Saturday, January 15, 2011

Holiday adventures with Mom & Dad

Happy New Year! We're enjoying our third Southern summer, and we were lucky enough to get to share our warm holidays with my parents Carl and Deed during their recent visit. They arrived on Christmas Eve and we spent two weeks touring around Wellington and venturing farther out to see more of the country.

I could write a book on all the fun stuff we did and saw, but thought I'd just list the highlights.

Our Top 25 Memorable Experiences from Mom and Dad's Visit (in no particular order)

1. Climbing up to the lighthouse at Castlepoint on the windiest day I've ever experienced.

(See Dad and Jake below braving the gales.)

2. Kayaking in the Endeavour Inlet and walking part of the Queen Charlotte Track.
3. Riding the TransCoastal Railway from Picton to Kaikoura and watching the land and sea roll by from the open-air train car.

4. Hearing how Mom and Dad saw a whale in the ocean off the East Coast (Dad caught it on video).
5. Strolling through the beautiful botanic gardens in Wellington.
6. Mom and Dad tasting their first pavlova and green-lipped muscles at Ed and Heidi's barbecue. (Thanks guys!)

7. Singing Auld Lang Syne with the next door neighbors and their friends to ring in the New Year ... and realising I don't know any of the words. (Thanks to Phil and June!)
8. Looking for sea shells on the beaches.

9. Watching Mom frown and politely describe her first taste of Marmite as "satisfactory."

10. Bicycling between the vineyards in Martinborough and savouring the tasty wines there.

11. Feeling relieved when Mom was okay after her slow-motion bicycle accident (According to a source close to the scene: a member of the riding party directed her down a lone vineyard road then instructed her to abort, after which she "forsook the appointed mission and crumbled painfully to the ground.")
12. Perusing the vintage vehicles in the Southward Car Museum.

13. Pitching our tents and camping in beautiful Otaki Forks and finding some cool green rocks in the river there.

14. Antiquing in Greytown and stopping to admire every old tractor we came across.
15. Slapping at the ever present South Island sand flies.

16. Willing ourselves across a couple of very bendy and bouncy swing bridges.

17. Imagining the baby seals but not actually seeing any on the deceptively named "Baby Seals and Waterfall Walk."
18. Having a Kiwi sighting one evening outside our motel -- an impressive experiences as it is an elusive and rare nocturnal bird. See indisputable photographic evidence below. Or it may have been a hedgehog.

19. Appreciating the native bird songs, including that of the mischievous Lu Cup-Heer Robin.
20 Enjoying the harbour views from our deck at home and promising Dad I'll have breakfast out there every day from now on.

Thanks to my wonderful parents for making the long trip out here and visiting us! It's been heaps of fun, and it's also reminded us how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful and friendly place.

See a few more photos from our holiday adventures with Mom and Dad in this slideshow:



Dave said...

Loved the third picture. Carl looks like her might fly away at any moment. I bet the folks had a great time. You guys are missing out on some fabulous ice and snow here in K.C.!

Phil said...

Great pics of your folks Jamie. By crikey, your mom and dad look youthful enough to be your siblings, not your parents! Good Midwest genes no doubt.

Shame you had to inflict the horrors of marmite on your poor unsuspecting mom. Thought her verdict of "satisfactory" was very diplomatic. And then to expose them further to a meal of fish and chips and tomato sauce was just too cruel!! Ugh, ugh and triple ugh. At least they escaped the truly dreadful tinned spaghetti.

Give me the smokey pleasures of Kansas City cuisine over that rubbish anytime. I bet they agree.

jamie said...

Dave - we may be missing out on the snow, but I wouldn't say we're actually missing the snow. ;)

Phil - I have to admit it was pretty fun to feed them new things because they would probably have believed everything we said. "NZers always eat mustard on their scrambled eggs..." But I still don't understand Marmite. It seems as though Kiwis feed it to their children, but you never hear of an adult eating it. Can you explain?