Fun with the Folks

Lots of early mornings with Andrew's parents in townWhile our trip to Opito Bay with Andrew’s parents was a lot of fun, we couldn’t spend all our time away. Andrew and I still had to work the daily grind, but that doesn’t mean his parents had to. Andrew's Parent's trip from Wellington to AucklandAndrew’s parents cheered us on for frisbee on Wednesday nights and even took a trip to Wellington, riding the KiwiRail Scenic  Journey train back to Auckland to enjoy the New Zealand landscape. We ate in and out, doing some BBQ, making spicy basil thai with my basil plant (which is thriving) and experiencing many of the local cuisines Auckland has to offer, from Mexican, German to Chinese.

Local French bakery personalized Andrew's dad's coffeeAs I was unable to get off of work the weekend before last, I encouraged Andrew to take his parents up to Bay of Islands, one of the areas his mom had on her to do list too. And of course, Shippey’s fish and chips is always a big draw! Having spent some time up there, we were able to recommend some activities, like the cafe and gallery off of Russell Road that has a fantastic view! Another location on Andrew’s mom’s to do list was Cape Reinga, the northern tip of New Zealand. It’s also on my to do list, but Andrew and I just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. From the Bay of Islands, Andrew at Ultimate FrisbeeAndrew took a bus home to Auckland to work on Monday, and his folks headed up north. From what they say, even on a cloudy day you can distinctly see the line where the Tasman sea and South Pacific ocean meet. Crazy!

Norfolk Island PineIn other news, Andrew’s mom pointed out all the Norfolk Island Pine trees in New Zealand. They look like poorly done up fake Christmas trees and are often used as the basis for “disguising” antenna’s in the United States. Now I get how they were intended to be disguised! I suppose the disguise would work better if the trees were local to where the antenna’s were disguised. Oh well.

We did a lot more eating and relaxing in the evenings, and it’s surprising how much you can get done after work! Andrew had a very hectic schedule at work and had to work the last weekend his parents were in town so Saturday I accompanied them back to Devonport.Orange Juice Machine! Andrew’s parents had taken the ferry to Devonport and walked up Mt Victoria earlier in the week, another activity Andrew and I will have to check out when we get a chance. Between that and visiting the museum, Cornwall Park and Rangitoto, our visitors sure got the grand old tour of Auckland! When Andrew’s parents were on a tour up Rangitoto, the guide highly recommended a cafe in Devonport called Stone Oven Cafe. We had to go check it out and it was pretty awesome. As soon as I saw the orange juice maker, I was sold and all of the food looked and (of what we tried) tasted delicious! Andrew’s mother is a quilter, so we stopped at Cushla’s Village Fabrics to pick out some kiwi fabrics. Even as a non-quilter, it was a pretty fun place to check out and I was simply amazed at the number of fine fabrics the store could carry. Andrew’s mom has offered to make a quilt for Andrew and I to include all sorts of kiwi and maori fabrics. I can’t wait to see what it will look like! Andrew has one of his mom’s beautiful quilts at home, but we simply didn’t have any space left to bring it. I can’t wait to see what she’ll come up with! Granted I have no doubt it will be fantastic.

Yummy salmon frittata! My potato and OJ Fruit tart!

So how do you wrap up a trip half way across the world? We started out by making Andrew’s folks the traditional big kiwi breakfast (bacon, sausage, toasts, hash browns, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes). Big Kiwi Breakfast!My oh my, was it tasty! Andrew and I had to work Sunday so Andrew’s parents had the day to pack and check out a local church. Andrew and I made reservations at the top of the iconic Sky Tower at the revolving Orbit Restaurant 45 minutes prior to sunset. We showed up early and got to spend some time looking out across Auckland pointing out all the places we’d been. We needed this time to adjust, especially since the elevator to the top of the Sky Tower has a glass floor and a glass wall. Really?! That was a little, uh, disconcerting? Dinner was delicious and considering the location, surprisingly fantastic! The prices weren’t cheap by any means, but compared to some of the other restaurants at the top of tall buildings (think Prudential Center in Boston and John Hancock Building in Chicago), it was quite reasonably priced. There was a sauce on the lamb chops that was simply heavenly and my swordfish was cooked just perfectly. Including a night cap and the walk home, it was a great day.

Rangitoto Dusk from the Sky Tower

Checking out the view Bridge to the north shore

Glass floor and glass wall in the elevator. Really?

While we did a lot of new things and a couple of old ones, the weeks Andrew’s parents were in town were a blast. We played quite a few card games, went through a couple of bottles of wine and all in all had a great time. It was sad to see them go, and it’s a bit daunting now that we’ve set our visit expectations so high. I wonder where our next trip might be? Thailand? Singapore? Spain? I suppose it’s our turn to head back to the States next. I miss it, a little. But I’m not ready to go back just yet.

Sunset over Ultimate Frisbee gameAndrew and I are in high planning  and preparation for our next great adventure and we leave later today! Our roommates will have to hold down the fort as we’re off and who knows when we’ll come back. Well, I suppose we do, as I have a job interview week after next which means I have to get back early, but alas, we’re not going to think about that just now. Towels, check. Backpack, check. Guidebook, check. Clean underwear, hmm, I better run and get some laundry done! I’ll write more soon!