Today, our youngest and I decided to grab a little one-on-one time together as we haven’t had a ‘date’ for a long time. Leaving the rest of the family to boring clothes shopping, we headed downtown to see the Da Vinci Machines exhibition. While a little smaller and a little more pricey/commercial than I was expecting, we spent an hour or so wandering round looking at and discussing the themed replica exhibits. These ranged from the well-known like the air screw, flying machine and tank to smaller explorations of engineering principles like the wormscrew, column-lifting machine and autolock mechanism.
We both won a bookmark (a.k.a. exhibition advert) by managing to replicating one of Da Vinci’s arched bridge designs from a pile of notched logs. Da Vinci created these designs for the Duke of Milan, Ludovico ‘Il Moro’ to facilitate rapid troop movements across rivers while carrying out surprise attacks. It took us four attempts to get the structure stable enough to bear our weight and one wonders how easy it would have been to build these bridges without access to both sides of the river or under a hail of arrows or flaming shot!
A little peckish from our bridge-building efforts, we crossed the street and wandered into the small, friendly and pleasingly un-commercial Auckland City Farmer’s Market. There we tried out various things to eat including the delicious pita bread cooked on site by the lovely folk at Abu-Melamed Bakery, poppy seed and Parmesan bagels from the bubbly peeps at the Bagel Love stall and great spicy hot dogs with smoky capsicum sauce from two ladies at an unnamed stall. Sharing a sunny table, we talked to a nice couple who came from Hawaii and Sydney (long distance love?) and took a photo for them – in return, they gave us both a big juicy strawberry! We shared a fruit smoothie while we walked over to the Maritime Museum where one of us got our face painted before we walked up and down Queen Street looking in bookshops and chatting. An ice cream in the sun topped off our trip and we slowly headed home for a cup of tea with big grins on our faces.