Wednesday, 10 September 2014

San Diego, I Really Like You

I'm back with the next post, you guys... at last! ;) I told you this was going to be a slow process... {You probably just didn't realise how slow, though, did you? Hahahaha!} Ah well... I will get there eventually - so here goes...


So after our little road trip down from Los Angeles via Carlsbad, we arrived in gorgeous San Diego mid afternoon.

San Diego is one of those cities that has a really good feeling about it. Everybody we'd spoken to before we left told us that we'd love that city, and that they could easily live there. Of course the gorgeous weather certainly helps it's case, but the city is also easy to get around, the city centre is vibey {especially at night}, the Old Town is very quaint, Coronado island was incredibly cute and boy do they have an awesome premium outlet centre in that place. +++ So, yes, I think I'd have to agree - San Diego is pretty damn fine, as far cities go. :)

We'd booked a hotel that was located quite close to Sea World, on one of the many waterways in the city. We didn't have the beach in front of us, but looked out on all the boats in the marina:

^ Here's Sarah, on our little balcony. ^

^ It was a quick walk down to the hotel pool... ^

... where we spent the rest of our first afternoon. This hotel had an awesome pool area with two water slides, a poolside restaurant and a fire pit where we had our first s'mores on our first night there.

^ Sadly this is the only decent photo we got from our time around that fire pit making those s'mores {and it's not even very decent, sorry}.  But I'm pleased we got to make those yummy treats because it was one of the things I wanted to do while we were in the States. ^

^ And here's another sad quality night photo while I'm at it. I'm including this because throughout our time over in California we got to see quite a lot of fireworks displays, thanks to the 4th of July celebrations. It was a huge treat and made our holiday feel extra special too! Thanks, America! ^

The next day, Grant took Luke to Legoland {us girls were definitely theme-parked out by then}, Jess took some down time and Sarah and I hired a peddle boat and went to see the seals.

That night we went to the Old Town for dinner and a wander around. And boy is that a cute place:

We had dinner at an amazing Mexican restaurant called Barra Barra Saloon where we were spoilt with these awesome margaritas:

^ Those things were seriously good. Mmmm. ^

^ And the food wasn't too bad, either. ;) ^

This place made me feel as if I was on the set of a Western movie!

We found a cute, old-fashioned sweet shop too, and spent quite a while choosing some delicious sweets in that place:

I really loved that Old Town! Can you tell?

And the next day we went to Sea World. But more on that in my next post. I really want to get this one out before it gets too photo heavy and you seriously start wondering where I am!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Class Field Trip


Last Friday I helped out on Sarah's class field trip to the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum down at the waterfront in Auckland.

The Year 9s are learning about immigration during their Humanities lessons at school at the moment, and the visit to this museum was organised to give them more insight into this fascinating subject because that cute museum just happens to showcase the story of how and when New Zealand was discovered, who came to live and settle here {and why} and of course how they got here. I've got to admit that I love going on these school field trips because I get to learn so much too! ;)

Immigration is a fascinating {and obviously very relevant} topic for us as a family, but I guess everybody in New Zealand is an immigrant to one degree or another, so learning about how it all happened is appealing, and made me happy that I'd signed up to go along that day.

We started off the day with a walk around Wynyard Quarter on the waterfront...

where I took this photo of some silos in Silo Park...

... and where this little Waterfront Container Library lives! How cute is this idea? You can come down here and sit in the sun {or under cover if it's raining} and read, do a book swap, or just use the library facility.  Simple. Easy. Awesome. I love it!

And then we made our way back to the museum which is an awesome place too. I love it when museums make their exhibits interactive - it keeps kids well entertained and makes for effortless learning while having fun.

They have a room down there that simulates a real bunk room/cabin from one of the old sailing ships that the immigrants would have sailed out on to get to New Zealand. It heaves and moves up and down to give you some idea of what the immigrants would have experienced {although they would obviously have had to endure much worse at times and they'd also have been cooped up for 3-4 months as opposed to our few minutes in there}. Immigration is definitely not for sissies. ;)

The kids also loved having a go on the 'America's Cup type yacht simulator thingy' {you know what I mean, don't you?}. They spent ages at that place - using all the equipment and attempting to plot their course out at sea. 

And then we got to go for a sail around the harbour on the Jane Gifford.

How beautiful is this huge waka in the foreground? I think they said it was only a couple of years old and was built to show us the type of boats that the Polynesian people came out to New Zealand on, so many years ago. Wow, immigrants are some hardy and adventurous people. ;) Can you imagine setting sail with only the stars to guide you, not knowing when you would find land and what you would find there? Brave, I tell you.

Here are the girls making themselves useful on board the sailing boat that morning. ;)

And here are two of the parent helpers who were making sure that nobody fell overboard. ;)

It was absolutely freezing out on the bay that morning, but good to get some fresh air out on the water!

And our timing was brilliant because we got to see someone doing a bungy jump off the bridge just as we were passing by...

Can you see that bungy jumping capsule under the bridge there? Now those people are also brave!

All in all, it was a great day out. And if you're visiting Auckland I would definitely recommend a visit to the Maritime Museum with a sail around the harbour - you'll go home having learnt all about New Zealand's beginnings and about some of the awesome people who have settled here.