some may argue it's been a long time coming but last night I finally slept in my very own prison cell. Napier backpackers: former Gaol and now home to backpackers and ghosts apparently. Kate and I checked in yesterday and survived the night despite the howling wind and creaky floorboards. Kate has an extreme fear of ghosts and only the journos instinct for a potential story kept her going.... that and half a bottle of red.
The prison dates from around 1870 and has been an army barracks, lunatic asylum and gaol where at least 4 people have been executed. Now it's filled with backpackers and seems amenities have only improved slightly since old times.
It was one of the few buildings to survive the 1931 Earthquake that decimated Napier and became known as NZeds worst natural disaster. So how does it feel to be sitting on the spot where just 75 years ago the earth lifted about 2 metres in height, the city gained about 20 square kilometres from the sea and hundreds were killed? Quite frightening really. Australia may have it's deadly snakes and venemous spiders but new Zealanders seem to live in constant fear of an act of god.
but to their credit... Napiens.... as I hope they're called, rebuilt their city and transformed it into the decorative arts capitol of the world. Geometric shapes, steamlined doorways, zig zags, ziggurats, sunbursts...it's all here in true 1930's fashion. You can tell we did the art deco tour yesterday.... we were the youngest on it by 40 years....
This afternoon we're off the the Wineyards then Wellington bound tomorrow