In Which We Pick Apples

There’s an island about 20 min. from Old Québec City, across the Lawrence River, called, “Île d’Orléans”. It is an agricultural land with fertile soil and lots of strawberry fields, apple orchards, farmers’ stands, dairy farms, alfalfa fields, vineyards and quaint 18th century style houses. There is only one bridge across the river to the island and one main road all the way around. We were advised to go during the week rather than the weekend since the bridge can get very backed up with traffic. It worked out perfectly and there weren’t any traffic jams on this past Wednesday afternoon.

We were in search of apples to pick ourselves, as well as some cider. Both hard and fresh. In a travel brochure Daniel read about iced ciders available at Verger Joe Giguère, so it was the one we stopped at. First we visited the cider tasting shop, and then went out to pick our apples.

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I have to admit, Daniel did most of the picking. Natasha helped some, but really just wanted to skip and prance around the orchard. Meanwhile, I was tending to a slightly hungry baby, playing photographer and holding (and tasting) Natasha’s apple when she wasn’t munching on it.

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This particular orchard sold out of their fresh cider over the weekend so we went in search of some at other locations while the kiddos slept and I admired the houses and barns of the island.

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Canada does fall very well indeed.

Two Days to Quebec City

Driving 13 hours to Quebec with children isn’t as easy as driving 13 hours without children. But if you divide it up between two days, keep snacks handy, stop often, and be sure to have audio books downloaded, it can be done.

September 2016

September 2016

We divided our travel time into two days stopping at Toronto for the part-way mark. The sunrise the next morning was beautiful over the city in the distance.

September 2016

September 2016

On the road again, some of us took naps…

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…while the scenery of Quebec whizzed by. We arrived after dark in Quebec City at our AirBnB house, grateful to be out of the car.

September 2016

Time to Travel

It has been a while aye? But here we are again, ready to use 4, yes, 4, passports and see some new parts of the country. This time on our own continent, up north in Canada. We drove this time, so we could bring our bikes and do some leisure cycling. Daniel has really enjoyed mountain biking the past year or so, and there are some good trails he’d like to try. As for me, I’ll stick with my Dutch City style bike. More on all that later.

But in the mean time, we’re happy to be traveling once again.

September 2016

There’s A Hole in the Ground

Well, it’s time to play catch-up. Despite all my best efforts at blogging in the here and now and trying to keep things updated and close to the actual event, sometimes I just stop blogging because I am enjoying the here and now.

You see, we are home now, back in the States and it’s just not quite New Zealand. We saw a lot on the way home, which I will of course share at some point, and now we are home with very mixed feelings. It has its nice points for sure, like being in our own little house again with our own kitchen. Natasha has her beloved stuffed animals to play with again, and Thanksgiving is coming. (I love an American Thanksgiving, and that’s something that Kiwis don’t have.) But we miss a lot from Down Under. Things like amazing scenery and the urge to rush outside because if you don’t, you might miss seeing something spectacular. Fun accents wherever you go, washed carrots, and the sense of exploring whenever you exit the door.

I’m sure it’s just a matter of creating those same feelings wherever you are, but sometimes you just can’t create amazing scenery. There simply aren’t big hills to climb where we live in the midwest, or rocky coastlines.

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So to pick up where we left off back in October, Logan and Maria were still with us and we were exploring more of Abel Tasman National Park. On this particular outing, we drove up the mountain pass towards Takaka with an extra passenger. Just before we started up the mountain, we picked up a backpacker who was hitchiking. That added something new to the drive!

We weren’t going all the way to the town of Takaka right then since we wanted to stop at Harwood’s Hole, so Nikko hopped out before we headed back the gravel drive to the entrance to the hole. He wasn’t there when we came out, so we assume he got a ride down the mountain.

Meanwhile, we were hiking in the most magical forest I’ve ever encountered. Everything was mossy and green like a rainforest.

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There were bogs.

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And rocks to climb over. (This was considered an “easy” walking path.)

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And purple mushrooms.

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And leafy, lettuce-looking moss.

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And of course, a ginormous hole in the ground. It was so massive, we just basically sat down and stayed there. You couldn’t really see the bottom or the entrance because of the angle, so we just observed. There were some German hikers there at the same time and one guy in particular was more daring than us. So we just watched him climb and prayed we wouldn’t watch him fall. (He didn’t.)

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On our way back out, it might seem cliche, but I really wanted my picture with a sheep. The road went right through their pasture and was rather picturesque. (But what isn’t in New Zealand?!)

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A Scottish Highlander met us on our way out as well:

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So from there, we let Maria take the driver’s seat and we went down Takaka Hill to the town in search of milk. As faithful readers might remember, we searched out milk in Central America and Europe, so it was only fitting that we do it here as well.

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When we first came through Abel Tasman National Park, we saw the sign “Raw Milk” out by the road and stopped to investigate.

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This was by far the most elaborate set up we’ve encountered. Village Milk even has a website and obviously, it’s not illegal to sell raw milk in New Zealand.

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Their shed, right on the farm was complete with a fridge containing clean glass bottles to purchase, and a sanitation process that steams customer’s containers before the milk fills them.

We weren’t prepared to get any milk that first time, but this time we brought our empty water jug and procured some. It cost $2.50 a litre. (New Zealand dollar.) Kind of appropriate that Logan and Maria were here when we actually bought some, since Daniel and I met on their dairy farm and have so many great memories of times spent there.

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On our way home we had enough time and sunlight to show Logan and Maria Split Apple Rock. This time it was at low tide, and we could get a lot closer to the rock and explore some of the caves nearby.

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Instead of me bringing little treasures home without a clear purpose for them, I photographed my finds.
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In Which We Traverse Curvy Roads

With our second round of visitors, we decided to take them to our second favorite location, Cape Foulwind. (Our top favorite spot was Castle Hill.) The roads here can be very curvy when you need to climb over mountain passes and such and after only walking or biking for a couple weeks at a time, riding in a vehicle again can give some folks a bit of carsick feelings. Maria and I weren’t feeling that great, but we finally arrived.  It was definitely warmer this second visit, but I tell you, that place is quite appropriately named because the wind can be very breezy.

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This time we decided to hike a little further than last time and we went all the way to the lighthouse and back. The sign says it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to walk one way, but on our return trip, we tried to hurry along without stopping a ton of times and it only took us 45 minutes. But we really were scurrying.

This picture does not accurately illustrate the height of where I was standing. It was windy and a little worrisome to stay too long…

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Can you see this sign? It says, “Please keep children by you at all times.” So it was very handy that I had a child to keep near me for my own safety. :)
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This is not meant to look like a worn out group of trekkers, truly. We were attempting a serious look. It might not have worked…

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Following Cape Foulwind, Logan drove us to Pancake Rocks. It was another quick visit, but the rocks were still just as amazing.

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