Friday turned out to be another lovely day. The sun was (mostly) shining, there wasn't much wind, and it was warm (although I still wore a sweater). After a couple of cups of coffee and a crumpet with butter and jam (yum) we all piled into the car to head to the Wellington Botanical Gardens.
This was my first trip into town on this route - which put me on the cliff side of the car - there were a few times where it seemed we were going to careen off the road but obviously we didn't...
The botanical gardens were gorgeous. There were stands of hydrangeas of all colours, banks of fushias, every native and none native tree in existance, palms (including ones with funky patterned trunks that at first we thought were plastic). There were green houses filled with begonias of every hue imaginable, water lilies like I've never seen before, air ferns, and orchids. There was a rose garden that stretched out for at least an acre, there must have been a hundred varieties of roses. We walked down the hill/mountain towards the city centre. There was a walkway over the highway, down a bit and then we were downtown. We could see the Parliament building (a weird 70s style), and finally we were at the harbour.
After walking around looking at a few restaurants we chose one with Asian style food where we could look out over the water. It was a tasty lunch (Pad Thai - thanks Kirsten) and the seating was much appreciated as we'd already been walking over 2 hours. Finally it was time to get back to the car - at the top of the "hill". We had originally thought to take the cable car, but after being fortified with lunch decided to walk back. Gulp. I seriously wondered how I'd make it, my legs were exhausted! But it wasn't that bad. We took a direct route that included stairs and some steep climbs, I had to stop to catch my breath a few (many) times - sometimes I couldn't hear the girls talk my heart was beating in my ears so loudly! But finally we were at the car. I was glad we had done it.
All told we walked for 4 hours, minus 45 minutes in the restaurant. From already partway up the hill to the top it was 100 metres, which doesn't seem like much, but when it isn't a gradual slope is quite the climb (or descent - going down doesn't get me out of breath but does make my legs feel like rubber).
Shenna makes me think of Carm - she spouts off facts and information about everything we see. She is like a sponge for information and loves to know everything there is about a subject. She is a great one to sight see with as it saves us all a bunch of reading time! She had a sharp eye and was able to point out a few native birds (of which I can't remember the names - one was a giant pigeon with a green body, the other a smaller black bird with a white patch under its neck).
I may be picking up a Kiwi accent. Which is a bit crazy!
Last night Kirsten and Shawn had a function to attend so it was just the girls and I. I made Lemony Lentil Soup, but... forgot it on the stove so it thickened up too much (luckily it didn't burn), the lemon wasn't lemony, and I probably didn't use enough broth. Kirsten doesn't have an immersion blender so we whirred it in batches in her blender. It was a brown stogy blop. The girls were sweet enough to claim they liked it (Shenna even had seconds bless her soul - Nissa did a pinky swear). There was only one scoop left after we had finished so Shenna suggested we take it out to the chickens. On our way to the barn we passed a few ducks so I blobed a bit down on the ground. They tried it but I'm not sure they cared for it. A few steps later there seemed to be another small blob on the ground, but since we hadn't been there yet... we all looked at each other and laughed and laughed. The soup looked exactly like duck poops on the ground!
The torture wasn't over yet though, I dug out my mp3 player and hooked it up to Shenna's ipod dock so that we could meditate for 20 minutes before bed. After some initial giggling we all settled down and followed the guide. I'm not sure what they thought of it, but I hope it is something that could help Shenna calm her mind to help her sleep. I think all those things she learns swirls in her head making it difficult to fall asleep. Meditation could help.
By the end of the day I felt that we had actually had 2 or 3 days packed into one - it didn't take much for me to fall asleep - the only thing swirling in my head was visions of walking up, up, up!