Hobbiton

29 Jan

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Somewhere in the middle of the north island of New Zealand lies the small town of Matamata. A twenty minute drive outside of Matamata lies a sheep farm sprawled across IMG_3689rolling green hills. And tucked away in that sheep farm, far from the eyes of passerby (although there are no casual passerby) lies Hobbiton. Yes, Hobbiton, the quaint village inhabited by hobbits from Tolkien’s writing via Peter Jackson’s imagination. These days Hobbiton is a tourist attraction. A shockingly large number of people pay money to poke around hobbit holes and hear about Peter Jackson’s numerous foibles. It goes without saying that we were two such people, because adventure.

James, our world-weary but entertaining guide, spent several hours leading us around Hobbiton. We learned that Peter Jackson was insanely attentive to detail, even for items that received a total of two seconds screen time. He imported British sheep because the New Zealand sheep that actually live on the farm looked too modern. He chopped down, transplanted, and shellacked an entire oak tree. He paid a man to splatter a mixture of yogurt, glue, and who knows what across doors and fences so that they would appear aged enough to have lichen growing on them. In short, he was a bit intense. We also learned that I am officially too tall to have been a hobbit. Extras for the various movies were required to be shorter than 150cm; I’m taller (not by much but still taller!). I’ll take what I can get. 😉

After visiting the hobbit holes and having a bit of a photo shoot, we ended our tour at the Green Dragon, the official watering hole of thirsty hobbits and tourists. We were served home-brewed beer, and indulged in several steak and ale pies. It will come as no surprise that I was tickled pink by hanging out in the hobbit pub, plus a mid afternoon beer on vacation is always a solid choice. All in all, an entertaining way to spend a day!

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