Christmas Day!

Posted: December 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s a little after 9 on Christmas morning. I’ve got coffee steeping (they use the French press method here that I’m just getting used to…but I like it…it’s good strong coffee)…it’s a perfectly sunny, cloudless day, the sounds of birds chirping fills the air. Two horses are grazing by that stand of pine trees near our cottage…hummingbirds are fighting over flowers and their nectar. In short…it doesn’t suck!

Kelly and Ava are still asleep. Ava went to bed last night knowing that Santa would find here here in New Zealand, but would be leaving only a few small presents. Not only did Santa visit Ava back home in Rhode Island the day before we left for this trip, but he told her that her “real” presents would be waiting for her under the tree when she returned home.

There was a Santa with his sleigh and reindeer being pulled through town on a parade float yesterday as we were food shopping, and Ava commented that although that could’ve been the real Santa, it was obvious those were fake reindeer. Sharp kid.

So last night we drove a good half-hour to get to our dinner destination: the Old Church restaurant, which was just that. The grounds were beautiful…again, everything here has a vineyard around it…and the interior was nicely redone in a sort of whimsical, Alice in Wonderland style. It was a cool room, but when the maitre’d told us that the owners now live in Hawaii and only visit every few months, we knew the food was not going to be what we had hoped for, and we were right. Ava got a kids’ pizza and ate enough to be happy to play with her toys at the table. I had a shrimp appetizer which was OK and a venison loin as a main course, which wasn’t bad, but just didn’t taste all that great. Kelly had an asparagus-three-ways appetizer that was mediocre at best, and she couldn’t even eat her duck main course. Disappointing…but I suppose we’re bound to get a few of those on any trip.

So Kelly’s awake now, and Ava is still snoring away…obviously the whole idea of waking up early on Christmas hasn’t caught up to her yet. She still loves her sleep.
We might leave the cottage today for a little ride…it’s such a beautiful day. A half hour north of here is a town called Napier, where we almost stayed. Its claim to fame is that they had an earthquake there back in the 30’s and the rebuilt many of the buildings in an art deco style that remains today. They call themselves the world’s art deco capital…not the most thrilling thing in the world, but a fun quick drive-thru.

If we don’t do that, there’s an even closer trip to Te Mata peak, a nearby mountain that would allow us a great view of the area, and maybe even a cool shot of our cottage from high above.

But we’ll also have to get back and cook our Christmas dinner, pack our gear for tomorrow’s journey southward all the way to the bottom of the North Island and the city of Wellington, where we will board a car ferry that will cross the sound and take us to the South Island of New Zealand!

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