‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937)’
And thus opens the The Hobbit. I don’t think that Mr. Tolkien would ever expect his novel to become a reality nor would he ever think it would become a major tourist attraction. And in New Zealand as well!
I spent the 16 hours and 38 minute flight from Dubai rambling on and on to anyone who listen that we would be spending the first day of 2017 in Middle Earth. Even fog, delays, and the never ending sight of stars and ocean beneath us couldn’t exhaust that little thrill that I was going to see Bag End.
I remember sitting there in six grade and my mom handing me a copy of The Hobbit and thinking I would find a book that took more than a few days to read. In fact it took me two days to devour. The moment I read the last line I closed the book and opened it to page one and went on the adventure again.
It was a two hour drive in the darkness from Auckland, watching the sun rise quietly from the back seat. We drove to Matamata which is home to The Hobbit movie set! It’s a small agricultural town with 44 individual hobbit holes. We arrived around 7:30 to storm clouds in the distance. We sat down at a little cafe for breakfast to try to warm up. I wasn’t expecting it to be as cold as it was but even the threat of rain couldn’t diminish the pleasure of seeing little hobbit holes dot the hillside. Brightly colored doors winked in and out as we traveled along the dirt path, up the hill to see Bag End.
‘I’m going on an adventure’ I shouted as I ran across the bridge. I didn’t realize it at the time but looking back I set a thought in movement. That I would treat every journey in this new year as an adventure, regardless of how many times I had been before. We concluded our visit just as it began to rain with a nice cup of cider at The Green Dragon. I toasted the fire as I hummed a familiar tune ‘ . . . But the only brew for the brave and true, comes from the Green Dragon!’
And as all adventures must come to a conclusion we bid farewell to Hobbiton and ticked another journey off the bucket list!