A new year! Is it weird that I believe that even years are luckier than odd years? i have nothing to substantiate this claim, and in fact it’s possible to infer from the years of blogging that odd years may have actually been marginally better. Or may be there are all the same really, with each having its fair shares of highs and lows.
Anyway! It’s an even year and I’m happy about it. I don’t have any huge resolutions. Predominantly because history has taught me I’m terrible at ‘resolutions’ and making changes in general. I start string and about 3 days in give up and refer back to older stronger habits.
So this year I’ve got intentions (resolutions by another name?) They mostly revolve around being calmer and more present, loosing 15kg and getting fit by running and walking more. So, same as every other year really.
We started strong with bike rides and hiking in the hills and going to the library to get out books to read in the evenings rather than web browsing and surfing social media. I have ordered chatbooks for both my own and the kids instagram accounts and my goal is to be mindful of the pictures I post so the albums become pleasantly collated records not a random mumble jumble of images.
The house is clean, I’m on top of the washing (shock!) and we are putting the phones, laptops and tablets down for more engaged time over puzzles and board games. So far so good. It is only day 8 of the new year tho.
Failing so far … still eating far to much chocolate. Blessings … the bakery is still closed so at least I can’t eat to much cake.
Blogging in 2018. My intention for this year is deceptively simple. I want to blog more regularly and take many many more pictures. I will keep up the 12 Monthly Photos of the Kid, and I am hoping to do 12 Months of Adventures – I think it’s my attempt to be mindful of the passing months and not to miss out on doing something, however big or small. Hopefully by the end of each month I’ll have a couple of adventures to choose from. May be. That’s the idea anyway. Call it work in progress.
January started on a high with a trip to Akaroa to have a walk, wander about and eat good food.
We are lucky that half way through the exhausting final few months before christmas the weather gets warmer, the days get longer and lighter and there is even a public holiday that coupled with a teacher only day at school (a new thing for us!) we turned into a 4 day weekend.
One of those days we headed to the beach and enjoyed paddling, drone flying and a walk along the cliffs. Embracing summer and taking time to make the days special.
We had a lovely trip over to the coast a couple of weekends ago. We went primarily as the kid had a gym comp over there but turned it onto a nice couple of family days and walking and exploring. Pictures in reverse order as thats how they loaded and I’m to lazy to move them about. All off my phone as well as we both forgot to take cameras with us! Oops.
The drive over was lovely and went nice and fast, it’s a gorgeous drive although twisty and bendy in parts and requires a lot of concentration. We stopped off at Hokitika Gorge, the beach and then the Air B&B. It was the sweetest little old school villa but warm and cosy and comfy and close to the town centre (and competition gym).
We ate supper at a old school pub with the cutest friendliest pub cat and after we saw glow worms in two seperate grottos – they were amazing! Its like looking at a starry sky, but your staring at a earth bank! After a successful competition we headed to an amazing tree top walk (so high, so very very high) we headed home and stopped at the kids favourite spot on the way for a walk and fresh air.
So lovely to be back in our familiar spaces
Our last days in Norway were spent in Geiranger and Bergen. I didn’t get any pics of Bergen. We just had a quiet walking and exploring day and because it was a bit overcast the camera stayed in the bag. It is a beautiful town, full of little nooks and lanes as well as a great place to walk, eat and relax (and buy reindeer skin – if you’re me anyway)
Geiranger was probably our most favourite place of the whole trip – magical. It was another foggy morning when we docked but by the time we had got up out of the village and into the hills it cleared into the most beautiful day. We hiked up to Storseterfossen waterfall – it was a steep steep hike but great fun and well worth it. The views were magnificent. On the hike back down we stopped off at a little farm and got ice creams and drinks before descending the final few km’s to the village.
Leaving through the fjords was spectacular – none of the pictures can capture the scale of the waterfalls, hundreds of feet tall, plunging into the fjord, straight down the cliffs. One un-captured but magical moment was seeing a ice dam release at the head of an almost vertical glacier further up the fjord and vast quantities of water snow and ice cascading down like an enormous waterfall. Only to vanish minutes later.
It’s not a bad life – Norway was definitley the highlight of May.
We had a wonderful trip up the English Channel to Norway – smooth calm seas and most of the travelling done at night. Our first stop was Stavanger and we headed out of the town to hike the Manafossen waterfall. It was a short but steep walk up to the top to view the falls but well worth the effort. Lots of scrambling up steps and rocks holding a chain. The kid was delighted! We didn’t really venture into the town much – towns aren’t really our thing, and drizzle and decreasing temperatures meant we headed inside for hot chocolate and crepes. had a wonderful trip up the English Channel to Norway – smooth calm seas and most of the travelling done at night. Our first stop was Stavanger and we headed out of the town to hike the Manafossen waterfall. It was a short but steep walk up to the top to view the falls but well worth the effort. Lots of scrambling up steps and rocks holding a chain. The kid was delighted! We didn’t really venture into the town much – towns aren’t really our thing, and drizzle and decreasing temperatures meant we headed inside for hot chocolate and crepes.
Our second stop was Skjolden – a tiny little village at the end of a long fjord. We woke to thick and uninspiring fog which cleared delightfully into a beautiful sunny blue skied day. We walked up into the hills to look down on the village, following a small track back through the woods along the lakeside. After a ice cream break and stocking up on water we followed the other side of the lake to go and look at some more huge waterfalls. There were a lot of waterfalls on this trip – half way through the kid announced “yes mum, its a waterfall, just like all the others!”
We had a whirlwind but great trip to Canada in March, there are more pictures untaken than taken. We explored new cities, used AirB&B for the first time (huge success) met with old friends, the kid got to take contortion classes with a pro. She trained twice in 5 days and loved every single second.
We drove miles and miles, walked the streets to take in the sights, enjoyed the aquarium when the outside was just to cold. Ice skated in the sunshine and loved every second of Niagara Falls.
The pics above are an embarrassing hodge podge of hubby’s edited images and my iphone snaps. But they offer a flavour. It was great. It was cold. It was fun.
There isn’t much snow in the Isle of Man. And by that I mean it very very rarely snows. And when it does its fleeting and up high. So last week we felt especially lucky to head out walking early in the morning to see Snaefell under a cloud with a white dusting. All plans for a glen walk went out the window and off we headed up the mountain road (past the ice warnings, lamenting the fact we are driving a mini not a 4×4)
We got to the top of the road and parked up on an icy carpark which was melting fast. The sun was coming out fleetingly through thick clouds and the temperate while still biting with the wind, was warming up. Which honestly was good as I hadn’t packed for snow. And certainly not snow on the top of a mountain.
Snaefell is a mountain. But not by a lot; 37 feet to be exact. But its still a mountain and the kid was absolutely determined this was going to be her first snow capped mountain climb. Gumboots, wooly hat, a solo glove and her lighter Therm jacket (we wished we had their new season ski jacket with us as it is super padded) kept her warm enough with the exertion of climbing. The kid powered up, even the steep slippery section right below the summit didn’t phase her. At the top the clouds parted momentarily and the views were amazing.
After climbing up the east side we decided to walk back around the west facing back of the slope; along the rail-line that runs in the summer months. The sun hadn’t reached the back so it was lovely and not melting yet. By the time we got back round to the car the snow and ice in the car park was gone. The sunny eastern side of the hill was running with water and nothing more than slush.
The kid has ticked off ‘climbed her first snow capped mountain’ off her to do list and we got to see some of the most amazing views. A great day and one that made dragging ourselves up and out fairly early and in the cold totally and definitely worth it.
There isn’t a lot I can say about Milford Sound and the trip to get there that cannot be conveyed through the pictures. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and only had a half day of rain in the whole trip. We drove down slowly, taking time to stop at a variety of picture points, small walks and hikes off the road.
It is hard to explain quite how remote Fiordland really is. Its a comfy 6h from Queenstown and for 2/3rds of that drive you need to expect no cell phone coverage. Once you are past Te Anau there is none. at. all. Milford is off the grid so runs off generators and hydroelectric. If you do want to use internet its via satellite (and surprisingly usable!)
We stayed ay Milford Sound Lodge and were really super impressed with the accommodation, people and the food. And the kea who came to our door every time he saw us.
We did a lovely boat tour with a stop in at the Discovery Centre. I wasn’t really sure what we would see ‘under water’ in a fiord – for the record – plenty! A huge variety of fish, corals, sea cucumbers, star fish and anemones. On the boat tour we saw seals and little crested penguins.
After two amazing days down there, we headed back to Queenstown for a couple of nights before coming home. Great food, fun on the Luge and gondola. More great food. Then lots of driving with big vistas. Long hours. But worth it.
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