A Pause in the Story

Some of you have been able to follow along as the Blogger Babes have shared happy stories from New Zealand and Australia.

Photo Credit: Alys’ camera on timer 🙂

Pauline (and her oh so much fun daughters Danella and Joanna, and Joanna’s partner Steve), Alys (and her husband Mike), Boomdee, and I had the most amazing time! Its hard to believe that after all the anticipation and planning, we are back home and blogging about it. I urge you to visit the blogs of these remarkable women and read their posts about the Blogger Babes Trip of a Lifetime. In case you are checking in for the first time, we:

All too soon our holiday came to an end, and some of our group journeyed back home. As for me, and for Alys and Mike, further adventures awaited. While Alys and Mike toured more of New Zealand, I prepared to fly off to Australia to begin my solo adventure. Before that though, I enjoyed hiking and jetboating in Queenstown.

Once in Australia, I spent two days touring Melbourne and one fabulous day in Sydney.

The trip was incredible and after a couple years of anticipation and planning, it is hard to believe that the trip is over, and that we are all back home. Of course, being back home means that the world intrudes and the fullness of life gets in the way of blogging, and visiting blogger friends. So while I have so much more to share from the trip, I’m going to take a short break from writing new posts to visit all of you.

I’ll be back soon to share stories and images from The Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park.

Cheers!

Three Days in Dunedin

Please take a moment to read Alys’ take on our journey thus far ❤

Gardening Nirvana

I’m having the time of my life!

In some ways this journey began two years ago.  During a Skype session, the Blogging Babes, as we’ve come to call ourselves, dreamed out loud of a trip to see Pauline in New Zealand. In 2015 Pauline joined us on our side of the world for an incredible trip to Virginia and Washington, D.C. Our time together deepened the friendships and expanded our hearts.

Now here we are three years later, meeting up with Pauline and her two lovely daughters in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Mike drove me to the San Francisco airport where I connected with Laurie. Though I dreaded the 13 hour flight across the Pacific, I was in for some lovely surprises.

SFO at Joe & the Juice Putting our heads together at Joe & the Juice, SFO (This one’s for you, Joe)

We got our sillies on five minutes into our journey, before boarding the…

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University of Otago

After a wonderful day Experiencing Dunedin and Otago Harbour, we slowed our pace with a lovely walk around the University of Otago.

With the first students being accepted in July 1871, it is the oldest university in New Zealand, and the third oldest in Oceania.

With over 20,000 students, the University offers Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degrees in Health Sciences, other Sciences, Business, and Humanities.

I’m not sure which was more impressive: the architecture or the trees!  The stone, while of a darker color, reminded me of Hokie Stone.

The walk was peaceful, offered wonderful scenery, and was the perfect way to end our day.

5 Person Trike Ride Around Otago Harbour

Pauline arranged for the most fun outing: a 5 person trike ride around Dunedin and Otago Harbour!  This bike chick loved it, as did everyone else.  What a blast!

We met our guide Andrew, owner of Experience Dunedin at The Octagon in the Central Business District of Dunedin, and soon we were off.

Andrew obligingly hit the gas and we found ourselves hooting out loud with excitment!

The roads were curvy and changed elevation frequently, and I was reminded of riding back home in southwest Virginia.  Well, except for the “wrong side” of the road thing.

 

The views of the harbour were incredible and these photos do not do them justice.

Alys took some great photos with her selfie stick, so please visit her blog to see more!

Thank you, Pauline, for arranging for this fun, fun outing, and to Alys for treating us!

St Clair Beach, Dunedin, New Zealand

At the end of a low key day spent recovering from travel, we took the short drive to see the ocean from St Clair Beach.

Those who know me may remember that when I see any body of water, I soon have my feet in it.  The water was chilly but I was thrilled to be feeling the water of the Pacific.

The images speak for themselves, don’t you think?

As the sun began to set, we found a coffee shop and warmed up over coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

It was a lovely way to end our first day in Dunedin.

Dunedin: Rest, Recovery, and Pauline’s World

When we finally went to bed, I can honestly say that I don’t remember my head hitting the pillow.   Eight solid hours of sleep later, I was wide awake and feeling pretty good.  Even still, it takes more than 8 hours to recover from that long day of travel, and I was glad that we had a low key day spent exploring Pauline’s world, including her family.

We awoke to see Danella’s patio garden.  Even though the day was overcast, the flowers beckoned and my camera was soon put into action.  I’ve never taken my laptop on a trip before but I knew that I would want to share photos from the camera, not just the phone.

Danella provided coffee and toast (perfect with fresh tomotoes!) and soon Pauline and Siddy joined us.  That Siddy! He is adored by everyone that he meets.  What a sweet puppy!

After a quick nap, we took the short ride to Pauline’s home.  After a lifetime of seeing the driver in the front left seat, it was odd to see just the opposite.  Siddy, on Alys’s lap, enjoyed the fresh air!

Fans of Pauline already know what a talented artist she is.  It was wonderful to see her space and all her creations, and of course, the illusive Orlando!

 

We enjoyed an assortment of snacks accompanied by New Zealand wine, and after being joined by Joanna and Steven, a delicious dinner.

Dessert was the traditional Pavlova, prepared by Pauline and served by Joanna.  Evidently, New Zealanders and Australians disagree over who created this yummy dessert.

Before heading back to Danella’s for the night, we took a drive to see the ocean.  See the next post!

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The Journey Begins

The 40 hour travel day was worth it!  And we’ve only been here 2 days.

Often times blogging equals journaling and the posts from this journey will definitely serve that purpose.  I want to look back when I’m 80 and be able to remember this trip of a lifetime.  Join me as you like, and of course, feel free to comment, too.

The first leg of the trip had me leaving my home in Radford and driving to Roanoke at 4am.  A four hour layover at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, DC gave me the opportunity to enjoy the scenery and an airport bar / restaurant.

The five hour flight to San Franciso was uneventful, and soon I was having a joyful reunion with Alys.

We were both so impressed with Air New Zealand.   The plane was enourmous and new, the service from the flight attendants was wonderful, and the food and ammenities kept us occupied during that 12 hour journey.  We loved being able to order wine and snacks and play games using the touchscreen right in front of us.

 

Yes, sleep was a bit elusive, but all in all, it wasn’t bad.  There was one glitch, though. The plane had an air conditioning malfunction which led to a delay out of San Francisco.  We knew that making our connection would be a challenge and we practically ran through the Auckland airport trying to make our next flight.  Unfortunately, the Customs folks were concerned about dog treats and the possibility of fruit being brought into the country, and ultimately we missed our plane.

Always one to find the upside to a negative, the wait for the next flight gave me the opportunity to taste my first New Zealand beer.  It may have been 8:30 am local time, but it was 2:30 in the afternoon on the East Coast. Perfect time for a beer!  I ordered the Panhead (because of the motorcycle) but since the keg blew right when I got there, I enjoyed the All Blacks Steinlager, named for THE Rugby team of New Zealand.

After a long day of travel, we were greeted by Pauline and the famous Siddy.  Soon enough, we were seeing Boomdeeadda again, too.

Danella has opened up her home to us, and what a marvelous hostess she is!

Stayed tuned for Day 1 in Dunedin!