Day 44 and my favorite Coffee Club and a picture for my Mom

The transition from America to New Zealand is incredibly easy.  Besides the driving everything else translates quite easily.  Most of our time in Auckland was spent walking the streets, Queens St. in particular.  It is where the shopping and dining was for the most part.  The trek from our hotel to the wharf (on Queen Street) was all downhill which meant quite a climb coming back and usually in the rain.  If I were to advise someone on the best time of year to come to New Zealand it would be come in September/October.  That is spring for both islands.  With that said, the temperatures have just slightly cold vs the 120 degrees in Phoenix.  The rain is a good tradeoff.

The other great street was Parnell.  Though it had limited shopping, there were a lot of  delicious boutique restaurants which were our favorite with one exception. There was a chain coffee shop which ended up having the… BEST HOT CHOCOLATE!  On our way to Keri Keri we found one and of course we had to stop!

Coffee Club -

This picture below was in the first Coffee Club we went to.  I fell in love with it.  It reminded me of my Mom.  She has quite a collection of tea pots (that we can’t seem to talk your into giving away).  It was beautiful. Probably 30×40.

I love this picture of pots

Look Ben Hunt…I found a really big glass to match your gallon soda jug!

French drinking

Now off to Keri Keri for 6 weeks…

Day 43 (July 3rd) Lemon Crepes on Queen St in Auckland…

We found this jewel of a restaurant just a few days before we left…this is both fortunate and unfortunate.  I ate a lot of lemon/sugar crepes…oh and some hot chocolate.  I am definitely not  losing weight but when in Auckland…

French business cardFrench


Such a cute little restaurant…

French kitchen

Cute little kitchen just up the cute little stairs.

french waitress

In New Zealand they always serve pink and white marshmellows.  I must have eaten the proof but it has been true every time I have ordered.  I’m revealing too much about my eating habits on this blog.

Best hot chocolate

Day 42 – Welcome Welcome Sabbath Morning…

And what a welcome it was!  I think every member of the ward made their way over to greet us!  They seemed quite delighted to have visitors.  The testimonies were full of stories, one that took 15 minutes and had us all completely confused over his point.  Other than that it was fun to sing hymns with the Saints and to feel so quickly a part of our world-wide family.  The ward was made up of 95% Mauries.  I think that’s how you spell it?!

Church in Auckland

We decided to break our fast by going to the wharf and finding a great seafood restaurant called Oyster Bar.  We had…steak.  In the middle of our dinner people around us started getting very excited about a man with a large trophy coming into the restaurant.  When we asked why it was such a big deal they were shocked that we did not recognized the trophy as it was the “American Cup”!  Well, that didn’t do me much good.  What was the American Cup and what sport did it represent?!  Sailing.  New Zealand won it back from the Americans just a few days ago and this guy (remember we were on the wharf) walks in with the trophy!!!  People were getting their pictures holding it so we jumped in.  Bob wanted to take the picture and our waitress was holding the trophy so I just jumped in before the opportunity passed pretending I understood the magnitude of the moment!  The one nagging thing for me was why was this guy carrying it around the wharf?!

Look closely at the top of both trophies…not the same?  I’m thinking we just got duped.

Day 41 – West Side Story

On our 3rd day here we took a walk along Parnell Street, a famous shopping and eating destination.  I’d call it more eating as there were  only 2 stores and 20 restaurants.  The find of the day was this tiny restaurant hidden in the back of an alley.  Best minestrone soup we have ever had!  hidden restaurantBob in hidden restaurantChristi hidden restuarantrestaurant 2

So this is when the value of the tour bus comes in.  We’re on the triple decker bus which gave me a perfect shot of the Civic Theater playing “Westside Story”.  Best part is that it advertised is night sky ceiling.  Bob said…we have to go see this!  Aside from the rain and wind, that broke our umbrellas, the theater and show did not disappoint!Tickets to West Side Storywestside Christistar ceilingstar ceiling 1Civic Theater curtain

By the way, walking around Auckland is a bit like San Fransisco.  This city is a hill.  On the top is our hotel.  Everything is lower which means getting there is easy, getting back is a hike…especially with the storm still raging after the show ended.  I was so grateful for a soft warm bed…

As for the show, I am always hoping that Tony doesn’t die in the end.  If I ever produce Westside Story I will have the bullet miss him so he and Maria can go on to have a family and live happily ever after.


Day 40 – Early “Fall” walk into a dream world.

We took advice from one of the books we read and decided to get to know the city by way of a tour bus.  Totally recommend for anyone going into a new city for the first time.  The first stop of the day was a park in the early morning hours with fog still lingering… Wow!

sunrise in parkfog in parkbob in fog

Yes, this happened.  Then we walk ourselves into this 100 year old greenhouse.  New Zealand’s first day was full of wonderful surprises…Greenhouse1greenhouse6Greenhouse7Greenhouse8Greenhouse3Greenhouse9Greenhouse5

And then luck would have it that we found a barber on our way back to the hotel.  Truly the best cut Bob has ever had.  This guy was like Edward Scissor Hands.  So fast and so accurate.  I watched in awe silence.


Our evening dining was a long walk to a restaurant Adam and Abby Hawkins recommended.  It was called Coco’s Cantina.  Delicious and worth the scary walk which was not in such a great neighborhood!  coco cocina

This day we got triple circles on our IWatch!  It was a great day…

Day 39 (we lost a day inflight) In Auckland New Zealand

Note to self.  When arriving early on an international flight try to arrive in the afternoon when your room is ready!  We arrived at the Langham only to have to kill time for 3 hours.  Bob found a couch in a hidden corner of the convention center to sleep.  I was in that half buzzing/half exhausted state and so I did a little catching up and checking in.  It was hardly a trial but man was I grateful for a shower and a bed!  The good news is that the hotel is lovely.  I snapped my first NZ photo of this.  I think I want one…langham chandileir

After a long daytime nap we looked out our window to find this quaint little restaurant and decided to give it a try.  The decor, ambiance and food did not disappoint. It was called “Number 5”.

Day 36 – On our way to New Zealand

I do not have pictures of our crazy two days in Arizona as we prepared for our trip to New Zealand because pictures of me stressed are not very pretty!  We were in crisis mode over details of getting our home ready to leave again. We put it on the market to sell just to test the waters while we are gone.  When we flew back from SLC we found that the 120 degree days just the week before had done some real damage to our plants. Lots of things to resolve in a very small amount of time before our flight Tuesday night. I was actually relieved to be on a the 14 hour flight to New Zealand.  At that point, there was nothing more we could do but find a comfortable way to sleep!  It was a special moment when we caught our first sight of Auckland in the early morning hours right before we landed.

international LA ariportfirst sight of auckland on plane


Day 30-35 – Sidetracked to Salt Lake City!

I quick diversion from our sabbatical found us in Salt Lake City at the “Field Trip” Kent Lyons had organized for a team of 30 developers and downtown enthusiasts for downtown Mesa redevelopment planning.  After two days of conversation led by a facilitator and a tour of key developments in downtown SLC we took the team Saturday night to the MCO concert in the Tabernacle.  See one of the responses below…


But the best part was spending our Sunday with our Utah family.  Henry was very upset about something so I held him to comfort him only to have him quickly fall asleep.  I dare not move as to not lose this precious moment.  Then there was princess Mina making calls and breaking into spontaneous dance.  Quite a fashion diva.  It was also the first time since Charlie’s birth that we were able to see him.  He is an angel little boy with big beautiful eyes like his Momma and Grandpa.

Great conversation and seeing our family made the next step to New Zealand for three months easier to anticipate.  It will be hard to have so much water between us and our family but here’s to a new adventure and time to “sharpen the saw” for Bob and I.  I hope we come back with a new and joyful perspective.