Auckland: Best of

Piha Beach

Piha Beach

Piha Beach: Favorite photo so far
Ryley took some pretty amazing panos on our trip. These are a few favorites from Auckland.
Looking at the photo on the bottom is nothing compared to the raw beauty of seeing it in person. 
This is what I dream about at night. 

viral vomit

This is my vow. One day I will go to Jimmy Fallon's show
and we will be friends


Auckland Part II

The next few day in Auckland were pretty great as well. We were starting to feel a bit more adjusted and less tired. Not so scared of the food and feeling a bit better about driving on the wrong side of the road. We woke up to rain, but we didn't let it slow us down. We stopped by a local farmers market to look around. People in New Zealand don't go to farmers markets for a trendy fun time. They really do a majority of their grocery shopping there. Their grocery stores are very small and expensive and no where near as fresh as the locally grown food at the farmers markets. Plus the fruit and veggies were super cheap and mouth watering delicious. The market was beautifully designed with a chalk board by each booth describing what each vendor offered. A live band was performing in the middle of the semi-circle of busy customers. And of course everyone was dressed very beautifully to fit their personal style. We tasted organic peanut butter, home made cheese, freshly caught fish, and ate an entire delicious Scandinavian treat. Mostly we just sat in the middle and people watched. We love just sitting and watching. It really was fun seeing people from a different culture. So the same, but then completely different.

After the farmers market and checking out a few thrift shops we drove around just checking out our new world. We drove out of town and in seconds were surrounded by vineyards,  lime-green fields spotted with white sheep, and lush hills jutting up along the flat road. We saw a tiny sign for a hike and we flipped around and tried it out. Good thing we did because it again took our breath away. 5 minutes away from the city and you would never know. We were surrounded by such thick vegetation that seeing any sort of sky was impossible. The trees seriously were at least 5 to 10 stories high. The only time we saw the sky was when we hiked up a waterfall on the edge of a mountain. I've never been somewhere so green in my life.

After the hike we raced home to change out of our muddy hiking clothes to get ready for the rugby game. The All Blacks were playing Ireland. We were super excited for this. The train station was only a few blocks away from our house and if you showed them your All Blacks ticket the ride is free. Again, it was the perfect time for people watching. Ryley was a little over excited about getting to the game on time and we ended up being there about 2 hours early. That definitely gave us enough time to take some good shots of the field, to explore all the fan gear, walk around the stadium about 15 times, and be first in time for some fish and chips which were *amazing!* The game was super fun. Ireland had lost to the All Blacks for the past 107 years, but they were on fire that night. We were sitting down low and were surrounded by a surprising amount of Ireland fans. Everyone was screaming and wild. Beer and wine were being inhaled by the seconds. Sometimes I wondered if people spent more time watching the game or going back and forth buying more drinks. People kept sliding by us and as we let them by saying "cheers mate," in thanks. The best was when the came up through with their wine and fish and chips. For the inconvenience of us having to stand up to let them by they would say, "Sorry mate. Take some chips." When I got the first offer I looked at the guy thinking he was talking to someone else. He saw my expression and told me again to take some chips. I grabbed one fry feeling a little bad for eating this strangers food. He then said, "Aw come one. Get some more!" So I did. He did this all the way down the row, offering his chips and a cheers to go along with it. I'm sure he had about 5 fries left when he got to his seat. I loved this because I could NEVER imagine someone doing this at a baseball game in America. If some stranger gave you their food you would either think they were crazy or would give them all away because some germ infested stranger just touched your food. Another completely awesome thing about the game, besides the incredibly intense players on the field, was the fact that this stadium holding 50 thousand people did the wave with every person in every section standing up and waving their arms and screaming over 7 times. Seven. The entire crowd. Now I'm sure it helped that everyone was drunk, but again, this would never happen with everyone participating seven times at any game at home.  We were laughing so hard by the end watching these crazy people party it up. In the end the All Blacks took the win, but Ireland made a good dent in the game. Walking out of the game some fan friendly music was playing and just like in the movies the man sitting in front of us who looked like a drunk Colin Firth in rugby gear started signing to the music and giving a little tap dance on the steps. He was singing loud. And just like we were in the movies all the people above say this guys great moves and raised their beers to him, cheered him on, and sang right on back to him. This got old Colin moving even more and we got quite an exquisite show. Best part of the night hands down. My only regret was that I couldn't pull my phone out fast enough to record it. Next time I'll be faster on the draw.

That was the end of our Auckland experience. The next day, Sunday, we were able to find our church to attend. This was another highlight of our trip. There is something very calming about finding your church in the a foreign country, being surrounded by strangers and the unknown to have that one known. To be able to walk into this new church and feel at home. To be loved. We experienced a very spiritual Sunday in a little chapel in Auckland and then blew it a kiss goodbye as we drove out of town on the opposite side of the road.


Auckland Part I

Auckland is by far the biggest city in New Zealand. In the entire country of New Zealand there are about 4 million people. 3 million live in Auckland. {as told by our cab driver with an awesome accent} What I absolutely loved was that even though Auckland was still a big, and somewhat dirty city was that you could drive a few miles away and find beautiful tropical forests and beaches. You could be 10 minutes to downtown and 5 minutes away from nature.

Our first few days in Auckland were a nervous blur. Ryley and I didn't really know what to do with ourselves, almost like we didn't actually believe that we were really there. Plus we hadn't really slept in 36 hours which never makes a person feel that good. The first day we went downtown and looked at an art museum and took in the culture. I will say that I was very surprised at the personal style. Ryley and I were the only ones in jeans and t-shirts. Everyone was dressed very sleek and in blacks. No one had big name brands across their shirts. Everyone looked classy. I don't know why, but that's not what I was expecting. I was thinking more of very laid back Hawaiian style where basketball shorts and flip-flops were all anyone needed. Anyways, Ryley and I were walking around and hadn't really had a meal in days that wasn't from an airplane, which hardly counts. We started wandering around and all were saw where Asian shops after Asian shops where no one really spoke English, the food didn't look like the Asian food we were used to, and absolutely no one was in any of their shops which made us feel a bit worried about why there was no one in there. Ryley, having never been out of the country, was extra worried about what he could eat. The only other places we found were cafes. {which are very popular and trendy there}There was seriously a cafe on every corner and usually 5 in-between. Seriously everywhere. We finally found an Asian place that was way too expensive and tasted more like beef soup in rice. Oh well, our stomaches were full, and that's all that matters. We went home to our little house we were renting and passed out.

The next days we adjusted a bit better. We did more beach and out doorsish things which is way more our style. We drove to beautiful beaches that took our breath away. The first beach we drove to the road literally drove straight into the ocean. It's a good thing we weren't going fast because our car would have been gone. {the cars drive on the opposite side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right instead of the left. A bit scary at first let me tell ya!} When we walked through this park path {picture directly above} just covered in plantation we were seriously giddy. It was so insane how lush and full and beautiful every inch of land was there. We also went to Piha beach. This is a black sand beach that the sand is actually magnetic. {another side note... all the sand on the west side of the island is black and all the sand on the east side is white. Pretty cool I thought} This is the first beach in my life where I was taken back at how powerful and intimidating the ocean was. I felt completely helpless against those massive waves pounding like bombs over the cliffs and rocks. Ryley and I climbed around and through rocks pressed up against the water. I found out later there is a tv show that is all about people having to be rescued from the very places we were climbing. Woops. This is one of my favorite beaches that we went to our entire trip. Because it was winter, and because I didn't want to die, we didn't go swimming. It wasn't cold, but I wasn't craving any suntan time. Everyone we passed was bundled up in wool coats and Uggs and scarves. Ryley and I were rocking shorts and jackets and got looks like we were crazy. Turns out 60 degrees is freezing there. That's my kind of winter!

The next morning we took the advice from the lady who's house we were staying in and we walked to Humbug cafe right down the street. I have never eaten such mouth melting breakfast. Not only was it delicious, but it was beautiful. The entire cafe was beautiful. This is one thing that I loved about New Zealand. People care about design and originality. They take time to make things beautiful and it makes your experience so much better than walking into a ugly cafe with no style at home. Ryley had french toast with fried bananas, sweet bacon, and butterscotch home-made syrup on top. I'm pretty sure we inhaled out mean in about 4 minutes. We washed it down with some gourmet hot cocoa. {People drink tea and coffee, and well wine as well, more than anywhere else I've ever been! I seriously don't know how people get dehydrated because no one drinks water and all they drink is tea and coffee.} Ryley didn't mind since he is a hot-cocoa-aholic.

The End of Part I
Part II 
coming soon...


I'm back

Piha Beach Auckland, New Zealand

I'm back to the world of America, family, computers, cell phones, craziness, and life.
The past month has been one beautiful journey.
Since I've been away I've had the opportunity to:

* Rendezvous to Florida to meet up with worlds best college/life friends Becky + Rachel
* Take a vacation of a life time with my favorite person in the world, aka Ryley to beautiful New Zealand
* Visit sunny Southern Califiornia with beaches, waves, and the cutest nephews in the world
* Spend the 4th of July celebrating America, life, and family in America with family and saying goodbye to the wonderful life of my grandma Nina. {I love you}
* Visiting the one place on earth that makes my whole being fill with love and relaxation, Paris, Idaho

Looking back on all that has happened since June 1st I almost can't believe it was real. It seems more like a dream that I had a long while ago. It took me an entire week to recuperate from the traveling and the 5 time zones I crossed in those 30 days. I will be trying to recapture all of our adventures over the next few weeks. We have pictures and stories enough to fill 10 albums. However, we will be staying in Paris where I have very limited cell service and zero internet which makes things a bit more tricky. Be patient, enjoy your summer days, and keep checking for updates.