Hoping to escape the predatory sandflies of the West Coast, we chose to drive over Arthur's pass, a well known route connecting the Tasman Sea to the rugged coastline of the Pacific. After our time in Mt. Cook, Milford sound, Queenstown, and the Haast pass, we found this pass to be a little overrated, but perhaps we've simply been spoiled.
Posts tagged ‘travel with kids’
“Come out, come out, wherever you are”, she called in a singsong whisper. I turned around to see Eilir hunched over a fallen, rotting log, knocking on its undergrowth of mushrooms with a birch stick. “Tinkerbell? Rosetta? Anybody home? You're safe to come out: it's only me, Eilir.” In the land of hobbits, elves, and orcs, there's no better place for a fairy to call home.
All of us were a little surprised by the dirty appearance of the glaciers in the Mt. Cook region. It was only later that we learned that the extremely high rate of glacier melt and recession had exposed layers upon layers of rock that gave the glaciers their dark appearance. In fact, we learned that the lakes at the base of the glaciers appeared only 30 years ago, an effect of global warming.
After months of tuk-tuks, taxis, and public transportation, we embraced the freedom of hitting the open road in a spacious SUV to drive from Adelaide back to Sydney. We mapped out our route as we went, one day at a time, but had intentions of taking in the Great Ocean Road, the (surfing) world famous Bells Beach, and Staffan's old home as an exchange student, Wollongong (aka The Gong).
The city of Melbourne is reputed to be the hip and artsy counter to Sydney. Although that could certainly be the case, we were not able to truly experience this due to the nature of traveling with small kids. We tried only a handful of the foodie restaurant offerings, the proposal to follow the food trucks scene was double vetoed, and the nightlife can only be left to our imaginations.
We celebrated New Years at the Singapore airport while standing in line at gate security. It's better than it seems: the best part about traveling on New Year's Eve is that entire planes fly unfilled, so we all had enough room to stretch out and get a good night's sleep on the 8 hour flight to Sydney. Staffan and I also took the time to reflect on 2013, extremely happy that so many of our wishes and resolutions had been fulfilled.
Bali is our vacation from our vacation. I was worried at first that a month on this small island could drive me insane, given that both Staffan and I have spent ample time here in the past and it should be obvious by now that we like to keep moving. But it is working out better than I could have imagined. We are staying mainly in villas with private pools, carefully selected based on proximity to renown surf spots.
Last night, I read The Velveteen Rabbit to the kids. It had particular impact since they each still have a dear stuffed animal to whom they cling at night or when upset. Woof is a white stuffed dog with sad, brown eyes who was given to Phineas by Mia, his paternal grandmother. Phineas caresses the tips of her clumped fur with his fingertips as he falls asleep. She is the first thing he reaches for when awaking from slumber, his small hands groping in the dark to strum the soft spot of fur left under her tail.
We tried to make Vientiane truly feel like home for Eilir's birthday. She had been waiting with such anticipation for her party, starting a countdown 27 days in advance, inquiring if she would have a jumpy house and if her friends would be there. When we explained that it would be a more intimate party of four, with just the family, she suggested we could perhaps invite the waiters from the hotel, or our porters and guides from the trek, but we explained that we had to carry on and would be in a new land.
I have to admit it, we find ourselves in Vientiane because I liked the sound of the name. I've toyed with coming here for years on weekenders from China, but always felt compelled to see more of China itself. The name Vientiane conjures up images of an old French protectorate, with long-tailed boats meandering up the Mekong river and dotted with golden temples.