In addition to tasty coffee, the Auckland cafes we’ve visited will make a “fluffy” for kids, an espresso cup of foamed milk, sometimes with a sprinkle of chocolate and generally accompanied by a marshmallow.
Our home here is probably technically in the suburbs of Auckland (in Westmere), but it’s an area of quick transitions between residential and commercial, not an ongoing sprawl of houses. We can walk to a good cafe in two minutes and several areas of concentrated small shops and restaurants (including good Indian food!) in ten to twenty. There are plenty of nearby parks, playgrounds, and other green spaces.
I needed a break from working. As an experiment in talking a walk instead of indulging in a dose of coffee or social media, I visited this small reserve, about a block from our house. (Yes, I tried the swing!)
During our trip, we’ve had the opportunity to test various medical systems for non-emergency issues in Turkey, Sweden, Iceland, Costa Rica, and here in New Zealand. In our experience thus far, medical care has been more affordable and personable pretty much everywhere compared to the USA.
The current weather in Auckland reminds me of our month in Ireland – rain, sun, rain, sun, repeat. As I overheard in Ireland, “it’s a beautiful day between the clouds.”
I had promised Theo that if it wasn’t raining, I would take him to the beach after preschool, so I packed a picnic lunch and some impromptu beach toys (mostly random plastic containers.)
I have to admit that I judge a city in part by how well it supports its libraries. The Devonport library is a sunny, relaxing space with views of trees and water. (Oh, and it has books too.)
The weather is suddenly quite lovely in Auckland. I celebrated with an afternoon in Hauraki Gulf with Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari.
We’re about to head out of Auckland and into the New Zealand countryside for a week-long holiday. I’ve been told several times that the countryside is the real New Zealand. (I was also told this about the cities vs. countryside of Ireland, Sweden, Iceland, Costa Rica, and Argentina.)
Considering how much of the population they hold, I feel like cities are probably pretty “real” too, even though the ways in which they hold the flavor of a region might be subtler.
We spent the weekend at a farmstay in Ruawai, New Zealand where our awesome hosts did their best to integrate us into their lives for a couple of days, from making cheese to riding horses to milking cows. Theo has been sick off and on since Friday, making it a little bit of a rocky start to our holiday, but we still visited animals (and large trees) between trying to rest and recuperate.
When we mentioned Rotorua to New Zealanders, we were told it was very set up for tourists. They didn’t seem to mean this in the way that someone who isn’t a fan of the Las Vegas strip (say, me) might declare it “touristy.” Instead, people seemed genuinely happy that we were going to this place with attractions that are so easy for tourists to access.
… and, we thought Rotorua was great!