Archive for April 2016

Fiji   2 comments

Well, Mommy and MiniMax made it home safe and sound! It was a looooooong trip home and Mommy is still adjusting to the time difference. She’s been napping in the middle of the afternoon and up till way late at night. She keeps saying she “doesn’t have her <bleep> together this week.”

Anyhoo…  As promised a few pics from Fiji. Better late than never!

Beautiful island, friendly people, and gorgeous weather topped off a trip of a lifetime!

Meanwhile back home…Rocky and Selena loved staying with their Grandpawents but they really missed their fenced backyard. A couple pics from grandpaw 

No wonder Rocky has practically lived outside in the yard this week!

And in other news, Rocky attended his first day at doggie day camp! The attendant said he was shy and timid at first but loosened up and made friends quickly. Rocky is a Good Boy!

Hopefully this will help him be less reactive on leash as he learns the social cues and greeting etiquette at camp. Already this evening he calmly greeted Ruby, a neighbor dog.  Mommy had to keep some distance while they met because Selena was going bonkers. 

Selena might benefit from day camp too, though mommy thinks she’s more interested in attention from the humans than making new doggie friends! Still, we’ll give her a chance soon. First we want Rocky to make friends on his own, without Selena’s influence. He’s a Good Boy. 

Posted April 29, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

Days 12-15 – Fiji   Leave a comment

We spent the last few days in Fiji. We had glorious weather, spectacular views, and after spending most days around the beach and pool, Mommy feels relaxed, refreshed and ready for the 36 hours of travel ahead. 

But let’s not dwell. We still have 8 hours in Fiji before we have to face the airports. I’ll post some photos of our time here in Fiji when I have access to better WiFi.

Bula! Vi’naka!

Posted April 21, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

Day 11 – Arrowtown and goodbye dinner   6 comments

Day 11 saw us heading out to Gibbston Winery for a tour and tasting. The Otago region, like the Willamette Valley in Oregon, is known for its Pinot and some Reisling. The dry mountain soil, cool temps and winds make for perfect conditions. Or so I’m told. Mommy doesn’t know much about wine. Mommy also doesn’t care for Pinot. But those in the group who do said they loved the Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Unfortunately for us, Gibbston doesn’t sell overseas. They are truly a New Zealand wine—you have to visit if you want to try it!

After wine, we headed a short way down the road to Arrowtown for a lite lunch and shopping. Arrowtown started in the 1860s after the discovery of gold in the area. In fact, many of the gold rushers here were 49-ers traveling from CA in search of gold. They brought with them the American woods needed to build, like Monterey pine, Digger Fir, and Giant Sequoias. These trees have since taken over, pushing out the native plants and beechwood. Our guide told us that all the beautiful fall foliage we see is “exotic”; that none of the native trees change color or lose their leaves. So you can see in these photos how much the landscape has changed since gold was discovered here.



Downtown Arrowtown

Fall Foliage, Arrowtown


Mommy’s Favorite Shop in Arrowtown, The Stitching Post


In the evening we headed up the Queenstown gondola for our good bye dinner at the Skyline restaurant. The views were spectacular.

Queenstown from above

The next day we said goodbye to roughly half the group who headed home while the rest of us took off for Fiji for 3 glorious days of sun and sand!

Posted April 20, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

Day 10 – Queenstown    4 comments

On day 10, the tour group got up early and headed toward Millford Sound for a day in Fiordland. Mommy and MiniMax skipped this excursion in favor of a day to explore Queenstown on our own. 

Turns out Mommy got a tad motion sick on the drive from Mt. Cook to Queenstown. She simply didn’t have the stomach for a 3-hour coach ride through mountainous passes followed by a 4-hour cruise in choppy waters followed by another 3-hour coach ride home. Based on comments from the rest of the group when they returned, Mommy made the right decision!


We started the day as any solo day exploring should start: we slept in, skipped the free hotel breakfast buffet, and had real coffee and breakfast at a local coffeehouse downtown. 

Then we made the hilly trek over to visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park. What an adventure! Here’s a couple photos. We saw Kiwi


MiniMax meets a Kiwi

And the living dinosaur, tuatara


MiniMax meets a tuatara

And even a Kea


MiniMx meets a Kea

Ok, ok, you caught us. We did actually see all these creatures and many others, but Kiwi are nocturnal and the others simply didn’t want to pose. So we made do with posties. 

The Kiwi are kept in their own houses where their days and nights have been reversed. Since they are nocturnal, by keeping their houses super dark during the day the birds are awake and active and we humans get to see them. But photos aren’t allowed in the houses. 

Still Mommy thought it was neat to see the Kiwis up and about. They’re funny birds!

The Park officials also put on a nice show, telling visitors about the different species in the park. They’re also part of NZ breeding programs for several endangered species, including the Kiwi. 

After we met all these lovely creatures, Mommy and MiniMax went for a walk around Lake Wakatipu. 


Lake Wakatipu

Then it was time for lunch at Speight’s Ale House 


MiniMax recommends Speight’s Cider

After lunch Mommy was tired from all the walking so we headed back to the hotel for a nap. Before we knew it, the rest were back from Fiordland!

Posted April 19, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

Tongue-tied Tuesday    3 comments

Bula! Welcome to Fiji

Posted April 19, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

Day 9 – Middle Earth   5 comments

Day 9 we woke up early to “Journey through Middle Earth.” We had 5 land rovers pick us up at the hotel and headed out on “safari”.


They pointed out different places around the area where Peter Jackson filmed scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Then we drove the Arrow river

And even panned for gold!

Sadly, we didn’t find anything so guess Mommy won’t be retiring anytime soon.

Afterward we drove the 7th most dangerous road in the world. Mommy has no photos of that. She was too busy hanging on for dear life!

We ended the day with a ride on Twin Screw Steamship (TSS) Earnslaw across the Wakatipu lake to Walter Peak Farm where we were served a delicious meal and given a demonstration of dogs herding.


Posted April 18, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

Day 8 – Mt. Cook National Park   4 comments

After spending the evening in Twizel (T-wise-ell) we next boarded the coach and headed into the Mt. Cook National Park. Those of you who have been fortunate enough to visit Yosemite, CA, will recognize the glacial valley. Mommy was struck by the similarities and described it as “Yosemite Valley minus the Sequoias”. We had glorious blue skies to take in the sights. Mt. Cook, or Aoraki as the Maori named it (cloud-piercer), is often obscured by clouds. The gods were smiling on us this day to grant such perfect conditions!


Mt. Sefton on the left, Mt. Cook (Aoraki) on the right

 We also met some of the locals…

And had time for a short walk to Kea Point…

on the path to Kea Point, Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park


We finished the day with a pint and a burger at Queenstown’s famous Ferg Burger in the heart of downtown 

MiniMax enjoys his onion ring while Mommy enjoys her Ferg Burger and pint of Speight’s Ale


Posted April 17, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

Day 7 – Christchurch – Geraldine – Twizel   3 comments

On Day 6 we flew from Sydney, Australia to Christchurch, New Zealand. That evening we were lucky to be welcomed to the home of Professor Richard and Mrs. Barbara Rowe for a wonderful home-cooked meal of roast lamb with veg followed by dessert of pavlova, a kind of meringue pastry topped with fresh berries.

The next day, we had a very little time in the morning to walk around Christchurch before boarding the coach bound for Twizel. We used that time to head down the block and across the square to the Transitional Cathedral. 

Christchurch was hit by a large earthquake in 2010, which luckily did minimal damage and cost no loss of life. This earthquake was followed by thousands of smaller aftershocks and in 2011, an even larger quake struck. This quake was shallower than the first and the epicenter was closer to the downtown area. Sadly, 185 persons lost their lives and many of the historic buildings, including the Cathedral, were destroyed. 

In the aftermath, nearly all the damaged buildings were torn down and a fight started over whether to tear down the remains of the Cathedral or to rebuild. This fight continued for years, but the congregation still needed a place to worship so the Transitional Cathedral was built.

The Transitional Cathedral, known affectionately as the Cardboard Cathedral, is constructed using cardboard tubes as infrastructure. It was built to last only 20-50 years. The grounds were in full bloom and the nave was beautifully lit by the morning sun.

Then we boarded the coach, crossing the South Island’s Canterbury plains, stopping for lunch in a lovely town named Geraldine.


garden signs in Geraldine

Then a short visit at the Morelea farm for a sheep shearing demo followed by tea with scones and biscuits.  

two lambs getting the first shearing

tea and biscuits at the Morelea farm

 Then back on the coach and onward to Twizel, in the heart of the Mt Cook region.

our hotel in Twizel

It was a full day, but the weather cooperated. The next day it was on to Mt. Cook national park and on to Queenstown!

Posted April 17, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

Mrs. Macquarie’s Point   3 comments

There’s a promontory in Sydney called Mrs. Macquarie’s Point, so named after the 4th (5th?) Governor’s wife. Cptn. Macquarie is known for building decent infrastructure in the area like paved roads and sandstone buildings like hospitals and government offices and whatnot. Now, if you think about it, you can’t be known for paving roads if the roads were already paved when you arrived. Meaning: the place was a dump when Mrs. Macquarie first arrived. As a woman of means, she was appalled by the new living conditions thrust upon her with her husband’s rise to power. It’s said she used to walk from the Governor’s mansion to this spot on the point to watch, resentfully, the ships leaving Sydney and returning to “civilization”. The criminals in the penal colony were set the task of paving the route Mrs. Macquarie walked. But it is said, they were so grateful for the improved living conditions brought on by the governor that on their own, they carved out a bench from the rocky outcropping of the point, for Mrs. Macquarie to sit. This bench is known as… Wait for it… Mrs. Macquarie’s Bench. 

Mommy and MiniMax got to visit Mrs. Macquarie’s Point during our city tour of Sydney on Monday, April 11. Here’s a photo of the harbor from the Point


Sydney Harbour from Mrs. Macquarie’s Point

And here’s a photo of MiniMax sitting on Mrs. Macquarrie’s bench. 


Mrs. Macquarie’s Bench

What’s that you say? You can’t see him? Here’s a close up

MiniMax enjoying the view from Mrs. Macquarie’s Bench

Posted April 12, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

Wordless Wednesday    Leave a comment

Sydney Harbour at Sunset

Posted April 12, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

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