It’s indeed raining this morning, so a good day to drive a couple of hours again. I’m heading North via the west coast. I first drive into the town Upperhut to get some gas. Just when I’m driving to the gas station I see some flash lights of a police car behind me. I get out of the car and greet the officer. He tells me that I was driving too fast and wants to see my driving license. He tells me that I can continue putting gas in my car and that he’ll be right back. The guy behind the counter in the gas station tells me that it can easily cost 120 dollars if you’re speeding just a bit. For some reason I’m not too worried, I’m just wondering if getting this gas will become more expensive by getting a ticket. When I walk back to my car the officer tells me that I don’t get a ticket, just a warning this time and I’m happy and thankful that this trip doesn’t get more expensive than needed. The rest of the day I’m paying more attention to my speed.

When I drive into a town called Foxton, I see a sign with ‘De Molen’, the Dutch word for Windmill. I’m curious and follow the sign. After just a couple of minutes I see a big Dutch windmill and it brings a smile on my face. It’s nice to see something from home again. I stop in front of the windmill and there is a restaurant called The Dutch Oven. When I walk inside, a friendly lady welcomes me heartily in Dutch. We start a conversation and I really enjoy speaking my own language again for a moment. The interesting thing is that when I’m home, I don’t think too much about being Dutch, but being away so far now I actually feel Dutch when I see all these familiar things again. I get myself a cup of coffee and write my blog.

Driving North via the West Coast
Most friendly Dutch lady
Inside the Windmill
De Molen
Coffee and a Brownie
Dutch products like hagelslag in the mill
The Dutch Oven
Me at the windmill
Driving between beautiful green hills

After finishing my coffee, I go to the windmill and climb to the top. I’ve seen many windmills, but it’s still fun to see another one, especially so far from home. I walk outside on the top, but since it’s still raining I quickly go inside again. At the bottom they sell typical Dutch products like Stroopwafels and Hagelslag. I have a short talk with some guys who moved here 40 years ago and still speak a bit of Dutch. Then I continue driving to the middle of the North Island. I get a glimpse of a snowy mountain, but it’s covered with clouds. I think I’ll see more of it one of these days. The other day I found a map with Lord of the Rings locations in this area and I visit one of the rivers and a very pretty waterfall. It’s a good idea to visit at least some of the locations, because it brings you to the most beautiful places of New Zealand.

Beautiful green hills
Mangawhero Falls Walk
Mangawhero Falls 2
A canyon river
Mangawhero Falls
Driving to an off the grid camping place
A canyon river 2
Me at the Mangawhero Falls
Driving to an off the grid camping place 2

Even though it’s raining today, it’s a nice drive through beautiful landscape. When it’s the end of the afternoon I search for a camping place in the neighborhood and find one with many good comments. It takes a small windy road through green hills to get there. It’s quite remote, there is no cell phone reception or anything. Only one other camper in the corner of the campsite. I park my car, make myself some sandwiches and turn on a movie. When it’s completely dark, I take a look outside, but since it’s raining there are no stars to see. It’s completely dark here, except for a small torch light at the other camper. Somehow it’s almost scary to be here in the middle of nowhere in the dark. The only sound you hear is the rain and the river next to the campsite. I wonder how it’ll look like in the morning and go to sleep when the movie is finished.