Tuesday, December 24: The night before christmas and the walls are set enough to support the roof.
Wednesday, December 25: NZ Christmas involves sun and backyard badminton.
Thursday, December 26: My present from Brendan, I love it!
Friday, December 27: My Christmas present from Brendan’s brother, Mike. It’s Dia de los Muertos Sally :D
Saturday, December 28: Whyyyy does the death card always show up for me? Screw change.
Sunday, December 29: We’re starting the Whole 30 on January 1st so we stocked up big time at the markets.
Monday, December 30: Golding’s Free Dive, where everybody knows your name.
Tuesday, December 31: Home for a rest between more Golding’s and NYE party fun times. Brendan’s Parrotdog shirt.
Tuesday, December 17: Chow Date Night! We left an afternoon movie to find we’d won Chow Date Night! All the food and drink we want on the house. It. Was. Amazing.
Wednesday, December 18: Dinner on the deck, another perk of housesitting.
Thursday, December 19: This is one of the ways I commemorate my trips. I get postcards from each country I visit and frame them. (Clockwise from left: Krakow, Poland; Prague, Czech Republic; Budapest, Hungary; Krakow, Poland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Vancouver.)
Friday, December 20: My first drive in movie: The Lion King at Trentham Racecourse.
Saturday, December 21: Meet Ronin, my family’s new puppy. Such a clumsy cutie.
Sunday, December 22: Lovely Waikato weather. Mum drove us out to Raglan to visit my Aunty & Uncle.
Monday, December 23: Te Parapara garden in Hamilton.
Tuesday, December 10: Painting in stages.
Wednesday, December 11: Happy Birthday Mom :)
Thursday, December 12: The friendship lily is alive again! (The friendship is not.)
Friday, December 13: Going up.
Saturday, December 14: Courtenay Place camera with what I think is a fluro shark fin
Sunday, December 15: Gingerbread house building took a summery turn this year.
Monday, December 16: Hungry & Frozen hiding amongst the cookbooks from places far far away.
Tuesday, December 3: Wellington sunsets are a thing worth coming back for.
Wednesday, December 4: Cruncheese!
Thursday, December 5: Wild flowers.
Friday, December 6: Laura and Tim hosted their mostly annual Christmas dinner for friends. Kate even designed a menu for the occasion!
Saturday, December 7: DAIRY
Sunday, December 8: Time to start wrapping presents.
Monday, December 9: The streets are lined with Christmas trees.
Tuesday, November 26: Travel day. We left Europe for Japan just as it started to snow.
Wednesday, November 27: Almost no sleep and about 10 hours to kill. Thank goodness for the beauty of Narita in Autumn keeping us awake.
Thursday, November 28: We’re home! With bags full of booze and chocolate.
Friday, November 29: Pretty petals.
Saturday, November 30: Welcome home dinner with Brendan’s family. His mum always puts on an amazing spread.
Sunday, December 1: My first pohutukawa bloom of the season. Christmas is on its way.
Monday, December 2: Back at work after 7 weeks away. At least I have a view for a few weeks.
Tuesday, November 19: We spent our last day in Budapest climbing Gellert Hill and marveling over how visible the smog is despite the overnight rain.
Wednesday, November 20: A quick three hour train and we’re in Vienna. Finally the Christmas markets I’ve been so looking forward to! This amazing art installation was at our first market.
Thursday, November 21: After galleries as we make our way to a church which is bound to have more Christmas market to explore.
Friday, November 22: More zoo! Vienna zoo was also excellent. Rockhoppers are my favourite penguins, I love their hair.
Saturday, November 23: We had a walk around Vienna’s weird Prater Park. It was half creepy empty and half super loud music, flashing lights, and haunted houses.
Sunday, November 24: So many lights.
Monday, November 25: Right before our first snow, kinda, it was pretty light @ Belvedere Palace.
Tuesday, November 12: Wawel Hill is quieter now so we’re back to check out one of the exhibitions and more vine covered brick buildings.
Wednesday, November 13: We’re going to Budapest by train tonight so there’s lots of time to kill hanging out in restaurants and coffee shops trying to stay warm. Krakow’s main square is pretty at night.
Thursday, November 14: Budapest! The end of a long day of finding our bearings and another walking tour. The view from the castle hill is vast and stunning.
Friday, November 15: Utterly exhausted we deem our number one priority to be soaking in a thermal bath. Budapest has many of them but we chose the largest Hungarian style baths for our soaking – Szechenyi Thermal Baths.
Saturday, November 16: The Budapest Zoo is incredible. I’m obviously a huge fan of good zoos, but wow! In the Budapest Zoo there are a few enclosures where you are right in with the animals. There are Zoo volunteers wearing fluro vests, but there is nothing separating you from the sloths, lemurs, bats, and vultures, we were in enclosures with all of them.
Sunday, November 17: The Great Dohany Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe.
Monday, November 18: Puder Bar where I finally try the Hungarian liqueur unicum.
Tuesday, November 5: Our free tour of Prague, full of laughs and wacky sound effects from our enthusiastic guide ends, and after finally finding a place to eat that is both warm and not smokey we leave just in time to finally catch the astronomical clock doing its dance. The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn is another of Prague’s gothic beauties.
Wednesday, November 6: Already running out of things to do in this pretty, but ultimately not very exciting, city we end up at places like the John Lennon wall.
Thursday, November 7: Our final day in Prague, more time to head back to areas we’ve already been to and explore them better. Across the river is this monument to victims of communism.
Friday, November 8: We rolled into Krakow at 6.30am after spending the night not sleeping much on a train. Exhausted, we drop our bags at the hotel and because it’s so early have to head out again for breakfast and then straight on to a walking tour. The castle on the hill features some pretty interesting combinations of architecture styles.
Saturday, November 9: Lots of pretty horses to look at in the square while we wait for our second walking tour to start. This time a tour of the Jewish district.
Sunday, November 10: Benefits of traveling on shoulder season include free entry to castle exhibitions. Drawbacks are that this is when locals and weekend visitors come to the city and the lines are too long to make visiting possible.
Monday, November 11: It is Poland’s National Independence Day, which we mark by watching some parading and speeches we don’t understand while waiting for our tour to start. Today we’re visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau. It was…worse than I expected. The size of Birkenau, I can still not comprehend.
Tuesday, October 29: After our free walking tour we took ourselves to the East Side Gallery, an outdoor gallery of works on part of the old Berlin Wall. This obviously isn’t part of the wall, but was one of the only pieces of art in the area that hadn’t been tagged.
Wednesday, October 30: Another animal first for me, wolves! Specifically, a pack of arctic wolves. The Berlin Zoo was incredible.
Thursday, October 31: Even the apartments on the street leading to Schloss Charlottenburg (Charlottenburg Palace) were pretty.
Friday, November 1: We arrived in Prague after hours stuck in a train cabin with 3 giggling Hungarian teenage boys who had their music up way too loud.
Saturday, November 2: Our first explore of this beautiful city and my favourite of the lock bridges we saw on our travels.
Sunday, November 3: Prague’s streets are stunning to look at, those cobblestones do some mad damage to your feet though!
Monday, November 4: St Vitus Cathedral is a gothic masterpiece. We spent the day wandering the grounds of the Prague Castle where the Cathedral sits.
Tuesday, October 22: We took an afternoon tour with Reykjavik Excursions to see Gullfoss (Golden Falls, don’t even try to pronounce it in Icelandic) , Geysir, and Þingvellir National Park. Gullfoss is a truly magnificent sight. We even got to see the magical afternoon rainbow that sprouts when the sun is just right.
Wednesday, October 23: We spent the day museum hopping, starting with the National Museum of Iceland.
Thursday, October 24: Our second attempt to see the Northern Lights (we tried on the 21st with no luck). This was as good as it got for us unfortunately. The green was not nearly as visible with the naked eye, it’s tricks of the magical all seeing camera lens. You can be in the right country, in the perfect year, at the perfect time, and the lights still on’t show up for you. Our tickets are valid for 2 years though so we just need to make sure we go back! Oh to have arrived a week earlier when the lights were visible in the main street of town!
Friday, October 25: Our last full day in Iceland was spent walking along the waterfront and shopping. This sculpture is called Sun Voyager.
Saturday, October 26: A 4am pick up for a 7.30am flight back to the mainland. After a few hours in Frankfurt, having lunch & finding our platform, we were finally on our way to Berlin.
Sunday, October 27: OMG I love Berlin so much. We walked all over and saw things from all spectrums. The broken wall, beautiful street art, a busy Sunday market with so so much great stuff to buy, and crazy old beautiful buildings. Like the Berliner Dom, my favourite for sure. It is ridiculously grand.
Monday, October 28: Hours and hours at the German History Museum gets very overwhelming!