New Zealand 2016: week 4

Iā€™m posting daily photo collages on Instagram, which Iā€™m linking here.

I’m writing this at home, after a wonderful family Christmas at my brother’s. It’s a bit strange to have gone from enjoying summer in New Zealand to Christmas trees and presents in Switzerland – I almost got whiplash… šŸ™‚ Also, jetlag, but I managed to sleep until 6:30 this morning, so hopefully I’ll be fine to go back to work tomorrow. But first, a quick look back a the last days in my second home…

As planned, on Sunday, we went to Christmas at the Bowl in New Plymouth. It was a big celebration with different musicians, carol singing and big fireworks at the end. People were holding candles, which was lovely to see as it got dark.
New Plymouth

Sadly, the weather wasn’t so great on Monday, so I just went into town for breakfast (eggs Benedict, which I wish I could get here) and walked a bit along the Coastal Walkway. I still was quite sore from climbing Paritutu on Saturday, too. šŸ™‚
New Plymouth

Tuesday I already said goodbye to my wonderful kiwi whanau (family). They left early in the morning to pick up a Christmas surprise for the kids – their new puppy, Raro. So it was only Ellie who saw me off, and I felt quite sad when the bus pulled away. It’s always so wonderful to spend time with them and see how the kids have grown. I hope I get to see them again in the not-too-distant future! <3 The bus ride was lovely, despite the winding turns that were a bit hard on my tummy, and in the evening I reunited with my mom in our great room on the 6th floor of the hostel, which had an awesome view of Auckland's Sky Tower. On Wednesday, our last full day, we went to a French creperie for breakfast, walked around downtown a bit, and then joined a Bush and Beach tour to the nearby Waitakere Ranges. I just wanted my mother to have one last opportunity to enjoy gorgeous New Zealand forest with its tree ferns, Nikau palms, Manuka, Rata and Kauri trees, and see a proper black sand beach, which we did near the Karekare falls and at Pahia. Overall, it was a wonderful day, and we rounded it off by enjoying the evening sun with dinner at Princes Wharf.
Auckland Auckland Auckland Auckland Auckland Auckland

The trip back home on Thursday took about almost 30 hours, with the 6 hours in Singapore airport feeling almost as long as the 10 and 13 hours on the plane. But everything went well, and we arrived back in Switzerland on Friday morning. Unsurprisingly I was really tired but managed to stay awake until 7pm that night. That was really the only time I had to properly arrive before Christmas yanked back into everyday life, and I’m still reeling a bit. Hopefully work will be quiet this week, so I can acclimatise a bit more… But for now, I wish you all a happy Christmas, Hanukah or whatever holiday you celebrate!

Happy holidays 2016!