Last night on the bus was actually a lot better than I expected it to be, which was a huge blessing! I think I got about 6 or so hours of good sleep. I chose the two seats behind another seat that was broken so it was leaned back all of the way. So no one wanted to sit behind that one. Which meant I could lay down on that seat. 😀 There are definite perks to being short when it comes to travel! 🙂 I was able to curl up on the two seats and lay flat and cover up with my jacket and it was fairly comfortable. We arrived in Wellington at about 7AM and nothing was open at that hour, so I hung out at the train station for a few hours while I waited. I did some reading and journaling and did a few things online until around 9, when I headed out to find the place where I am staying tonight and tomorrow night. I was following the Google maps directions to get there but it was trying to take me up quite a few stairs so I just went ahead and called an Uber to take me the rest of the way. Definitely $5 well spent, especially considering how hilly Wellington is.
The place where I am staying belongs to a girl that I met at church a few months ago when I stayed in Wellington for the first time. She is actually in Australia at the moment and said that I could stay in her room, which is super sweet of her! 🙂 It is such a blessing not to have to pay for a hostel for a few nights.
Once I got to her place I dropped off my things in her room and napped a little while I charged up my phone. By then it was around noon and I headed out to do some exploring. First I headed toward the World War 1 memorials and museum. On my way I saw this artwork
Wellington is so interesting and has so many random things like that everywhere.
Once I found the memorials, I looked around and read the information at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park
and the National War Memorial
After that I headed into the The Great War Exhibition museum
I was just going to pay $15 to do the self guided tour but the guy selling the tickets convinced me to do the guided tour for $25. Which I am actually really glad I did, because it was close to an hour long tour and I was the only one on that particular tour, so it was very personalized and the girl who showed me around did a great job and was very sweet. 🙂 It was really nice to get the overview of the war from her explanation instead of having to read everything. I didn’t take any pictures while she was showing me around because I just wanted to listen, but I was able to go back through a second time after the tour and get pictures. 🙂
The first part is really neat and they have it set up like a real street in Europe (can’t remember where) and apparently it actually looks like that now!
They also had quite a few uniforms on display and my guide showed me how at first they had more bright colors and unique features but they changed them later on because they were easy to target. She also said that WW1 is considered by some to be the first modern war, because that is when they started using airplanes, tanks, and submarines for war.
The English also used some of their double decker buses for transport during the war, that struck me as a pretty big vehicle for that time period!
Each of the areas were based around one year of the war and they each had an entrance like this that looked like a headstone and had the year on it with a phrase that summarized the year’s conflict
This was one exhibit that showed what a trench looked like (but it wouldn’t have been so clean)
This display was very powerful, it shows what an area looked like before the war
and then after
There was also a tank on display, which was very interesting. My guide said that they were developed in secret, so they were a huge surprise to the Germans when they arrived on the battlefield. I can’t imagine suddenly seeing one for the first time!
This was also the first war where chemicals were used as weapons. My guide talked about how the government controlled what was released to the public about the war (including in letters written by soldiers), so people at home (and volunteering) had no idea how bad it really was. The top part of this artwork was used to recruit for the war. The part below that was done by an artist after the war, showing soldiers coming back after being hit by mustard gas. 😦
These numbers are mind blowing and so sad!
Country Total men mobilised during the war Total military deaths
Russian Empire 12,000,000 1,811,000
Great Britain 8,689,467 887,711
France 8,410,000 1,400,217
Italy 5,615,000 651,000
USA 4,355,000 117,145
India 1,440,437 73,895
Japan 800,000 4,850
Romania 750,000 335,706
Serbia 707,343 365,164
Canada 628,964 64,997
Australia 412,953 62,123
Belgium 267,000 58,637
Greece 230,000 5,000
South Africa 136,070 9,592
New Zealand 128,525 18,166
Portugal 100,000 7,222
Montenegro 50,000 13,325
Siam 1,284 19
German Empire 11,000,000 2,036,897
Austria-Hungary 7,800,000 1,494,200
Ottoman Empire 2,850,000 771,884
Bulgaria 1,200,000 87,500
(the places where I left blanks were left out of the information in the museum, maybe those countries didn’t lose any soldiers?)
My guide told me that because of the percentage of New Zealanders that went to war (there were only about a million people in New Zealand at that point) and because units were grouped by where they were from, it was extremely devastating. So if a unit was killed, it wasn’t uncommon for that to mean that nearly all of that town’s young men were killed. Knowing that, it makes a lot more sense why New Zealand puts so much emphasis on remembering that war.
This museum was very well done and I am glad that I took the time and money to see it. 🙂
After I left the museum it was about 3PM and I was very hungry by now since all I had eaten today was a muffin and two meringues. So I headed to Cuba Street to get something from Fidel’s since I had read great reviews of it. Although I almost changed my mind and went here instead because it looked really good, smelled amazing, and I have a weakness for food trucks. 🙂
But I decided to go on to Fidel’s and I got a Cubano sandwich to go.
It had pickles, mustard, sandwich meat ham, and shredded pork on it, and maybe something I am forgetting. It kinda sounds like an odd combination but it was amazing. 🙂
I took it down the steet a little way and sat along Cuba Street and listened to a busker and people watched while I ate. After that I wandered down the rest of Cuba Street and then went by the library to see if it was open (it wasn’t) and then went by another museum to check it’s hours for tomorrow. After that I headed back to where I was staying because I didn’t want to be out after dark. On my way back I saw a few interesting things…
Wellington trash cans are odd, I wonder why they make them like this…
Tuis are probably my favorite New Zealand bird. 🙂 I saw one fairly close up but I couldn’t get a good picture unfortunately.
I saw this beautiful cat, who was staring at something intently but I couldn’t figure out what it was
and the sun starting to set on Wellington made for a nice view. 🙂
Once I got back to the place for the night, I got ready for bed, blogged, and read for the rest of the night and went to sleep around 7 because I was pretty tired.