Sunday, April 11, 2010

1400km III

The third part of our trip, at last I write about it! Click for big on the photos.

You won't remember, because the last post about it was so long ago, but at the end of that, we'd just left Palmerston North (or New Plymouth, as a surprising number of people call it).

The drive to Wellington was pretty uneventful, despite the continuous High School Musical 3 soundtrack.

My cousin (once removed) Toby, his wife Hilary, and their three children Tom, Emily and Leandra were kind enough to let us stay at their place, despite being away in the South Island when we arrived.

Like the time we stayed there earlier in the year, we were made to feel incredibly welcome by very nice people. Of course, we barely took any photos, but here are some of the few we did take:

Two girls in a shower:


The same two girls in their bed, specially located in a magical under-stair area:


Here's the only picture of (two of) our hosts - Emily reclining, Hilary obscured by Ella Big Head:



. . . and here's Wellington through their dining-room window:



The next day, we went to Te Papa for the Formula One exhibition. We forgot to take the camera, but here are some photos off the iphone:

Betty does her (great-) Grandad impression in front of a 60s McLaren:


Ella is a bit more impressed with a more modern McLaren:


The F1 exhibit wasn't bad, but not as good as I'd hoped. Formula One cars are not really the sort of thing that should be shown in static form - they need to be moving.

The rest of Te Papa was fantastic as usual though, and kept us all occupied for hours.

That afternoon we went to the City Gallery to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition. No cameras allowed in this one, so no photos by us.

It was absolutely incredible though, to get a tiny idea of what it was like, click on this link.

We had a late lunch of $5 all-day breakfast at a cafe hidden up the back of a mall that off the side of Cuba Street somewhere. I highly recommend this place - if only I could remember what it's called . . .

The next day was hometime, but before that we went and parked at the Rose Gardens, then walked through the Bolton Cemetery to town.

We didn't have a lot of time, and it was freezing, but this is another highly recommended place to visit in Wellington.

We were on our way to what turned out to be another hidden gem - the Reserve Bank Museum. It's free, doesn't take too long to look around, it's interesting, but most importantly, the kids got bags of shredded money! What more could one ask for?

We had a quick coffee with Toby before embarking on our trip home, which I'll write about if I ever get around to it.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The moon's a balloon

Hamilton has a Balloon Festival every year, which is pretty frickin' sweet if you ask me (or anyone else in my immediate family).

Here are some photos (remember to click for big):


It seems that Ella is dressed in her Brethren outfit more often than not these days:


No, wait - sometimes she wears a "normal" hat:


There were at least 16 balloons on the Saturday morning, undeniably spectacular:



We all become experts on balloons at this time of year. This one can fit 22 dudes in the basket. That's a lot of dudes:


See, look, it's like a minibus hanging there under the envelope (sorry, another bit of balloonist jargon there):


Say hello to Jack In The Box - Ella's not scared of him, but I am. That's why I'm standing further away, taking the photo:


I'm never too sure about panoramas, but this new camera sure makes them easier to line up:

P1000135 Stitch



I could totally sell this if people wanted iconic Hamilton photos:




That thing was stalking us, I swear:


It tried to go for a swim:


Ella got to go in a balloon (that one behind her):



That's her on the right:


Here's another panorama of the early part of the Nightglow:

P1000184 Stitch

This is what Ella looks like, all lit up:


. . . aaaaand this is what a whole lot of balloons look like, all lit up:


The girls all went to see a few balloons land in the poncy high school near us on the Sunday morning: