My friends Matt and Vanessa went on vacation to New Zealand recently. I didn’t get to go. I’ve got 2 kids, and I think it is like a 4 day flight. At least it would feel like 4 days if I tried to do it with my 2 kids. Vanessa and Matt don’t have any children yet, so I am living vicariously through them.
I like to live vicariously through Vanessa, because she doesn’t have any gray hair or wrinkles yet. Except those cute little wrinkles around her eyes when she laughs. My wrinkles aren’t cute. You can see what I mean below.
Anyway, back to the New Zealand trip that I didn’t get to go on. I am a bit of a J.R.R. Tolkien geek. I own all the movies and books, read The Hobbit to my kids and am currently reading them The Fellowship OTR. I own one or two action figures (Treebeard! Bilbo! Gandalf!), Lego sets (really, the Bag End set was for the kids), and I have the key to the back door of the Lonely Mountain that leads to Smaug’s lair hanging from my rear view mirror. So when Vanessa posted on FB that she was off to New Zealand with Matt, I asked about their plans to visit Hobbiton, which I was sure they must be doing, since who in their right mind would fly all the way to New Zealand and not visit Hobbiton?
BTW, I know that it’s not really Hobbiton, but until I see it for my own eyes that it’s not real I’m going to pretend that it is. Same goes for Hogwarts.
When Vanessa and Matt got back I asked to see their pictures from Matamata, which is what non believers call Hobbiton. The scenery was gorgeous, which makes me regret AGAIN how far way New Zealand has the temerity to be from me. I also noticed that there were some odd people hanging out there, besides Vanessa and Matt. Look at some of their photos below to see what I mean.
On their drive out to Matamata it got a bit foggy on the road. It was all well and good, sort of atmospheric really, until this weird guy, dressed all in black, sitting on horse, kept popping up. Asking for Baggins. Matt told them they hadn’t done their shopping yet, they didn’t have any bags (he thought that baggins was plural for bags Down Under), and that they couldn’t help. Even the black rider’s horse looked confused. So Matt and Vanessa kept going.
Then this kind of crazy, old, homeless guy with a giant Q-tip thought they looked a little lost, and was helpfully pointing the way to Matamata. It was kind of annoying the way he kept screaming, “This way, YOU FOOLS!” Whatevs. Some people just like getting worked up. But his directions were spot on!
Soon Vanessa and Matt emerged from the fog into a beautiful glorious day! The sun was shining, the sheep were grazing, and WHAT THE HELL?!? What are they doing here? No, no thank, no Tubby Toast for us. Hobbiton is waiting. No, we don’t want to rub your tummies.
Well, that was unexpected. Anyway, back to Matamata. After arriving Matt and Vanessa headed off on the two hour guided studio tour (insert Gilligan’s Island theme song joke here). The original Hobbiton set used in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy was not preserved, and had to be completely rebuilt for The Hobbit. It will remain as it is now, so hopefully, eventually, sometime before I shuffle off this mortal coil, I’ll get to visit too! A peek at the tour brochure.
Matt and Vanessa got on the bus to take them to the set. They were really happy, so excited to be off on this great adventure together. It would have been a totally perfect moment, except for Mr. Bad Naked, who you can see over Matt’s shoulder. A few ideas for you dude. One, take a shower, a long one. Two, cover up! Three, muttering about lovely fishes and preciouses being stolen and how you hates Bagginses forever makes other people who are stuck on a bus with you really, really nervous. Just saying man, just saying.
Actually stepping out of the bus, onto hallowed ground, made all the uncomfortableness disappear. HOBBITON! HOBBIT HOLES!! ROUND DOORS!!! CABBAGES!!!!
Here is Vanessa by the Party Tree And views in the village of Hobbiton. It’s all so green and lovely.
After the tour it was time for a drink. Vanessa made the acquaintance of two shortish guys who kept calling themselves “The Sexy Dwarves.” They were handsome, if hairy, but Vanessa already had a guy of her own, so they left for greener pastures. Even if she wasn’t with Matt it’s not like she’s that kind of girl anyway. Two dwarves are not always better than one, no matter what Fili and Kili were telling her.
Well, Matt and Vanessa had a tremendous time visiting New Zealand, and made tons of new friends while they were down there. They were married just a few months later in San Diego. Some of their new friends became so close to Vanessa and Matt that they flew in for their wedding! Fili and Kili were not invited.