Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

R&R at Uretiti

July 27, 2018

We arrived at Uretiti after all the rain to be met by a few small lakes formed throughout the camp site.

Pretty reflections in the lake with the road somewhere through the middle.

We parked up along the fence line behind all the trees as shown in the above photo as our favourite spot was already taken, however the following day our favourite site was vacated so we made a quick decision to move back to where we know and like. Besides, we were expecting visitors later in the week and there would be plenty of room for them in our favourite spot.

and here we are, Keith and Deb’s vehicle in the foreground and ours facing the camera.

Since Keith & Deb are here with us it was and opportune time for the boys to play with Keith’s “toy” and get a bit of fishing in.

Setting up the baits ready to fly out with the drone

hard at work, fishing!

Unfortunately the fish have not been playing the game, steering well clear of our baits, however no one else is having much luck either so we don’t feel too bad.

Roy took Keith & Deb into Whangārei for a quick look around all the interesting places and shops whilst I relaxed back at the van as I am not up to wandering around very far as yet. They went into the farmers market as well as a few shops for essential items, coming home with a number of shopping bags full of goodies and treats.

I am getting there with my recovery, it is definitely a slow gradual process and I have very quickly learnt that overdoing it is not a good thing to do as you pay for it the following day. But I am getting there and as I have said before I am definitely the tortoise in this race.

We haven’t done too much since we have been here, limiting ourselves to walks along the beach, fishing, relaxing and generally taking things easy and enjoying being back surrounded by nature. It is definitely warmer here than the temperatures we have been accustomed to in Auckland of late although there is still a little nip in the air in the evenings and mornings, however it is nice to be able to sit outside in the warm sunshine during the day.

We went into Waipu one evening for pizza night at the pub, we have been here before and they make very good pizzas. Keith & Deb came along as did Mark & Glynis to join us for a night out to help us celebrate Roy’s good news at being given the all clear. We had a great night with lots of chat going on however, in my usual fashion I forgot to take any photos.

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It’s the final countdown

June 3, 2018

We are on the final countdown, with Wednesday being Roy’s last treatment day and time for celebration. He has had no side effects, he doesn’t glow in the dark or have any superpowers although we are forever hopeful he achieves the latter! We are forever thankful that we had options and everything has gone to plan with a great outcome.

And thank goodness for Winston’s gold card. For those not in NZ, Winston Peters is a long serving MP (who will be the stand-in Prime Minister whilst Jacinda is on maternity leave) who a few years ago organised a gold card for senior citizens which entitles them to free public transport in most major cities as well as discounts at some stores. The gold card has been used by Roy every day for the past 7 and a half weeks to get the train in and out to Newmarket, then a free bus to the hospital and return. It has saved us not only many $$$’s but also in time and stress as we haven’t had to drive in, fighting the traffic, looking for parking, as well as petrol costs. Well done Winnie!

It’s been another week of catching up with friends and family. Bill & Linda came visiting last Sunday as they were having an open home is readiness to sell, so it was great to catch up with them. Gary & Marg called in on their way through Auckland for lunch on Wednesday, and of course I had my lunch “date”with Janet on Thursday. Steve & Les called in on Saturday with two of their granddaughters on their way back to Whangamata. In between we have had Drs appointments and other matters to attend to so all in all a busy old time, which is great as it means that we are never bored!

On Friday I was asked if I would drive a motorhome from the wharf to Drury as I had done the previous week. Sure, why not? So off we trotted on Friday afternoon, on the train this time into Britomart, however, I had to pay for my journey as I have a few years to go before I qualify for one of Winnie’s cards. However, this time I did take a couple of pictures of the vehicles we were picking up.

I drove the one at the rear in the above photo.

First we have to visit the petrol station just around the corner to put in enough diesel to get us back. That done we all headed off. We had discussed which exit would be the best to get off the motorway as this was Friday afternoon and it was also the start of the long weekend Queens Birthday weekend which meant that the traffic would be worse than usual, if that is all possible. Once crawling along the motorway I got to the Redoubt Road exit at Manukau and could see the traffic was at a standstill ahead so I ducked off there. Wending my way through the back roads (just as well I know my way around), avoiding schools as by this time it after 3pm and schools were finishing, however I got to Drury in good time. Then I had to wait at least 30minutes for the others to start to arrive, each one had taken a different exit hence our staggered arrival times.

The weather has been brilliant this past week, well, brilliantly fine during the day but freezing cold overnight. There is a kiwi fruit orchard over the back of Ardmore and so for a few nights helicopters have been flying over the vines for frost protection. During cold and still conditions, the down draught from the helicopter causes the slightly warmer air layered above to circulate amongst the vines, reducing the likelyhood of frost damage. Effective but noisy.

Now we have rain settled in for the day by the looks of it, oh well, at least it’s warmer.

Into single figures

May 27, 2018

Another week is done and dusted, with only 8 more treatments to go, the end is in sight.

Roy goes off on his journey there and back everyday, meanwhile I somehow manage to keep myself busy doing one thing to another. Swimming fits in between other bits and pieces but I must say that with the cooler weather it is not that enticing to make one want to strip off and get into tepid water! However, we continue.

Monday was pickle/relish/chutney making day with plenty achieved.

And I forgot to take any pictures of the previous weekends efforts of pickling where Roy made a tomato chilli relish but the cupboards are now full and it will all add some welcome tasty treats throughout the rest of the year.

Tuesday I had an interesting few hours as I was asked if I would assist with some driving, this was to pick up brand spanking new Motorhomes from the wharf and drive them to the dealers yard in Drury. Sure, I said, not a problem, it will make the day a bit different. Easy enough to drive, it was a good run along the motorway and deliver the vehicles to their new base a few hours later. The Motorhomes now await their new owners.

Janet picked me up on Thursday and we went out for lunch in Pukekohe to a lovely little cafe she frequents. It was a great day out and about with me forgetting to take any pictures as we were too busy nattering. I really enjoyed our excursion out, so much so that we are doing it again this week but at a different location….ooooh, watch out, does that mean I am becoming one of those “ladies who lunch”?

Bill came visiting one afternoon with a lovely batch of biscuits that Linda had made.

We needed to get some more LPG and also to visit the dump station this weekend. We figured that Saturday morning would be the best time to get LPG as we have a large inbuilt tank and being a Saturday meant that there would be little traffic parked around the gas station. Indeed it was an easy drive in and out again, then off to bruce Pullman Park to dump. But oh no, it Saturday morning isn’t it…when every kid in the neighbourhood is playing sport and with parents cars overflowing the car parking it was a squeeze through the parked cars to get to the dump station. But what’s this? Some muppet has parked right on the dump station ignoring the yellow lines and obviously gone off to watch their child play rugby/league or football. We waited and waited, before the car owners eventually sauntered back and moved off so we could dump. What should have been a 10 minutes job turned into more like an hour!

We were also supposed to be going up to Shakespear for the release of 40 Saddlebacks into the park but my knees and hips were very sore so we decided to sort out the domestic duties and we would see the birds next time we visit. But we understand all went well with the release and yet another species brought back into the Sanctuary.

picture of the release courtesy of SOSSI

This week has seen the arrival of cooler weather, the shorts got put away and out come the trousers, the heater has been on a couple of times and even the hot water bottles have made an appearance. And to test out all that firewood we collected earlier in the month, we went to Antony’s a couple of evenings to enjoy the warmth and coziness of the fire as well as have dinner together. Although I guess we can’t complain too much, it is winter after all!!

Time for catch ups

May 12, 2018

A cunning plan is in place, the tunnels for escape are beginning to take shape, the guards distracted, just the documents and uniforms to sort!! All will come to pass in a few weeks when we can escape from what feels like captivity!

Meanwhile, this week has been just a little busy what with one thing and another, however in amongst everything else we have managed to catch up with a few friends.

Last weekend we escaped our usual routines and headed down to Hamilton to stay with good friends Wade & Lindsay. It was just so lovely to have a change of scenery and to be able to relax with them and have a few laughs.

As usual I forgot to take pictures, but I did manage to sneak in this one of Wade & Lindsay as we were all intently looking up things on our respective devices!!!

We caught up on each other’s news and had a few laughs about the things we used to get up to.

Amongst the reminiscing, I did find the following photo of their daughter Naomi and our son Antony (just a few years ago!) on one of our holidays together,

Eating oranges at Mimiwhangata …..weren’t they cute??

After a lovely relaxing time,which included eating great food and drinking some lovely wines, it was time for us to head back to the big smoke and our routine.

Later in the week we called into see Brian, a good friend who has recently given up the motorhome life and whose lovely wife Marj passed away suddenly at the beginning of the year. He is now settled into a retirement village and is looking forward with lots of plans. We shared a number of trips with Brian & Marj and it’s now good to see a bit of a spark appear back in his life. It was great to catch up and to see him looking so well and to hear all his news.

Next was a visit to Jim who has recently had a hip replacement, which hasn’t exactly gone to plan but he is now on the road to recovery and should be back to his bus soon.

Then it was a meet up of Roy’s old friends from his youth, we all met at the cafe at Ardmore for lunch and to catch up on news. Again it was great to see everyone and catch up on their news. This time I did remember to take a photo.

L-R, Roy, Ron, Jan, Bill, Estelle, Linda and Bill

Routine of sorts

April 27, 2018

We are on the countdown, Roy has completed 9 trips into Auckland Hospital for his radiation treatment so now there is just 29 to go. We have slipped into a semblance of a daily routine which involves me dropping Roy off at the train station, he travels into Newmarket, then gets the bus from there to the hospital, has his treatment then reverses the travel arrangements. The only difference in the routine are the times, as each day the appointment times vary which can mean either leaving the van for the train at anytime from 9am through to midday. And of course there is the odd day that the appointment times go out the window with an unscheduled delay holding up proceedings. Meanwhile, I either go swimming, shopping, go to Antony’s to do the washing, return to the van to do a few chores or sometimes meet up with friends.

Fellow motorhomer Jim has recently had a hip replacement, he is parked up next to us at Ardmore so we keep an eye on him and between us and a few others we manage to get him to his appointments, do his shopping and keep on top of his chores.

Antony usually comes and joins us for dinner each evening and as well, the past two weekends we have been up to Shakespear to collect wood from some of the dead trees that had to be cut down. Ranger Bruce met us last weekend on our way in to collect firewood and told us that there wasn’t much left but there was the large lengths left behind and if we waited for him to do a few jobs he would return with chainsaw in hand he would cut up the last of the logs for us.

Antony now has plenty of firewood to last the winter.

We’ve had a few visits from friends, Ron & Janet called in for a lovely visit and lunch last week, and Bill P came round for a chat and a catch up. Barry & Sandra called in on their way through Auckland and we have plans to meet up with others later in the week. We’ve been across town to have lunch with Simon & Anita and granddaughter Maria who is growing up oh so fast, she is nearly 20months old. And we also went out to dinner to Eti & Rona’s home. We met Eti & Rona at Shakespear, they come and camp there every year and over our time as camp hosts we have enjoyed their company and many a BBQ with them and their family. It was lovely to catch up with them and hope to see them again soon.

Roy had a birthday last week so Roy, Antony and I went out for dinner at a local pub/restaurant, it also happened to be quiz night at the pub so we joined on in. We didn’t win but we did ok for a small team and we had a good laugh or two as well.

Anzac Day was an early start to the day with Roy and Antony heading off to dawn parade at 5.15am. It also happens to be grandson Andre’s birthday, he is 8 this year, which necessitated a call to pass on birthday wishes. They grow up so fast don’t they? Meanwhile a couple of batches of Anzac Biscuits were made, one lot the traditional version and another batch of my version with lots of extras added.

They seem to have gone down well as there are not many left!

All in all, every day seems to be pretty busy with very little spare time which is a good thing as before we know it, we will be able to get on with other things and it will be time to get in some fishing again……it seems ages since we have been fishing and had fresh fish for dinner.

Friends, family and reunions

March 23, 2018

In the past month or so since we have been back it has been a flurry of activity catching up with friends, family and the odd couple of reunions as well. We caught up with brother Steve & Leslie fairly soon after getting back and then we made a quick dash up to Whakapirau to see Jackie & Chris and return the luggage they had kindly lent us and to sort out this years housesitting plans with them.

Then it was off down to Hamilton to Wade & Lindsays to help them celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, it was fabulous to spend time with them and reminisce and catch up with all their news. We went out for dinner to a tapas restaurant called Gothenburg, and oh my goodness, what fabulous food, some of the best we’ve had in a very long time. The service was also brilliant and of course the company was outstanding! I asked our waiter to please take a picture of us and this is what we got,

yes, the wait staff having fun with selfies!!!

They did eventually take a couple of nice photos of the four of us though

On our return journey to Auckland we made a small diversion to Ararimu to Ron & Janet’s as there was to be a bit of a reunion of friends of Roy’s who were all at Howick District High School together…..Roy and Janet started school together, just a few years ago!

I forgot to take any photos that afternoon but here is a picture of some of them at school

Roy is second from left in the back row, another friend Roger (whom we went on a canal trip with in France in 2011) is back row 7th from left and Janet is in the second row from the front 7th from left.

We had a few days back at the van before heading off to catch up with more friends around the city. We visited Brian at his new home in Hobsonville. It just so happened to be his birthday and it was great to catch up with him and seeing him looking so well. We also managed to catch up with Gary & Marg (from Tokerau Beach) on their way through Auckland as they had a brief stopover at Gulf Harbour. We are really looking forward to getting back up to Tokerau Beach to see them again as soon as we can.

Roy had another reunion to attend, this time it was the Auckland Grammar 1958 class 60th reunion (NB some of us were not even a twinkle at that time!!!). Roy attended this reunion on his own…it’s a boy thing!!! where, by all accounts, a good time was had by all and a chance to meet up with class mates and Masters alike. Of the 150 boys in that years intake, there were 40-50 at the reunion, and a few recognisable names were amongst the roll call including Tom Schnackenberg (of America’s Cup fame), Mark Burgess, Ross Dykes and Terry Jarvis (cricket), Dave Gerard (Olympian and sports medicine) as well as many other well known business men.

that’s the 2018 version of the class of 1958.

There was a quick sprint down to Whakatane to catch up with John & Jude, they are off on a trip shortly and wanted to gather a bit of information from us from our recent trip as they will be visiting some of the places we went to. We also had to try a variety of Pedro Ximinez sherries that we all enjoy, and after our recent visit to Jerez it seemed appropriate.

the lineup!

Then we had a visit from Keith & Deb, and along with Pat & Sue we were parked in the Self Contained area at Shakespear as we were inundated with school camps in the main camp. Here we are all lined up…

One of these vans is not like the other!

Keith has a fishing drone which he kindly showed us how it works, and I have to admit that I’m smitten, it’s brilliant – you could say I’m hooked! It’s a great way of fishing off a beach and getting your line out into the water safely and as luck would have it we had a bit of success as well.

We enjoyed having their company and sharing BBQ’s

Keith, Roy, Sue, Pat and Deb

One night Keith’s daughter (my niece) Amy came to visit and we enjoyed another lovely evening and meal together

Amy, Roy, Keith and Deb.

More visits to friends around the city and then a lunch meeting in Warkworth with Mark & Glynis to catch up with them and their recent adventures on moving their launch north to Marsden Cove from Havelock in the Marlborough Sounds. We look forward to catching up with them again soon.

All in all, a busy time what with one thing and another, and if we haven’t caught up with some of you as yet, then we intend to do our best to see you soon.

Farewells and other bits

February 26, 2018

Our farewell dinner with Ian’s family was held at a local Vietnamese Restaurant. We have been warmly enveloped by the Denny family and we were looking forward to getting together with them again. There were Ian’s parents Barry & Christine, his two brothers Matt and Mike, and his cousin Julie & Brian. They are all so easy going and fun to get along with, we were assured of a great evening.

Back row: Matt, Ian, Antony, Alex, Mike

Front row: Chris, Bernice, Julie, Barry, Brian, Roy

Let’s just say that the food was great, the drinks flowed and the Sambucca shots that seemed to keep coming at the end of the evening made for a fun end to the night!

Matt channeling his inner Vietnamese.

They all decided that Christmas 2019 would definitely be celebrated in New Zealand with all wanting to experience a totally different type of climate for the festive season. They are all saving madly in anticipation of their big adventure to the antipodes.

We didn’t always go out together as a family, Ants and Alex met up in town on a few occasions and then we would get some random collection of photos to let us know they were having a good time.

these two out for cocktails and silly indoor golf!

or I get random photos of…guess what we are having for dinner?

And it’s not all gourmet food…..check out this one that Antony and Ian sent to us when they were left home alone after having been at the football all day!

who knew that there was such a thing as “chicken dinosaurs”? Let’s just say that boys will be boys and will do anything to get a reaction out of Mum!

A lot of cooking was done at home over the time we spent in London with Alex doing a bit of baking as well. One day she decided to make Neenish Tarts, just like Grandma used to make. For those of you who don’t know what these are they are a sweet pastry base with a creamy lemony filling and iced with half chocolate and half white icing. They are an antipodean delight and one of my favourites. I can attest that Alex’s version were fabulous and every bit as good as her Grandmas.

Alex channeling her inner grandma!

We also went along to watch Alex play netball on numerous occasions, wrapping up against the biting cold and at times it was not at all pleasant and I hankered for NZ summer weather…..but now we are back and in the searing heat wave and humidity we are experiencing I can now confess that I am hankering for those chilly days where we can rug up against the cold, enjoy a hot toddy or two and cheer from the side lines. Her team mates made us feel very welcome and we even enjoyed the odd night out with them too. Oh and yes, you guessed it, I didn’t take one picture at the netball!

Our last few days were all a bit of a whirl, with us all pretending that our departure date was not imminent.

Then comes those dreaded goodbyes, they don’t come any easier and even though we have plans for future meet ups to look forward to, it does not make it any the less emotional. All in all, we have all had a great time creating lots of wonderful memories.

Farewell to a good friend

January 24, 2018

We were utterly heartbroken to hear that our dear friend Marj passed away on 4th January. We send our sincere condolences and much love to her husband and best mate Brian, and to her family. We shall miss her joie de vivre, positive attitude, and for making us laugh.

We first met Brian and Marj when we started our life in the motorhome, in fact we met them on our first week on the road and they were ever so welcoming and helpful, especially on happy hour etiquette. Subsequently we met up with them often and became good friends. We ended up travelling together in a happy convoy of two a number of times. The first time was north to Cape Reinga, another time around the Karikari Peninsular and then we did the trip though the Wairarapa and up through the southern Hawkes Bay where we had lots of fun.

We remember when Marj got pipped at being unable to walk with Brian and refusing to become a “little old lady” so she got herself a bright pink Segway. Then there was no holding her back, off she went everywhere and anywhere. She introduced us to having brunch in a Sunday to remind ourselves what day of the week it was and that other people had to go to work the next day, and to remind ourselves how fortunate we were.

We shall remember her with much fondness and especially her “can do” attitude in the face of adversity.

Theatre, rugby, party, football time

January 3, 2018

Friday 29 December:

We headed into London on Friday afternoon aiming to eventually end up in the Westend as we had booked seats to go and see a show. Alex, Antony Roy and I made our way into town via train and tube with Ian joining us later once he had finished work. But first we all need to have something to eat as we hadn’t had lunch at it was by now nearing 5pm and the hunger pangs were starting to gnaw away.

We headed to a restaurant by Covent Garden called Ping Pong, for a dim sum feast.

Alex reminded us that we had actually been here before when we last visited London, except that time the restaurant was Spanish tapas bar and our company at that time was my niece Fran and her now hubby Clive. I’ve looked for the photo of us having dinner together then but I cannot find it amongst the few thousands of pictures we have!

From there we headed across to the Westend Theatre district where we were set to see a show, called Mischief Movie Night, an improvised movie live on stage. We first had to meet up with Ian before the show, we then settled in to watch the show.

the scene is set

What happens with this show is that you suggest a genre, location and title and Mischief Theatre’s improvisers bring the show to life, complete with rewinds, fast forwards, directors cuts and a live score. So when it came time to call out suggestions for genres, a few were called out and picked then we had to vote for which one we wanted….Alex’s choice of Kung Fu movie made the cut as did Roy’s suggestion of Spaghetti Western with Roy’s suggestion winning out to popular vote. Other extra things that were added to the plot was the classic gunfight scene, the setting was an old picture theatre and a dinosaur had to make an appearance!

Much hilarity ensued, with the cast at times unable to contain themselves when things went awry and ended up in fits of laughter. We all thoroughly enjoyed the humour and it was a really great night out, with a train journey home to wrap up the night.

Saturday 30 December:

We were all going to Twickenham to watch a rugby match, including Ian’s parents Christine & Barry, their cousin Julie & Brian, Matt and Alex’s friend Helen completed the group. First we headed to the Campden pub to meet up with everyone for a bite to eat for lunch before making our trek across the city, oh and this was the same pub we came to on Christmas Day. At times it was like herding kittens.

The train journey meant we had multiple changes to make and platforms to find, but we got there in plenty of time to then make the trek from train station to the rugby grounds.

walking along the streets with the crowds.

getting settled into our seats

It was a packed stadium with nearly 78,000 people in attendance, but with clear views of the pitch, a huge screen at each end of the stadium and smaller screen directly in front of us, we were guaranteed not to miss a thing.

The ball delivery was a little different as well with a high wire stretched across the top of the stadium and a guy bouncing along the wire to the middle to deliver the ball dropping it from the great height. I have to admit that I could not watch him as it made me feel rather ill.

in both pictures above, you can see the tightrope walker in the screen and if you look carefully you can also see him in the little piece of sky peeping through the top of the stadium. In the lower picture, the ball has just been dropped which you can see in the tv screen. Please note that I took these pictures by not looking and just pointing and clicking!!!

We enjoyed the game and the crowd was very good. Rugby crowds are very different to football (aka soccer) crowds here. Apparently football supporters are kept very separate from each other with lots of police and crowd control in evidence. In many matches, one group of supporters is locked in the grounds whilst the opposition supporters are let out, and usually in totally different directions so they never meet! A little different to what we experience and what is experienced at the rugby where everyone is mixed and friendly banter ensues. I am told that rugby is for “posh” people in the UK, the ones that go to the right schools, don’t ask me if it’s the public or private school as the two types of school are labeled the opposite of what we know them as in NZ!

A few of the many food stall at the grounds, we had a drink or two and a bite to eat whilst we waited for the crowds to dissipate.

We managed to stay together and retrace our steps home.

the rabble on the train.

Oh and if you were wondering, the Harlequins won 50-21.

Sunday 31 December:

A few of Alex & Ian’s friends had organised a dinner at an Indian Restaurant, aka a curry house in this neck of the woods, for a group of us to go to on New Years Eve but first they all descended upon their house for an afternoon of watching the football and trying out a few gin based cocktails as we somehow seem to have managed to put together a reasonably large selection of gins.

looking up recipes?

From here we then went to the Curry House for an evening that proved to be brilliant on many counts. First the company was great, second the food was amazingly delicious and very very different to the NZ versions of curry, and thirdly there was entertainment. And believe me when I mean entertainment, I mean we were thoroughly entertained.

The entertainment was one guy on a key board who we must admit that initially we had serious reservations regarding his competence, however after a couple of songs, which included local improvised lyrics, wigs hats and glasses were continually being added for dramatic effect, we were all soon into the swing of things. With the refreshments flowing, he was being helped along by our vociferous table (albeit except me as I had woken that day without a voice), but I did try!!!

doing his Elvis impression.

After an hilarious evening out we headed back home to continue the celebrations including watching on TV London putting on an impressive display of fireworks.

Monday 1 January :

It was a slower (and later) start to the day today, by late morning we were all up ready for the days activities. Alex and I went off to do the grocery shopping whilst the blokes went off to the local football match, supporting Welling. Apparently Roy is becoming known as an honorary long distance supporter, as I think this is his third or fourth game he has been to!!!

The ground for the game against Dartford

Meanwhile Alex and I had a quiet day at home before everyone returned for dinner then we all settled down in front of the TV to watch the darts final live. I know, who would have thought that I would want to watch men throwing darts at a dart board? But after having to watch a number of games surrounded by some very avid and vociferous fans, I became a little interested! And yes, it was a good final.

All in all a busy and fun few days.

Meeting a Kiwi in Huelva

November 24, 2017

Our brief stay in Faro was coming to an end, we have enjoyed our time here but it’s time to keep moving – so many places to see, things to do, and time creeps on. We are unable to catch a train out of Faro this time as trains between Portugal and Spain are non existent here, however there is a bus service, but we are very fortunate that we are being picked up by a friend, Michael.

We met Michael 3 years ago when it was our first year of being hosts at Shakespear Park where Michael was a Summer Ranger that year. He frequently called in to have dinner with us whilst we were camping so we got to know him reasonably well, now it was our turn to call in on him! Michael is teaching English in Huelva which is about an hours drive from Faro and he offered to drive over and pick us up.

We arranged to meet by a restaurant near the marina in Faro at 11am, I got a message from Michael at 10am to say that he had arrived as he had forgotten about the 1hour time difference between Portugal and Spain. We were already at the restaurant ready and waiting so time to head off.

We had a lovely trip across into Spain, not that you realise that you are crossing borders apart from a small sign. Michael was a very good tour guide pointing out sights along the way. Once arriving on the outskirts of Huelva, we headed out to a beach that Michael has found which is mainly deserted, the locals think that it is winter therefore it’s cold….yes, it is only 22C today….so they don’t go to the beach.

Roy & Michael on the beach

spot the crowds (and spot a cloud, we haven’t seen any for weeks now!).

After a quick tour of the town, Michael dropped us off at our hotel in town so we could settle in, have a siesta and we were to meet up later in the early evening. We are starting to get into the Spanish way of life….lunch around 2-3pm and then think about dinner at 8-9pm, oh wait, we don’t usually have lunch back at home until around 2pm or later so perhaps we already work on Spanish time!

Christopher Columbus statue in the main square

We headed out along the Main Street to find a tapas bar for dinner and to catch up with all the news and happenings. Michael did the ordering for us as our Spanish is almost non existent however we do try! Much to the hilarity of locals. We had a lovely dinner of many different things including a plate of the famous Iberian Jamon and some cuttlefish, also a local delicacy – they were both delicious.

We arranged to meet up again the following morning as Michael had to go to the next town for some paperwork issuing so we were going to tag along for the ride.

With his paperwork sorted in two minutes we then headed for Palos de la Frontera, not far from Huelva and is famous as this was where Christopher Columbus set sail from in 1492 eventually reaching America. We were hoping to visit the Christopher Columbus museum and see the replicas of his three ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinto and the Nina. Along the way there was this statue to Columbus on the riverbank.

We arrived at the museum to find that it was closed on Mondays….typical. Never mind we could see the ships from the wharf further around.

With the largest ship only 60ft in length, they weren’t large ocean going vessels.

The entrance to the museum is also a wetland reserve, there was a large picture sign at the entrance showing the birds we may be able to see, many of which looked very familiar

Especially the Pukeko at the bottom third from the right! We were surprised to find them here, they are also found around Faro and we were surprised to find that the bird is the symbol for that region!

Boats were moored in the shallows nearby

After a stop for a drink, it was time for Michael to drop us off at the rail station. With fond farewells we hope to see you again in NZ Michael, perhaps even at Shakespear??