Archive for April 2016

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

Sydney – Days 4 & 5   12 comments

So MiniMax and Mommy left Cairns and flew down to Sydney. That was Day 3. Not much to share. 

Then Day 4 we took a tour of the city, 

 

Sydney Harbour Bridge

  

Careful where you park in The Rocks district

 

visited the famous Opera House 

 

MiniMax goes to the opera

  

Sydney Opera House

 

and got a lesson in Opals. (Fun fact: the SOH has the largest mechanical pipe organ in the world. On view, 138 pipes. In itself, spectacular. Behind the scenes, 10,000 pipes! Ginormous!)

And that was just in the morning! Then we had the afternoon to ourselves to explore the city on our own. And boy, did we explore! Mommy’s FitBit recorded over 7 miles of walking!

First we walked up the street from our hotel to visit the Queen Victoria Building, or as the locals call it, the QVB. This building originally housed Sydney’s produce markets. Those Victorians truly appreciated their farmers to build them such a glorious place! The ceiling is glass and there are several examples of the typically ornate iron balustrades and stained glass. The place is a shopping mall now.

 

stained glass windows in the stairwells of QVB

  

tiled ceiling in the center tower of QVB

   

Glass Ceilings of QVB

 

After that, we walked a couple blocks up Market St. to Hyde Park. Not as large as its namesake in London, but on a beautiful and sunny day, still popular for a leisurely stroll. Then we turned, heading back down Liverpool St. to the Chinese Garden of Friendship. This garden was given by the Chinese as a symbol of their friendship with Australia. It’s simply lovely. And incidentally, across the street from our hotel. Our room overlooks the garden.

Moon Gate in the Chinese Garden

We made a new friend

Goanna lizard

Or two

Ibis

Scattered throughout are little sculptures representing the 12 animals of the lunar calendar. Mommy found all twelve.

By then Mommy was tired so we stopped for a gelato, did a little shopping and ate supper before heading back to the hotel. Now it’s Day 5! In the morning we headed out of town to the Koala Park Sanctuary. This is a privately owned sanctuary first started in the 1920s. They started as a hospital for koalas injured or orphaned but now they have wombats and several species of kangaroos; cockatoos and cockatiels; dingoes and echidnas; other native birds and even a possum or two. 

In Australia, it is illegal to hold a koala in most states. So all we were allowed to do here is stand close to her and snap a photo. Now, the only state where it is still legal to cuddle a koala is Queensland, which is why we were lucky enough to get that photo in Cairns. So if you’re planning a trip to Australia and want to hold a koala, plan to visit Queensland. I highly recommend Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures in Cairns. 

Mommy was really hoping to see a wombat, but they were not feeling social today. On the bright side, the koalas were feeling pretty lively 

Koala, chillaxin’

as were most of the birds.

 

White Cockatoo

 
And Mommy got to feed some kangaroos too!

 

Eastern grey kangaroo

  

Are you hungry?

  

Breakfast!

 
Then we headed back to the hotel and after such a busy couple of days, Mommy decided to take a nap. This evening we take a dinner cruise around Sydney Harbour, so look for some nighttime pics of the Opera House soon! Tomorrow we fly to Christchurch, New Zealand!

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

Cairns – Day 2   7 comments

Today was AWESOME. We started this morning at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Center. 

We saw some interesting fruits. This one was used as an energy drink because it has caffeine. Then the pods could be dried and used as paintbrushes for the tribal body art.    
Mommy learned how to throw a boomerang (she was very good. Extra points for making the instructor duck!)

 
Then it was off to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. We got up close and personal with some crocs

  
And best of all, Mommy fulfilled her Australian wish to cuddle a koala    

  

AWESOME!!!

This is the closest MiniMax was willing to get to a koala 

  

Tomorrow is another adventure. We leave Cairns but are off to Sydney!

Posted April 9, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

Cairns-Day 1   1 comment

MiniMax and Mommy are in Cairns, Australia! After 3 days and multiple flights we are tired but excited! Here’s a couple pics of the hotel

   

Later we were off to the Great Barrier Reef for some fun in the sun 

Don’t forget the sunscreen, MiniMax!

  And we met some of the locals 

   

  

  

It rained off and on throughout the day, but it is the tropics after all. Now we’re off to the Esplanade to find some supper before calling it a day!

Posted April 8, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

Meet MiniMax   1 comment

We had some great runners up, like MiniBar-k and MiniBrowser and Mini-on. But Mommy is a statistician and she loves a good math pun so without further ado… Meet MiniMax!

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It’s Friday and Mommy is officially ON VACATION!!! Do I get a “Hallelujah”? Amen. I really need a break from the office! 

MiniMax and Mommy are off on an adventure! Watch this space as MiniMax will try to post pics when he can. 

Posted April 1, 2016 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life

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