Fall in Quebec

We have biked.

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We have returned to Île d’Orléans for more apple cider and added some squash to our purchases.06-36707-370
(The butternut squash truly are “méga” here.)
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We have changed a baby’s complete outfit on a picnic table in the golden sunshine.04-001

We have soaked up all the views and all the autumn glory Canada has to offer.05-00501-010

And it has been so good.02-02203-0171-016

A Caribbean Interruption

We interrupt this ongoing (and perhaps never ending) series of New Zealand updates, to bring you a few pictures of our most recent traveling adventure. Last month Daniel and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. Daniel planned a short get-away for just the two of us to and my only request was that it might be somewhere that didn’t require me to wear a coat. Puerto Rico has plenty of plantains and weather that doesn’t require multiple layers, so that’s where we landed.

It was a very good choice. We had anticipated it being a LOT more humid than it was, so when we weren’t sweating every moment outdoors it was a most pleasant surprise and relief. We enjoyed it immensely. Still, you’d think we would end up spending hours by the beach laying out, but that just isn’t our style. Old San Juan has a fort about 500 years old, and that’s where we ended up spending a fair amount of time. In the shade of course. I was not  going to return home with a sunburn, and I admit, I’m a little too proud that I was very successful in that resolution.

Our first hotel had an infinity pool, which we enjoyed by moonlight. (Better on my northern pale skin than sunlight…)

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During the day, we did a fair amount of walking (and waiting for buses when we didn’t feel like walking), sight-seeing in Old San Juan, exploring the shady old narrow streets, and sitting to read with the ocean waves crashing nearby.

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We also observed reptiles.

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We didn’t avoid the beach completely; I wasn’t going to return home without getting my feet wet with salty water at least once.

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The old streets were incredibly fun to walk along. Bright colors and fun doors…and all that.

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Just being able to sit and read without interruption until we felt like doing something else, or until we got hungry, seemed like a pure luxury.

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I tell you, it was beautiful.

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San Juan is a busy port for many cruise lines, and watching these giant ships was mesmerizing. IMG_3360

It’s All in Who You Know

We all know this, but I’m continually being reminded of it. Remember when I mentioned that I sat beside a pilot on the flight from Auckland to Nelson? We had planned on getting a taxi, but he offered to drive us to our holiday house that night, and we gratefully accepted. I’m very glad we exchanged numbers and all those numbers were exchanged and saved correctly, because that meeting was most serendipitous.

We had Greg and his family over to our house to share a meal when Wes and Lydia were here, and they introduced us to Pavlova. When here, Greg offered to take us out on his boat sometime. Once again, we took him up on his generous offer. Wes and Lyd have since gone home, but now our good friends Maria and Logan have come down to visit us (!) so they happily joined us out on the Tasman Sea last week.

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We liked going fast and hitting waves.

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Greg’s son Misha joined us and he patiently and kindly explained all the various lures to Natasha, and Daniel did try fishing, but the waves were too rough even when we were sitting still for very good fishing opportunities.

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The wee one sat a little too long in the bow and was feeling a little bit woozy…so we brought her out in the open, and gave her a ginger pill for motion sickness.

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The Boulder Bank Lighthouse has become somewhat of an inside joke, which I will now share with you so you won’t feel left out. When Wes and Lydia flew in, they noticed the long strip of land on the Nelson port, and a white lighthouse. Lydia was curious about it, so of course I looked it up and discovered that it is possible to walk to the Boulder Bank Lighthouse. The specific walking info from New Zealand’s Department of Conservation’s website says, (and I quote):

“A walk along the Nelson Boulder Bank is an opportunity not to be missed. The eight kilometre walk, from Boulder bank Drive to ‘The Cut’ takes 2-3 hours one way. The Boulder Bank is rough, dry and very exposed, so be prepared for all kinds of weather and wear strong shoes.”

Well, as you might imagine, we quickly decided it WAS an opportunity that we didn’t mind missing at all, and left it at that.

Fast forward then to explaining the story of the lighthouse to our second round of visitors, and Logan and Maria both agreed with our previous conclusion that it wasn’t imperative to visit this lighthouse. However, when Greg took us out on the boat, we mentioned our amusement at the “opportunity we were missing” and he said we could stop by when on the boat. Imagine that. Skipping the 3 hours one-way walk over rough rocks and treacherous weather conditions, to see the lighthouse that shouldn’t be missed in the first place!

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It was another happy circumstance that we would have missed, but didn’t have to since we knew someone who offered us a boat ride. And, we gratefully skipped the 3 hour rocky hike!

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Here’s the view from the lighthouse, looking back towards Nelson:
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Since the waves were too rough for lingering in to fish, we headed back to the port and some of us took turns driving the boat. Even the youngest of our party, who was feeling less seasick by now.

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The following evening, Greg’s wife Ros, invited us over to share some BBQ with them, so we were able to get to know them even more. It was a fun evening with more pavlova and introduced to us a Kiwi favorite candy: Pineapple Lumps.

Thank you so much Greg, Ros, Misha, Soren and Nathaniel, for sharing New Zealand with us!
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Kiwi Food and Playground Fun

After returning from our road trip, we basically stuck close to home and did some fun stuff in Nelson. One of those things was trying Hokey Pokey ice cream, which is a Kiwi classic. Lydia says it tastes like Lucky Charms, when in fact, it’s “gold nuggets” of honeycomb stirred into vanilla ice cream. Note the picture of Pancake Rocks on the front:02-033
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Wes specifically looked up which grocer might have a dairy-free option, and I simply loved the container of what he found. Plus, the contents were mighty tasty too.

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I had this funny hankering for peanut butter and I think it might have stemmed from us passing the Pic’s factory a few times coming in and out of Nelson. Indeed, this hit the spot. No need to only enjoy it here though, they ship to the USA!03-030

Another popular Kiwi thing is L & P carbonated beverage. It’s a lemon flavored pop, similar to Sprite or something, but I think it tastes more lemony and “real”. I like how the website describes it as, “World famous in New Zealand.” :) We paired it with some fish and chips at the Nelson beach, before heading to the playground for some playing.06-001
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It might look like Natasha is doing the sole job of holding Myah up, but Lydia was literally about a foot away with her arm out to grab Myah. Neither girl was very stable and specifically when slightly “attached” as in a hug, any secure feelings quickly leave.
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Daniel and Wes had some fun too…
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