Thursday, January 31, 2013


What a marvelous day we had! It turned out to be a bit windy for the ferry ride, so we changed our plans and went to Zealandia today.

Zealandia ( is a nature preserve right in Karori (just outside of Wellington) that has been specially fenced to keep out predators. Visit the website for more information about this fantastic preserve.

We saw many small birds flitting about the place as soon as we entered. We were heading towards the Takahe feeding area so that we would catch them being fed. There is one older pair of these flightless birds living in the sanctuary - they are no longer successfully breeding so have been moved here. They are the rarest birds in the world so we were really lucky to get a good look at these two. Much bigger than chickens, and with longer legs and large beaks they are very prehistoric looking - it is not hard to believe that birds are descended from dinosaurs when looking at these birds.

As we continued along the path we passed an area known to be home to Tuatara - ancient "lizards". We saw 3 sunning themselves on the cliffs and in the leaf litter. I don't have Shenna here to remind me of all the interesting things about these creatures, but they do grow (slowly) to a length of 60cm, and can live up to 60 years.

We saw many native birds as we continued along the route - Tui, Bellbird, North Island Robin, Hihi, and finally a Fantail.

Finally the bird that I'd been waiting to see - New Zealand's native parrot the Kaka. They are large (bigger than Grace), brown parrots with a reddish underbelly. We had just missed the main feeding, but there were still a few hanging around gorging on the liquid in the feeders. They were also fed some parrot pellets imported from America (I should have asked which brand!) in special feeders that were geared to open only when a 500+ gram bird sat on the perch. We stayed around and watched them until they disappeared into the forest.

I missed seeing the Kakariki which is a shame as they are cute little parrots. I think their feeding had been earlier in the day.

We walked and walked along the paths (some of which were marked too steep for mobility vehicles, and seriously some of the paths that weren't marked that way seemed too steep for them too!). We counted the steps up to a viewing platform - 98 + the two flights on the platform itself. We walked up to the entrance to the gold mine, but it wasn't open for viewing (Kirsten got her iPhone to light up and went partway into the tunnel so that we could see the Cave Weta, creepy big insects). We walked over a suspension bridge, and over the top of the dam.

The dam was built on a fault line (bad idea), so recently they decided to drain it for safety sake. It wouldn't be an ideal spot to be standing during an earthquake.

We also spent some time in the excellent exhibition where they had videos, stuffed creatures, etc.

By the time we got home, after our 4 1/2 hours of walking around, we were all beat. The girls mustered enough energy to go ride their ponies (!), and Kirsten got supper going and then headed out to go for a walk with the ponies and do the chores. Me? I stayed back and did a few little things and wrote this blog post (with my feet up!). We plan on going on the ferry ride tomorrow, but who knows how we will really feel as we've had day after day after day of activities. I don't think I've spent a whole day anywhere since I left home.

Happy Tails!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Just Two Weeks Left

Time here is going pretty quickly - it seems hard to believe but there is only 2 weeks left - I leave here Wed Feb 13.

Today I slept in until almost 10am - I am getting totally exhausted by all this activity :-) It was another hot day, almost too hot to do much out in the sun so we decided to finish up some of the back-to-school shopping and head into Wellington to THE mall. There is another one somewhere outside of Wellington, but I guess it is a fair distance from Karori/Macara (as was the one we did go to). First we stopped in a little ballet shop to get some new slippers for Nissa.

The mall was much like a mall anywhere - some of the shops were the same (Footlocker), but there were other shops that were different. We popped into the Canterbury shop where they sell the "All Blacks" stuff - $120 for a golf shirt - Carm is obviously not getting one of those! I'd buy myself the "one ring" before I'd shell out that for a tshirt...

Nissa snagged a new pair of shoes at the mall and is very excited as they were a ladies size. Since she is just 10 2/3 years old it is a sign of her getting closer to being a grownup.

One thing that I've been noticing as we've been traveling about NZ - as soon as it is the tinyist bit warm out, hordes of people walk around barefoot! Even in the malls. It is very strange to see, and I keep expecting them to have hobbit feet!

We stopped by the Breaker Bay house and found a tiny little occupant in the garage. A tiny little gecko skittered its way across the floor, but did stop long enough for me to get a photo.

After a stop at the grocery store we finally made it back home just after 8. I haven't been having any trouble sleeping here and I'm sure you can imagine why!

Happy Tails!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nissa's First Day Back at School

It was with a long face that Nissa stepped onto the bus on this glorious day. I told her that it bode well for the rest of her year that her school year started with such lovely weather, but I'm not really sure that she believed me!

After getting Nissa on the bus and getting some chores done, Kirsten, Shenna and I headed into Wellington to do a few things. Shenna needed some school supplies, and Kirsten had some things to do over at their house on Breaker Bay. It took us no time at all to do the shopping, and pick up a few meat pies (they are big in NZ). Around the corner (actually many, many corners) and we were at the house. We ate our pies on the deck overlooking the ocean and then Shenna and I left Kirsten to do her stuff, while we poked around the shoreline hunting for shells, and other interesting creatures.

It was a totally glorious day - the only thing that would have made it better would have been heavy duty water shoes to save our feet. I kept my sensitive toes in their shoes, but Shenna ooched and ouched her way around the bay, finding interesting things in the tide pools, and lovely shells to save. She found tiny crabs, little star fish, living pauo, interesting sea plants and sea urchins. We saw thousands of tiny periwinkles clinging to the rocks, and hundreds of other shelled creatures stuck to the rock. I shudder to think of how many tiny creatures that I inadvertently crushed :-(

At one point I got really excited as I thought I saw a penguin (the area we were in was known to have them sometimes). I took a whole pile of pictures, trying to get just a tiny bit closer. Then my smarty-pants niece came up and pointed out that it was a heron (all smunched up, but still a heron). Oh well, I got to live the dream for a minute or two!

Finally Kirsten was all done with her house stuff so we zoomed off as we were getting late to pick up Nissa from school. We got there just in the nick of time, and early enough for Nissa to give me a tour of her school. It is a small one room country school, with just 20 students, from (equivalent) Kindergarten to grade 8. It doesn't actually have just one room, but also has a lovely library with computers, classroom space, a swimming pool, playground, lovely grounds, and even a garden space.

We went back home for a while and then dug out our bathing suits (and picnic blanket!) and drove back to the school for a swim. Once we were back home from that I was Shenna's sous chef as she was making french onion soup (totally yum), but also had to do some horsey chores.

It was a busy day that is just ending now at 10:30pm. I'm exhausted and ready for a long sleep! These kids are wearing me out!

Happy Tails!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Girls Day at the Farm

Tammy brought me back out to the farm this morning (after a walk to a little park, where I forgot my camera memory card in my tablet, so those photos of the garages 100% hanging over the cliffs were not saved to disk...).

It is nearing the 1/2 way point in my trip and I will admit to feeling pretty homesick today, and even had a bit of a cry. Nissa put a funny "Modern Family" on the telly and Shenna gave me a big hug, so I couldn't feel bad for too long!

It was just the 6 girls today - Tammy, Freya, Kirsten, Shenna, Nissa and myself. We had lots of giggles and fun. It was another hot sunny day with very little wind so Freya got to try dipping in a bucket - she thought it was pretty funny!

Shawn brought home a very tasty Pinot Noir for me to try - it might be a good one to bring home - it was so smooth it was like velvet :-) Trying out all these wines are fun!

Then just before bed (a few minutes ago) he took me out possum hunting - no possums, but one giant hedgehog. Maybe next time!

Happy Tails!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dorks and Orks

Today (Sunday) was another busy day full of sighseeing and visiting. I'm not even sure what time it was but we loaded Freya into her stroller and walked down the hill and into Miramar to the Weta Cave... leaving my camera battery in the charger in the kitchen - dooh! Olaf and I looked around at the displays and sat down to watch the movie while Tammy went for a walk with Freya and Lola (dog), and then had a picnic lunch.

After we walked back home we grabbed the picnic lunch that Tammy had prepared for us (while I was sleeping and not helping at all), and headed to the Sheepskin warehouse and then along the waters edge for a picnic lunch, this time for the big people. It was lovely watching the moored boats bobbing in the bay.

Freya was due for her nap so Olaf and I dropped Tammy and baby off back home and headed back into Miramar - I browsed a shop while Olaf did a few minutes of work. We decided to check out another shop for some things I was looking for, but took the long way along the coast through Seatoun. A beautiful view presented itself so we pulled off, tossed off our shoes and then ooch and ouched our way across the volcanic rock to the waters edge. The view was stunning.

We got to the store, didn't find what I was looking for and then noticed the shop that Tammy suggested I look for a picnic blanket at. Wouldn't you know they were 1/2 price so I picked one up to bring home. I think it will be a wonderful reminder of my trip to NZ and all our many picnic. And perhaps it will inspire Carm and I to slow down a bit at home and enjoy more picnics on our travels. These are great blankets with a fleecy top, and a vinyl bottom. Perfect for on grass or sand.

Tammy had picked up lamb chops for us for supper tonight so I ate my first NZ lamb - YUMMERS!

We are to bed early tonight, everyone is bushed.

It was a wonderful weekend and I am so glad I got to spend more time with Tammy and Olaf, and of course cheery little Freya.

Happy Tails!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Taupo to Wellington

Here are some photos from Friday.

View out of the window of our hotel in Taupo

Craters of the Moon

Huka Falls

Driving North along Lake Taupo

Mineral Pool

Along the road North

Mount Doom

Our picnic

The escarpment that ran for miles.

The playground

Wellington Harbour

I wish I could have video taped the whole trip so that I could relive it later!

Happy Tails!


Happy Tails!

Death in the Sand

Or a really fun day at the beach!

After a nice sleep in and a leisurely morning we were on the road by noon on our way to the Kapiti Coast. Olaf drove us past their old house - the garage was way down (and by down I mean DOWN), and then there were 50 steps up! Kirsten, Shawn, and the girls met up with us and we start on our journey (north?) towards the beach. I'm not sure how long it took, we were blabbing away. The turnoff for the Wendy's came up so we all pulled off to pick up supplies for lunch. Back on the road we drove for another bit and then turned off onto a side road.

A short drive later we were actually driving on the beach!!! How cool is that :-) We found a deserted stretch to park and piled out. We had thought to have a picnic on the beach, but the wind was whipping the sand into a bit of a frenzy, so we just stood at the back of the car and fortified ourselves for the day. First order of business - Olaf and I walked back to the not as dead as we thought shark partially submerged at the edge of the water. We figure it was between 5 and 6 feet long - not a tiny little thing for sure. As I stood bent over it, thinking to touch it, I noticed the gills moving - just the wind I thought, and then I realized the wind was coming from another direction... it did a little flex... I jumped back and forgot about touching it! Poor thing.

The girls made another find - a dead puffer fish. It was quite large, bigger than a foot.

The last dead thing we found was a barracuda skeleton - the teeth on that thing were scary!

Needless to say, none of us put on our bathing suits for swimming...

Oh yes - there were horses running on the beach - wouldn't that be an amazing experience.

After several hours we brushed ourselves clean of sand and started heading home, but first ice cream. The first place we stopped was closed (it was 4:30pm on Saturday and an ice cream place was closed?), but there was a little gift shop right there that I wandered into. In the corner was a stack of tshirts on sale with a shark on them. Of course I had to get one, I mean what are the odds?

We did finally find an icecream shop that was actually open, and then we parted ways from Kirsten, Shawn & the girls. We are now back at Olaf's thinking that there might be a really good sunset tonight.

I feel slightly guilty that I'm having such a lovely time with great weather when back home is a deep freeze!

Happy Tails!

Friday, January 25, 2013

I'm back at Olaf's

This will just be a quick post as we are getting ready to go to a beach somewhere. It will be a fun day with all of us :-)

I didn't write last night as by the time I was back at Olaf's and had said goodnight to both he and Tammy it was 11pm and I was totally exhausted. We had a wonderful but long day. It started out at 7am in Taupo - our hotel room had a view out over the lake to the mountains/volcanos at the end of it. The sky was clear at that time of day so we had a good view.

After a quick breakfast (at where else but McD's), we headed a bit further north to Crater's of the Moon - a place with hot springs, steam vents, and mud blooping places. It was a good hour walk in the warm morning sun.

Our next stop was Kuka Falls (thanks for the tip Bjorn). The water was a beautiful turquoise blue and the setting was beautiful (what else!). Finally we were on our way south. We drove around the lake (more beautiful views of the mountains), and then stopped at a pool/mineral bath in Tokaanu where we lingered in the hot mineral bath and then enjoyed the pool.

Somewhere along the line we stopped at a grocery store to pick up groceries for a picnic lunch. And coffees for Kirsten and I.

Driving south we passed through every landscape imaginable. Steep curves, straight bits, forest, desert, areas like around Medicine Hat. It was beautiful. Along one stretch we could see good views of the big mountain/volcano, and also the volcano that Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings was modelled after. We just don't get sights like this around home!

We made it through the desert area and past the military land and found a picnic area with a lovely view. We stuffed ourselves on salads, crusty bread and dips and then continued down the road.

This section of road had a deep gorge on one side, with sheer cliffs. There were the odd house or barn perched on the edges - one wonders if they might just disappear off the edge one day :-0

Another stop was a playground with equipment that wouldn't be allowed in Canada! I tried out a few of the things, but made sure Kirsten knew where to find my medical card ;-) They weren't that bad! One was called the flying fox where you "sat" on a little disk and then flew down the slope. (okay, flew is a huge exaggeration, but it was fun!).

After driving and driving some more we made it back to Kirsten's farm just as the clock struck 8. That was a 12 hour day of travelling, we were all exhausted, but Kirsten was just beat. She did a good job of driving us those 980+km!

Olaf came and picked me up in his batmobile (some kind of low black sporty car which he was careful not to freak me out on the Makara road, and possibly even had less motion sickness...) . We all (Kirsten, Shawn, Olaf and I) had a quick visit and then I was back in my town bedroom!

I'll post some photos tonight.

Happy Tails!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Magic Carpet Ride

After our sunrise fiasco we went back to the hotel room, showered, packed and got on the road. First stop - McDonalds for take-away breakfast. With coffee in our hands we drove back to the seaside and spread our picnic blanket out by the water. Such a lovely place for breakfast!

With our tummy's full and almost enough caffeine flowing in our veins we hit the road for our next stop - a detour a little north of our route to a golden sand beach. Waipatiki (?) beach. To get there we drove up, up, across, and down, down, down some big hills. There wasn't much along the way other than sheep, goats and signs for the slipped away roads (yikes! the fence beside the road was hanging in the air..). Finally we came around a corner and there was this beautiful, semi-deserted beach. We walked to the surf and immediately decided to change our plans for the day. With our bathing suits donned we made our way back over the hot sand and started splashing in the surf. The water was cool but the sun was hot (plenty of sunscreen was used). We stayed there for a few hours enjoying our time in the sun. The picnic blanket was used again - this time for lolling in the sun and then lunch!

Back on the road and onto highway 5 we started winding our way to Taupo where we are now. We passed through many different landscapes, each one as beautiful as the last. There were places that we wound up and over some hills, and other places that were flat and straight. We did pass quite a bit of construction, but even still the roads travelled well.

We made it to Taupo somewhere between 4 and 5, found a motel, hit the beach, walked into town for hamburgers, found some hot springs along the beach, and are now back in our room, exhausted. It will be an early night.

Happy Tails!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sunrise over Kidnappers Cove

Kirsten had read that the sunrise over the ocean here was the first sun of today to hit land. So, we set our alarm clock last night for 5:55am so that we'd be the first to see the sun today (sorry about the 12am alarm accidentally set girls!). The only problem was... we were all turned around and one bay over so the sun rose exactly the opposite of where we thought it would rise - over the hill behind us! So we were on the second piece of land to be hit by today's sun. Oh well, we had a pretty good laugh about the whole thing, plus it got us up at an early hour. I'm not sure that the girls will have such fond memories of our trip if I keep getting them up so early!

Today we have a shorter drive ahead of us so we'll probably stop more along the way. I think there are nice beaches at our destination so we'll also get a bit of sand in our toes :-)

Happy Tails!

Other photos from Our Drive

Rimataka Hills

The wind was really whipping up there - just look at the girls hair!

Makara to Napier

Here we are at the end of our day all the way north (?) in Napier. Kirsten and the girls got all the farm things done and we were on the way by 9:40 - without maps! After a quick stop for gas we hit the highway going out of Wellington and down (up?) highway 2. It wasn't long before the "wow's" were rolling in my head. NZ is such a beautiful country. It seems that no matter where your eye goes there is something wonderful to see.

The roads were wide and not too curvy until we hit the Rimutaka Hills - OMG,YIKES, and gosh that is a long way down! Kirsten got us safely to the other side where the roads straighted and widened for much of the rest of our drive. It took us ages and ages, but we made several stops, including a leisurely stop in Greytown. Further up the road we drove through Dannevirke, a Scandinavian town.

One of the towns we stopped in had a candy store where the girls got giant gobstoppers! The same town had a place where we picked up a few mince pies for lunch.

The valley was wide with hills and mountains in the distance. It seemed like good farmland, but for the most part we didn't see any crops, just hay and pasture. There were fields and fields of sheep, but also many herds of dairy cattle. Strangely we didn't see any big barns, nor any silos. Dairy farming seems to be much different here. (I thought of you Christina!)

The other thing we saw were lots of pull off picnic and viewing spots. It seemed to be well set up for tourists.

Once we got to Napier we stopped at an information spot where they helped us to find a hotel (we are beachfront, but no view from the window - long story there). We walked across the road to the beach once we got settled in and then found a little pizza "place" with yummy thin crust pizza. After that we drove to the Ocean Spa, a beach front area with cold, warm and hot salt water pools. It was a lovely way to unwind after a long day in the car.

I should have kept a notepad beside me as we were driving, cause now I'm too tired to remember everything! I tried to post photos but it isn't working :-( I'll try later.

Happy Tails!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Tuesday, Your Monday

I've already told you about waking up to a beautiful day and having my coffee outside with Kirsten. Well, contrary to Wellington fashion the day stayed spectacular all day. I'm pretty sure I didn't see a cloud in the sky, and there was just enough wind to keep the bugs away, but no more than that.

We putzd around the house in the morning, looking on the internet for places to stay, and eating yummy eggs (you really can't beat a home grown free range egg!). Kirsten and I eventually drove into town to run some errands and do a tiny bit of shopping. I found a cute short sleeve t-shirt for just $15.00 and some dishtowels at $2.00 each. Pretty cheap souvenirs!

Some observations - I don't notice very many heavy people - either they can't make it up the hills to where the shops are, or NZers are just a bit more healthy than back home. Also, they are very friendly. In the shops I have had conversations with both the clerks, and with other customers. They are more open and chatty than back home, where sometimes people look at me like I'm from Mars for starting a conversation!

We stopped at the grocery store to stock up on things for our trip - fruit, meat bars, cream cheese, baguettes, chocolate! We'll certainly be stopping places to pick up food, but it is nice to have things on hand.

Our plan is to drive up to Napier tomorrow to spend our first night. From there we aren't 100% sure where we'll head, but since Kirsten has a smartphone we'll be good. Plus there only seem to be a few major routes for us to follow so we won't get lost.

I made a video of a bit of the drive from Makara into Wellington, but my battery died just as we got to the really fun part. When I watched it after a battery recharge I got a little dizzy! When I get home I will be sure to post it to youtube so you can all have a tiny bit of the fun. (seriously though, the video doesn't really capture the whole carsickness feeling).

Tonight I got out when it was dark and got a little look at the sky - it is different!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but none of the windows have screens. The birds must be mainly seed eaters cause there sure aren't a lot of bugs flying around. Apparently I've been lucky so far too as there haven't been any sandflies which ate my dad's ankles a few years back.

There have been no big walks for me the last few days - I'm beat!

Happy Tails!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Breaker Bay

It is 8 am Tuesday here in NZ, but only 2pm Monday back home. I've just gotten up and it is a beautiful morning so I thought I'd take advantage of it and drag a chair out to the shade of the big cedarish tree at the front of the house. There is a slight mist in the air, the birds are singing and I can hear the rooster at the other side of the house. Lovely :-)

Yesterday I spent the morning with Tammy and Freya, I slept in, but we still had time for a good visit before Kirsten and the girls arrived to pick me up. We first drove over to Breaker Bay where Kirsten and Shawn own two houses that are just across the road from the ocean. What views! Both houses are at sealevel, and not perched high on a hill like Olaf's so the views are quite different. If I lived here I'm not sure which one I'd pick - I don't think I'd ever get tired of watching the city below me and the jets taking off from the airport, but at the same time the ocean view at Kirsten's places are Presquille to the power of ten (at least)!

While Kirsten finished up some real estate business, the girls and I puttered on the beach looking for interesting paoau (sp) shells. We saw the remains of many shelled creatures, including some that are round and covered with what looks like plants. Shenna shared her knowledge of sea creatures with us - it was like having a 2 legged guide book :-)

After we finished at the beach, we drove along the coast a bit to a walking path that went (where else) up a hill. Another spot with breathtaking views. The sky started to clear as we were up there and the beams of sunlight hitting the land across the bay were very lovely. We didn't see any penguins but the signs showed that they frequented that area. Kirsten and the girls had seen them in the past.

We loaded up on groceries and then dropped back at Tammy's so that the girls could see Freya.

By the time we got home and got supper started it was late enough in the day for Shawn to join us for the meal (after 9!) and then it was time for bed. We did find a few minutes to go online to start looking for a destination for a 2 night trip somewhere. Unfortunately Hobbit Town is over 8 hours away, just a bit out of reach for us. If anyone has any suggestions of what to see within 4 hours of Wellington I'd love to hear it!

Oh - Carm corrected me on the number of flights for Kirsten's hill - not 40 but closer to 60! no wonder my legs hurt that night.

Here's Kirsten with coffee (and I noticed a square of chocolate on the plate ;-) so I'll end now.

p.s. they had rain in Ottawa yesterday and then a flash freeze which closed the highways - it is hard to remember that it is January when I'm sitting in the sun!

Happy Tails!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Avengers

Olaf and I stayed up late tonight to watch the Avengers together. I wanted to watch one of the movies that he had worked on with him so that he could point out the bits that he had a part in making. Since I hadn't seen it, and it was his favorite we watched the Avengers rather than TinTin which I had seen. It was so cool to hear about the scenes. Of course I made him roll the credits so I could see his name up on the screen - I didn't cheer like I would have in the movie theatre (Freya was asleep), but it was cool to see.

Oh... and his tv... 3D... it was awesome to watch the movie in 3D!

Have a good sleep/day everyone :-)

Glorious Sunday

The weather was perfect today - light breeze, clear skies and warm. I couldn't have wished up a nicer day :-) My word of the day today was WOW - everything was just so beautiful.

It is 11:44 pm home time, 5:44 pm Wellington time. I'm sitting in Olaf & Tammy's suv in the parking lot at Olaf's work. He had to run in and do something or other for the movie he is working on (Ironman 3), and I want to go to the grocery store to stock up on the wonderful NZ chocolate that is on sale! I wonder how much weight I can pack into my suitcase ;-) Or if I'll snack it all before I actually get home (sort of like those Wonderbar chocolate bars that I had to buy twice to bring to Shawn...).

Today we got going early (it must have been by 10am that we had showered and breakfasted). Tammy and I walked down to the park with Freya and Lola, then met Olaf over by the grocery store. From there we drove along the water to a beach where we got out and walked around for a bit. The ocean was crashing into the rocks, and there were tide pools closer to shore. I love the ocean.

We drove further along the coast (still in Wellington), stopped at a little spot along the road to pick up fish and chips, the found another beachy spot where we could have a picnic. We gorged on our treat (followed by a bit of that famous chocolate), and then we piled into the car again, this time heading up, up up, to the Wellington Windmill that overlooks the city. The view was AMAZING!!! I could see the windmills over at the windmill park, and I suppose if I could have picked out which one it was, the windmill at the top of Kirsten's place. When I was up the hill with Shawn yesterday he pointed this windmill out to me.

There were some girls at the top who had just ridden their bikes UP! I was pretty impressed as it was an elevation of over 400 metres. Needless to say they both had good legs! We admired the view for a while (it was really spectacular), and then Olaf decided that we'd drive all around the bay and over the hills to the other side (I'll have to look up where we actually went - it was Rimataka or something like that).

I think I have the order of lunch and the windmill mixed up, but it doesn't really matter cause it all adds up to the same thing - a lovely day filled with WOWs!

I almost forgot - in all our driving around I saw a "Big Country" rv! They are huge and I seriously can't imagine driving one around here...

We drove along the water and onto a 4 lane highway and around the coast to the other side of the bay. We were on the wrong side of the road to stop at the lookout, but did stop on our way back (again - WOW). The entire drive was pretty and wound through lovely farmland. There were curvy road signs, but seriously these roads were nothing like some of the ones I've already been on (but I did feel a little car sick at a few points - despite the fact that Olaf was being a great driver and not trying to freak me out!).

Once we got to the beach, Olaf and I walked up to where we could see the waves crashing into the shore. There were some fishermen, and one or two other people walking on the beach, but no one swimming. We think there might be an undertow there?

It was soon time to head back home so that Freya could have her supper. Freya and Tammy were in the back seat for the whole drive (thanks for letting me have the front seat Tammy!) - Freya had her naps back there and even managed to eat a meal or two! She was good as gold and cute to boot. She didn't complain at all about being trapped in a seat for hours and hours.

It was wonderful to spend the day with Olaf and Tammy - I don't think I've spent this much time with Olaf since he was a little boy, so I feel very fortunate to have this time with him.

Happy Tails!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I'm Pretty Sure Shawn Was Trying to Kill Me!

Seriously though... maybe he thought he'd just leave my body at the top of their hill but I made it! Not all the way to where the windmills are, but up to the top where the path peters out. Shawn (Kirsten's muscle husband in super good shape) and Nissa and I went for a walk up the hill this morning (Saturday), with many, many stops and rests and lots of encouragement I made it all the way up. Shawn figures it is 180 metres higher in elevation than the house (which is how many stories? - maybe about 40?). The views were spectacular - we could see as far as the ocean! The wind was whipping and gusting, at times it seemed it might blow us right off the "hill", but sometimes the slope would protect us from the gale. My windbreaker was on and off several times.

I was so glad I did it and am sorry that I winged so much about it! Maybe by the time I leave it will be a little easier to make it up that high.

After we got back (and I collapsed on the sofa for a bit) we drove into Wellington to have supper at Olaf and Tammy's. By the time we made it into the city we were all feeling slightly sick from the drive - even Kirsten the driver! I have a running commentary in my head as we drive that road (especially back into town with the cliff by my side) "oh my God... oh shit... yikes... OMG... oh crap... omg, omg, omg... OMG..." - I won't even write the words that cross through my mind when another car comes towards us - it is just that exciting!

We made it safe and sound to O & T's place after a quick stop in the grocery store - I bought a pinot noir to try (which was not the right wine to have with the delish beef bourginon), and chips and cheesies to tide us over till supper. Cheesies aren't as good here, but the chips were great. It is funny to think that the roads around O & T's place made such an impression when I first got here, cause really, they are nothing compared to some of the roads I've been on!

We had a nice family dinner with lots of laughs, and then Kirsten, Shawn and the girls headed home, leaving me to stay with Olaf & Tammy for a few nights. Oh, and I picked an orange from their garden to use for making supper :-)

Happy Tails!