With our new Subaru Legacy (aka: Shannon, or The Green Machine) we're now equipped to move around New Zealand with more independence and flexibility than tour buses and train schedules would allow. Also, because she's a station wagon, we've got plenty of space to sleep at night, so we'll be tightening up the accommodation's budget.
However, since buying the car, we have yet to sleep in it because of the generosity of a mutual friend and his family. Instead of squeezing into sleeping bags in the back of our Subaru, we're sleeping in one of many guest rooms within a gorgeous 19th-century mansion.
Last night we pulled up to the estate's tall iron gate and began to question whether we had arrived at the correct address or not. Through the gate, we could see marble statues standing guard over perfectly manicured lawns and white-stone pathways.
Hesitantly, we moved forward and parked Shannon by the front porch. Slowly walking up the stairs to the front door, we laughed to ourselves at the probability that we were at the wrong house and were about to be shooed away as trespassers.
A firm rap on the door's brass knocker and suddenly footsteps could be heard clambering over wood floors towards to the front of the house. We hoped it was our friend, and not a disgruntled aristocrat annoyed at more visitors mistaking his home for a museum. We breathed a sigh of relief as we saw our friend James' smiling face through the window before the door opened.
And so for now, we are staying at a home that neither of us could ever dream of affording, enjoying every moment of luxury before our car camping marathon begins.
We love Shannon, but we love this too.