So there we were, tired, hungry, thirsty and disappointed that we couldn't find any accommodation in town at 10pm. If only we had known in advance that it was the busiest weekend of the year in Taupo. "There's a huge concert in town tomorrow!", said the woman working at Rainbow lodge, before suggesting we went up to the freedom camping ground at the top of the hill, our only remaining option according to her. We weren't particularly keen on it, especially based on the fact that we had been in "survival mode" for the past 3-4 hours: we had to climb quite a few steep hills, cycle on gravel roads, hadn't eaten much (no cafes along the cycle trail) and had no water left to drink. We had just arrived in Taupo by night after a 6hr 40mn / 92 km ride and potentially had to cycle an extra 5 km uphill to pitch our tent in the dark. "Sorry guys, good niiiiight!", said the disagreeable woman who just wanted us to leave.
We left and were ready to hop back on our bikes and head to the campground. Just a small stop to pack the food in the bags before the final effort of our harassing day. And then a zebra car pulled up and parked on the sidewalk a few meters from us.
"Where are you heading?", said the guy that heads in our direction while I was putting the strawberry jam away. "You look like you need some help!"
"Errr... Actually we do! We arrived half an hour ago and we're going up to the campground! We don't have any other option." Just above our heads was the "SOLD OUT" sign of the concert happening the following day.
"Well, I might be able to help you out. I'm Alan, nice to meet you."
Alan's place was a little far to reach with our bikes so we left them in front of the Countdown supermarket and boarded the zebra car. A few minutes later, we were invited to pitch our tent in their beautiful garden..."oh actually, since it's a little cold, you can sleep on the floor in the living room. Sorry we have no rooms left because we are already hosting a Brazilian student".
We couldn't believe our luck and how generous and warm-hearted this man was. Elaine, his wife (who was born in Canada), was waiting for us and welcomed us with a huge smile. The following morning, we were treated to pancakes, coffee, toast and even had dinner with the family (plus lunch the following day). We are spending a couple days in Taupo in one of the loveliest and most caring families of the whole of New Zealand!
Thank you so much for your love and support Alan & Elaine (and Brayden, Nicki and Jessica, their 3 children). We hope to be able to return the favor one day, either in Switzerland or Canada.