Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Zealand -- Part 1

So much has happened ... finished 21 day vegan kickstart and actually kept eating vegan... at least until I arrived in New Zealand and then wanted to eat as much beef and lamp as I could stand. I think there's something about seeing happy cows and sheep roaming free with beautiful views and munching on acres and acres of healthy green grass. They live like they're meant to live, and they taste extraordinarily delicious because of it. So I'm a happy omnivore again.

I promised friends and family that I would update on our New Zealand trip. We left on the 2nd and arrived on the 4th. That's the strange thing about coming to Australasia. You cross the international date line in the air and you just lose an entire day as you fly. We never experienced February 3 and we never will. I had a friend who flew to Sydney on October 14 and landed October 16. October 15 was his 25th birthday - he never experienced it. It's so crazy. It's almost as crazy as the return... you get back before you left.

Anyway, we arrived on February 4 and went and got our rental car. After some debate we decided to hire the GPS. It was one of the best decisions we ever made ... the navigator probably saved us hours from not getting lost or staring at maps. We used our navigator to drive us to a hostel in Mt. Eden, Auckland where we picked up my law school friend Michelle. Michelle and I had travelled through Vietnam and Thailand together 10 years earlier and it was nice to reconnect with her in another part of the world. She'd been travelling by herself around the world for the past year. By this time, she was very "go with the flow" about everything. P. and I kept thinking we had to run around and see everything and Michelle would just hang out quietly with a book while we got our heads on straight. By the end of the week, we adjusted to a more laid-back attitude too.

After we picked up Michelle we grabbed a quick lunch in Mt. Eden -- cute cafe called Circus Circus. It was delicious. We then jumped in the car again (trunk loaded with bags and surfboard on top of the car) and headed for Raglan -- New Zealand's surfing mecca. Raglan is an absolutely charming town. It's very tropical looking ... beautiful huge ferns everywhere and the waves are supposedly gorgeous. I don't know much about surfing, but my hubby (a lifelong surfer) was in heaven. I didn't surf, but enjoyed the dark powdery volcanic sand and the cool, but glorious ocean water.

We stayed at a very charming eco-resort called Solscape. Our rooms were converted train cabooses. The place was very clean and had a laid-back surfer/backpacker vibe to it. We enjoyed a lovely couple of nights in this heavenly little oasis.

When we were in Raglan we drove around and checked out various bays (Manu Bay, Whale Bay), waterfalls (Bridal Veil Falls), and incredible views (Te Mata Gorge). We also saw lots of the aforementioned happy cows and sheep. I can't imagine there are cows and sheep anywhere who enjoy better views than those -- they grazed on grass-covered hills with incredible views of forest, mountains, and ocean. I felt lucky for those brief days to share their views.

Bridal Veil Falls

Te Mata Gorge

Michelle, me, and Ali at Whale Bay

Views for happy cows and sheep


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