Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas!

The past three Decembers, we have flown to a Christmas market. The first year was Munich, then Salzburg and last year we went to Prague. This year, Europe was far out of our reach so we headed downtown for the christkindlemarket on a cold Sunday. It is a nice little market that is contained to about a block. It doesn't compare to the European markets but the prices of some things were actually lower than in Europe! We were also able to get tasty gluwein, some donut things, and good German sausage. So, even though it is small, it filled our "need" for a Christmas market and was a quite enjoyable couple of hours downtown. :)

This year, we also got a Christmas tree. The kitties are quite curious about it but they didn't climb is and haven't knocked it down. Darshin has tried to eat the branches. It is so nice to have a tree and have the presents wrapped under it. Somehow, it feels more like Christmas with the tree and presents. We even have four stockings waiting for Santa to fill them!

Also, for the second year in a row, I participated in an Irish Secret Santa. Even though presents weren't "due" until the 6th of January, I got mine already. It was a lovely surprise one day to have a package from Ireland. It contained two of my favourite yarns, too. :) When trying to take pictures, Tiffin was very interested in the hand made stitch markers.

So, on Christmas Eve, I wish you a Happy Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Petrol, where are you?

The thirteenth day of our honeymoon was a Monday bank holiday. On the Sunday before, we decided that we needed to try to drive a ways before making camp. Problem was, we only had about half a tank of petrol. We checked the map and there were a lot of little towns along our route. So, on we drove.

Well, after driving a while and passing through a couple "towns," we were getting low on petrol (gas) and looked at the map again. There was a bit bigger town shortly ahead so we kept driving. We got to the town and behold, a petrol station. Problem was, it had closed about half hour before. See, it closed earlier on Sundays and even earlier because the next day was a bank holiday. The petrol station was also closed on the bank holiday or we would have just camped and waited for it to open the next morning.

At the petrol station, a guy was standing around so John asked him where the nearest petrol station was. It was back in the direction we had come! We ended up driving about 50 kilometers back in the direction we had come (but not on the same road) and passed 4 petrol stations, all of which were closed because of the bank holiday! We finally found one in the town we had originally started in.

Later in the trip, we saw warning signs that the next petrol station was X kilometres away (sometimes over 100)! We learned from our adventure and made sure that we had at least half a tank of petrol before venturing out to the next "destination."

On the Road

On the thirteenth day of our honeymoon, we traveled. We got a late start and wandered further south. We walked across a swing bridge, which made me nervous, saw some seals, and saw some pancake rocks. We also saw one of the funny "hours" signs that seemed to be pretty common in New Zealand.

The Wall Island seal colony was our second stop and admired the views and watched seals playing. While walking around the coastline, we saw 8 wekas, which are a rare bird that I believe only lives in New Zealand. They are one of those silly flightless birds that New Zealand has a lot of. :)

Our third stop was the Pancake Rocks. They are a unique geological formation of rock that look sandwiched, or pancaked together. It was quite an interesting site.

We then continued our travels and drove on 2 1-lane bridges that had train tracks as well. Yes, that is right, the cars and trains share bridges in parts of New Zealand. The first one was a little scary since we've never driven on train tracks before and we had looked out for cars, but not trains. It was at night, which made it a bit more of an adventure, and we weren't able to take pictures.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Abel Tasman, part 2

On the twelfth day of our honeymoon, we went kayaking in the Abel Tasman Park. We had booked with Kahu kayaks and were running late (we were supposed to be there at 8:30 AM and couldn't find the sun screen). Anyway, the group had left but because they had forgotten a lunch, we were still able to get to the dock and take the tour. The guides and other staff were all really friendly and seemed to have a lot of fun kayaking on the sea. If you're going kayaking in Abel Tasman, I'd highly recommend these guys. The lunches (included in the booking), were really good and had amazing muffins!

Anyway, while kayking, our guide took us to where seals frequently are and we got to see some sun bathing. We also saw some shags (a bird). We didn't see any penguins but there are some that live there. Our guide showed us pictures of some that he had seen the day before. Our guide also took us on a little adventure. We hiked with the kayaks into a river and then paddled down the river a little ways. On the way out, we did a bit of adventure kayaking and paddled all the way out. We had to paddle into the tide and got all wet. We didn't tip over, though.

The weather was amazing on the day that we went and it was one of my favorite days and adventures. There aren't as many pictures as my normal, though, because I had to paddle. However, there is one of my favorites in this post. :)