, indicating that the Baggins family is the most wealthy and well-respected family in the village (at least, they WERE until they started going on adventures!)
Unnecessary accidental close-up:
There was ONE model that we could enter and everyone on the tour (or every family) got to choose a pose so our guide could take a picture.
I'm painting a watercolor and Greg is very surprised as he answers the door.
As we continued to walk towards the Green Dragon Inn, the village was visible behind us, and it was beautiful. I'm sure most of us wouldn't mind living there!
In the other direction is the lake.
Hello, we are the Priems, and we are planning to move into BagEnd!
Thank you for welcoming us to your glorious village, Hobbit folk!
Bag End is the only Hobbit Hole that is slightly finished a little way inside.
It makes it look inviting, as if we really could walk right in!
But all the inside stuff was filmed in a studio.
When filming began, there were sheep everywhere (since this land IS a sheep farm),
but Peter Jackson declared that the sheep were too white and too modern, so he had them moved to a different part of the farm and he had older breeds brought in and made dingier.
There's the mill!
The watermill is behind me . . .
and here is Greg, practicing his stupified face:
Here's a little barn next to the Green Dragon Inn:
And here's the watermill:
We had a drink at the Green Dragon
and Greg had a roll.
Look at the name of the town !
Here's Greg's little roll:
I think it was beef and ale or something like that.
Richard Taylor, who founded and runs the Weta Workshop, had signed the guest book, as had Elijah Wood, who played Frodo in "The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy.
Goodbye, modern white sheep!
And then we went out for Indian food!
The server helped me figure out something that was gluten-free and didn't have animal products and it was very good. Slightly too spicy, but I didn't have long-term effects from it.
Greg had a vindaloo.
And then we walked back to our little room.
What a happy and memorable day!
Loved this sign on a bike shop!