Easter in Blenheim

We took a road trip over the Easter break to see Sarah (Ian’s Sister) & Clinton in Blenheim, leaving Thursday afternoon we drove down to Wellington to catch the 3am ferry across the Strait to Picton before a final short drive to Blenheim getting there in time for breakfast.

Friday afternoon we went out to the mouth of the diversion for a bit of fishing and for me some photography – I definitely had more luck than the others :-).  Saturday a bit of retail therapy was required in town before hitting St Clair vineyard for lunch and a bit of wine tasting, just to be able to properly compare the wine we tried 3 other vineyards, my favorite being forrest – lovely desert wine.  Sunday we headed to the Farmers market for breakfast and of course purchasing some fine local produce, then had a easy relaxing day at home.  An early start (8am ferry!!) on Monday to head back to Auckland, stopping at the Southward car museum.  We had a good trip home, traffic wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting – just a shame about the speeding ticket – oops.


New Car in New Zealand

Been back in New Zealand for 5 weeks and we finally bought a car today. Was quite keen to get a manual Toyota station wagon. After watching TradeMe for a while, we finally found one up in Dargaville at http://www.dargavilleford.co.nz/.

It’s a 2002 Toyota Camry, 2.2 litre, manual with 141,000 kms on the clock, New Zealand new with only one owner. After a nice drive back, we’re happy with the purchase.

Here’s some more pictures: http://2lostkiwis.com/gallery2/v/2009-09-12/

Some more details on the car here: http://www.carjam.co.nz/car/?plate=aqr307

Toyota Camry

Bristol Beer Festival

An annual event for us with Richard, Ian, Adam & Friends was great fun as usual, this year I did particularly well in choosing my beers, following my skilled analysis of which names sound the best, and did not choose any I didn’t like.  I was a little disappointed in the lack of bearded men this event normally draws – the men of the south west must have finally found razors.  After beer we had the necessary curry to round things off.

Oliver – London

Thursday 26th Feb, Amy organised for a group of us to see the musical Oliver with Rowan Atkinson playing Fagin.  It was brilliant, we had great seats in the front of the stalls, so close you almost felt part of the show.  The cast really was amazing specially the kids, their performance was so good it was hard to believe they were only 10-13 years old.  I know I’m raving like a lunatic about the show but it is the best show I’ve ever seen.  For this performance we had Laurence Jeffcoate as Oliver, Ross McCormack as the Artful Dodger, Jodie Prenger as Nancy, Jay Bryce as Bill Sikes and of course Rowan Atkinson as Fagin.  View Oliver website

We also had a nice surprise while waiting out front of the Theatre Royal, Daniel Radcliffe walked right past me on his way into watch the show – my very first celebrity!

Valentines Day

Feb 14th – the day most boys in a relationship dread. Ian was great this year he took me to see “My bloody valentine 3D”  🙂 it was your typical cheesy horror just what I love to watch, hate to say 3D effects haven’t improved all that much…..

Sharleen Spiteri – Bristol

Absolutely amazing. She is a truly professional performer. Had a good selection of her new solo hits and the good stuff from Texas. I have been waiting a long time to see her in concert and she surpassed all expectations. I had no idea she had so much energy, it even seemed to rub off to the Bristol crowd. I have never seen so many people dancing at the Colston Hall.

Sharleen Spiteri

A White Christmas

Sunday 21st of December we were up bright and early to catch our flight to Austria with Amy and Derk for our first proper white Christmas (thanks to Amy organising it) unfortunately the weather wasn’t with us and after holding above Innesbruck for quite a while we were diverted to Munich and the shuttled back by coach.  There we meet Sharon & Mark, who also had been diverted but a little earlier, picked up the rental car (thanks to Derk for driving) and headed off to Reith im Alpbachtal.  After finding our accommodation (only getting lost a little) a traditional farm house, Kupfnerhof, The Farmhousehigh in the mountains of which we had the top floor complete with our own cosy kitchen.  Our hosts Elisabeth and Georg brought us up breakfast the next day loaded with excellent farm produce after which it was of to town to hire ski gear and get groceries for the week.  Not having enough time to ski that day it was back to Kupfnerhof and practice a little skiing on the slopes of the farm and of course build a snowman, quite a scary one at that.  Georg was kind enough to bring out some locally made schnapps to share with us which certainly warmed us up.  The next two days were ski days, up early and home when the fields closed to Gluwein cooking dinner and playing cards.  We went to different ski fields each day the first just below where we stayed in Reith (Ian & I had lessons on this day, a very good idea that made the rest of the time skiing more enjoyable) and the second day at Alpbach (a bigger field).  Alpbach was stunning above the clouds a perfect day blue sky and sunshine.  A friend of Derk’s, Fabian who lives in Germany not far from where we were joined us so we had a traditional European Christmas celebrating on Christmas eve, we cooked a large roast dinner, drank lots of wine & beer and opened our presents while listening to Christmas carols.  Christmas day we enjoyed a champagne breakfast then went for a walk though the snowy countryside playing in a children’s playground and generally having fun in the snow.  Winter BarbecueFor Christmas dinner we decided to go traditionally kiwi and had a BBQ, Elisabeth and Georg thought we were crazy and had a good laugh at our BBQ in the snow.  We even made pavlova for desert, which must have been the flattest pavlova in history but the good thing with pav is it still tastes great no matter what it looks like!  The next two days we spent skiing this time at  Zillertal, this was my favorite ski field and once again it was perfect weather.  It really was stunning up on the mountain. 

Lunch at Zillertal Unfortunately this brought an end to our Christmas holiday the next day we were up and back off to the airport, everyone secretly wishing we would be fogged in and have to stay another day.

Athens & Santorini

After what feels like a very long time we finally went on holiday this time to Athens & Santorini.  We flew out of the new terminal 5 at Heathrow and after all the trouble they had when it opened it is a smooth and painless process now.  Arriving in Athens early afternoon, we headed to the hotel and dropped our luggage before heading down to Pireas, the port, to book our ferry to Santorini having achieved that we could relax and have a look around watching, over a frappe (cold coffee drink), mass hordes of people being unloaded from the ferries just in.  We took the metro back to Synagma Square and from there walked leisurely back to our hotel taking in the sights and sounds of Athens, before having a well deserved rest before dinner (we had been up since 3am!) We had dinner at a small restaurant close to the hotel not realising straight away that it was a Romanian restaurant, not that it mattered the food was good and after ordering a beer each and an ouzo (thinking we’d get a shot but instead received a 350 ml bottle!) no need to say but we were both in a rather good mood by the time we’d finished.

The following day we spent at the ancient sites of the Acropolis, Arch of Hadrian, Temple of Olympian Zeus then wandering through the Plaka (old turkish quarter) & the national gardens before finally making our way to Lykavittos hill, taking the funicular railway to the top to see the sun set and Athens illuminate.

Up early the next morning we were down at the port before 6.30 to catch our ferry to Santorini, we had decided on the fast ferry which took 5 hours instead of 9.  Arriving around midday we manage to find in the chaos a bus up to the main town of Fira, the road zigzags up the very steep cliffs finally reaching the top.  From Fira we had to catch another bus to Imerovigli, however having the misfortune of a very unhelpful driver we completely missed our stop ending up in Oia, after a half hour wait the next bus arrived with a much better driver who told us when we reached our destination.  Finding our hotel took a little while, not knowing exactly where it was but it is one of those places that once you know it’s easy, being very hot the first thing on the agenda was a swim in the pool and a beer while enjoying the incredible view.  We had an easy night having picked up a few supplies from the supermarket we ate dinner on our balcony with a bottle of local wine.

As I haven’t published this yet and my memory is beginning to fade here are just the highlights from the rest of the trip.  Sailing round the caldera for sunset which included a hike up the volcano and a swim in the warm sulfuric water.  Hiring a quad bike and zipping round the Island with me on the back a little scared at times.  Visiting an art gallery/vineyard buying a bit of both.  Finding a little shop in Fira which made the best cakes ever.  Sitting in a outdoor cafe on the cliffs drinking cocktails and watching the sun set.

After 5 days it was back to Athens for a night then back home.  An awesome holiday!!

Jeanette and Ian have found their way Home