Nov 14, 2014

Week 6: Wellington, Weta, and Hobbiton

Listen, Chicago, we gotta talk: you call yourself the "Windy City" but I believe Wellington has you trumped for the title. Wearing Oliver and carrying a second backpack, I was still pushed sideways across a busy intersection when the roaring gusts barreled down from the mountains.

Luckily my first night in Windy Wellington was markedly calm and fair; perfect weather for watching the belated Guy Fawkes fireworks show. In the morning there was a sprawling farmer's market where you could buy fresh veggies for cheap and listen to buskers croon mellow hits. Between the sights, food, and public art, I think Wellington really is the "coolest little capital in the world."

If you're wandering around the suburbs of Wellington and happen upon three larger-than-life-size trolls, you've found the Weta Cave -- the Weta Workshop's mini-museum and handmade souvenir shop. Behind glass displays are LOTR movie props such as prosthetic hobbit feet (below), Sting, and various Middle-earth warriors' helmets.

The souvenirs are all crafted in the workshop and are authentic, one of a kind, absolutely unaffordable treasures. If you have a spare $1799 NZD, for example, you can buy your own 10K precious gold (seewhatIdidthere?) replica of the One Ring (below).

Sir Peter Jackson was in Wellington at the same time for a special screening of the third Hobbit movie to superfans, but alas! was not at the Weta Cave when I went. However, during a screening about Weta's origins, I did get to hold Thorin's actual axe from the movie! Talk about cool.

What could top a visit to the Weta Cave? How about a tour of the Hobbiton movie set... pure magic. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

A Hobbit Hole

The Shire; The Waterwheel;
Sam and Rosie's hobbit hole, complete with blooming roses.

Bag End; The Green Dragon (a real cider and alehouse);
And a note from Sir Peter Jackson.

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