It has been really great to be able to spend some family time this trip, catching up with Pete, Nadine and Ruben. Firstly to see them at home and have a place where we can always picture them, and to see their beach and their pets and the place where Pete works and to meet some of their friends. We had a lazy day there catching up with the washing, re-sorting the suitcases halfway round the world, and, most important, chatting. They had invited friends round to join us for a party in the late afternoon, evening, so we got food ready, then had a nice sociable time.
The next day we were setting off with them to a cottage they had booked us in Napier, on the beach by Hawkes bay. As we travelled they showed us some of the sights, like the heritage village of Onga Onga, and we passed a huge all girl cycle race, which was a surprise. The cottage was great but the weather vile, so, as Joy had sent some money for us to go out for a nice meal, we did and we really enjoyed it. Thanks a lot for being so thoughtful and generous Joy.
The next day we had a great time being shown round the sights of Napier, the Art Deco town. It had to include a few of the town’s gardens, including a very impressive man made waterfall. The buildings are incredible and it makes it even more interesting to know the history and reason why it came about. Perhaps Christchurch could adopt a new post earthquake style. It continues to upset us to see how badly affected it is. We heard from the lovely old couple we stayed with there and they are lucky to be alive. Neither was at home when it happened but their house and the street it is on has been destroyed. The brewery has also been wiped out but they are all well and living in the B& B next door, where we were, which is OK, though they still have no power or water.
We also explored the wineries around and bought some great wine and port, then saw the surrounding countryside. There was a fabulous viewpoint at Te Mata from which you could see the most beautiful scenery for miles all around you. It was popular with paragliders too, being so high in the midst of a wide plain. As you can see the weather was great and we had a lovely barbeque sitting round the fire pit on the beach, with Ruben loving trying out his Ray Mears fire starting techniques! He has really grown up a lot and can explain everything you need to know about various fishing techniques. I learnt a whole new vocabulary!