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elsfaire

Elsfaire Accompanies the Hobbit through Middle Earth

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Thanks for the well-wishes! We took a day recovering (just hiking up an old volcano and exploring lava caves) yesterday, and went canyoning today in the rainforest near Auckland. How awesome!

Trying to post pics, but am having trouble. Will try again tomorrow. I need some sleep!

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We took a day recovering (just hiking up an old volcano and exploring lava caves)

 

How is hiking up a volcano a recovery day I wonder... I guess even recovery days are freeking awesome when you are in New Zealand!

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Squeeeeeeee! New Zealand! I hope you have an awesome trip.  Will you make it also to the south island? Im from way down south in Dunedin.

 

I had a look at your pocket pregnancy site - really nice info :) Turns out I already had your free ebook hehe!

 

Looking forward to hearing about your hobbit adventures 

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Ah- Tapatalk is working today, and wifi is working. Miracle! :-D

A few brief updates (pics will come later as Tapatalk keeps failing on upload):

We picked up a campervan in Auckland and drove to the glowworm caves in Waitomo, then to Hobbiton the next day. We took a ton of pictures out the window as we drove. :)

After Hobbiton, we continued on to Rotorua and went to a Maori experience and hangi dinner. We spent the next afternoon at a downhill luge track, then headed to Wellington.

The scenery in NZ is so amazing, that I am actually 'wowed-out.' It is a bit weird. I still appreciate the mountains and epic backdrop everywhere you look, but I just can't say 'wow' anymore.

As for my challenge goals, they are not going quite as planned. I have been stuck in some negativity at times, and it has been hard to find time to do any exercise other than our family activities (yoga/stretching about 3 times total, no bodyweight work). I have been doing a fair job of staying present, though. That is all for now- I am still sore from the 2200 steps up a mountain on Monday, and river sledging today, so I am going to take a hot bath. :)

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You say you find hard to sneak in some exercice, and you say it when you have just climbed 2200 steps... Weird way to not to exercise...

I hope you have enjoyed most of the trip, I am sure that those moments of negativity are nothing but a side effect of tiredness.

And for what you say it looks like you have been in a truly exciting trip! Have a safe flight back home!

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Touchdown! It is midnight home time, though our bodies still think it is 6 pm. Now we just need to get the car and drive home.

Tomorrow will be full with catching up on work, but I will try to post some pics and an update over the weekend.

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Thanks for the welcome-homes and for sticking with me through the silence. :)

 

I was hoping to find some time to do a full trip report, but I am now accepting that tat will not happen. So, I will report on 1-2 days of the trip at a time, along with an update on what I am doing now. That way, I stop making you wait, and I start being accountable again.

 

The Journey of the Fellowship

We left Atlanta in the early afternoon of Nov. 21 (Friday) and flew to San Francisco. Naturally, we did a lot of walking in the airport, and I did a few stretches while we were waiting, but not 20 min worth of stretching.

 

View of the American Rockies from above:

 

View of rockies

 

In San Francisco, we boarded the Air New Zealand flight. It was a long flight (14 or 15 hours), and we were in economy seats (I *wish* we had money for the cool, comfy seats). I did spend a tiny bit extra to get 2 of the seats that were slightly wider and had more aisle room. That was not where I was sitting, though (I have more tolerance than my Hobbit for cramped spaces), and the plane was full so there was no extra space. Air New Zealand *does* play the safety video posted on Youtube (see my first post), and the onboard entertainment is quite good with lots of movies, music, audiobooks, and games, and standard headphones work with the seat system. The seats even have USB ports and outlets for plugging in electronic devices.

 

It ended up that most of us did not need to eat dinner before boarding, as the gluten-free dinner provided was quite filling, though bland. The Hobbit was not overly happy with it because he is also vegetarian, and the meal was fish. :/ We had a TON of snacks with us, though, so he was ok. The rest of us swapped and traded enough so I stayed paleo and the kids ate more of the stuff they preferred.

 

I tried to time my sleeping on the plane to help my body readjust to the new time zone. Sleeping was hard in the cramped seat, though, and I had little room to stretch out my legs. I *did* get up to walk in place and stretch a lot in the little area by the toilets at the back of the plane. There, I met a gentleman from Australia who does a lot of flying. He gave me tips about all sorts of things. :) I talked with other people, too, as we stretched. I tried to work on one of my ebooks for awhile, but after an hour or two my eyes were bothering me too much to continue, or to watch any movies. I listened to part of a neat audiobook called "Hardwiring Happiness" and did some meditation. I also managed to sleep off and on some.

 

Breakfast (omelet, potatoes and fruit) was tastier than dinner had been, and the Hobbit was able to eat more of it which made him happier. It was far too early, though -we landed in Auckland at 5:50 am on Sunday, Nov. 23. (We essentially skipped Saturday. That still makes me laugh). Of course, it took some time after landing to collect our bags and go through customs. We did not end up eating all the apples we had brought with us, so they had to be thrown away. I did not realize that turkey products were also not allowed, and all the turkey jerky and turkey snack sticks I had bought for the kids were tossed into the trash. Mildly frustrating. :/

 

Then we started the adventure of getting a phone. I had read that we could just buy a SIM card and put it in one of our phones. I had researched companies and plans, and thought I knew just what to do. To make a long story short, AT&T forces you to unlock the phone first, and Apple makes you do it with iTunes. So, we ended up both buying a small international plan on the Hobbit's phone, and buying a cheap prepaid NZ phone for local calls.

 

And finally we were truly in New Zealand. We caught our pre-arranged shuttle to our hotel, where they kept our luggage until check-in time. By this time we were hungry again, so we went to eat. Our first meal in New Zealand was at Denny's, lol. I will post about the (extinct/dormant) volcano hike later - I need some sleep. :)

 

Sky Tower in Auckland:

 

Sky Tower Auckland

 

Days 1-2 of trip:

Fitness: 2 pts (walking, stretching)

Mental/Emotional Health: 2 points (meditation & audiobook)

Life Quest: 2 pts (Enjoying the view, working on ebook)

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Squeeeeeeee! New Zealand! I hope you have an awesome trip.  Will you make it also to the south island? Im from way down south in Dunedin.

 

I had a look at your pocket pregnancy site - really nice info :) Turns out I already had your free ebook hehe!

 

Looking forward to hearing about your hobbit adventures 

Hi KiwiChick - I wish we had had time to go to Dunedin and meet you. We squeezed in a lot of both islands in 12 days, and there was just not time. We did get to Aoraki Mt Cook and Queenstown, though. Beautiful!

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Yay trip!

... still jealous :tongue:

I have learned a lot about ideas on how to keep costs down a bit when traveling to NZ, so another trip may not be as far off as we had feared. :)

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The Journey of the Fellowship, day 3

That first morning in Auckland, after eating breakfast, we took our day packs and headed to the ferry that could take us to the (dormant/extinct) volcanic islands. We were glad to discover that it was within walking distance of our hotel, so there was no need for a cab. We had to adjust to the noisy pedestrian walk signals and everyone driving on the left side of the road instead of the right, but we got to the ferry dock safely, and with only 1 driver yelling at us for not seeing the correct signal.

 

A relatively short ferry ride brought us to Rangitoto island, a now-uninhabited former volcano that had a variety of past uses and was now pretty much a nature preserve with a rest and information area by the ferry dock. The Department of Conservation (DOC) is trying to eliminate all invasive predators on the island such as possums and rats to preserve the native New Zealand birds. Interesting!

 

We walked on the black beaches. I would say "black sand beaches," except that it was not really sand, it was rocks.

 

Rangitoto lava beach

 
We got our first exposure to native NZ plants here, too. I was surprised at how tropical many of the plants seemed, but mixed with evergreen pine-type trees and other plants I would not think went together.
 

kura tree

 

We decided to hike up to see the lava caves. What made this a rest & recovery day was being able to go at our own pace, on our own schedule. We did not hurry, and our only time constraint was the ferry times. Much of the island was covered in a semi-tropical forest (kaura? trees and ferns), but there were also huge fields of just lava rock. Venturing off the flattened path meant it was very difficult to walk at a normal pace, and the black rock meant the sun felt quite hot, though it was only about 70 degrees (around 20 degrees Celsius). I began to feel a real appreciation for what Frodo and Sam would have experienced while walking through Mordor to Mt. Doom.

 

We did reach the lava caves. Though they were smaller and less interesting than I had thought they would be, we had fun playing around them and going through them.

 

Rangitoto lava caves

 
At this point, I was getting tired, but the Hobbit and our younger son wanted to reach the top of the mountain. So, the two of them hiked quickly up hill, and my older son and I proceeded back down toward the ferry dock, taking our time. At one point we stopped for awhile to just sit quietly and enjoy the view.
 

Rangitoto view

 

We returned to the hotel apartment in the early afternoon and rested for a few hours. I slept longer than I thought I would - oops - but so did everyone else. I did a little stretching/yoga while I waited for everyone else to wake up. We walked around the city that evening and got some food.

 

 

Day 3 of trip:

Fitness: 2 pt (walking, stretching) / 4 total

Mental/Emotional Health: 2 points (quiet contemplation & meditation) / 4 total

Life Quest: 2 pts (Enjoying the view, joking/playing around with the family) / 4 total

 

 

 

*time warp to* Week 5 update

Haha- Am I messing with your head, yet? ;)

 

It has been so busy since we returned on Friday morning that exercise and other goals have fallen by the wayside a bit. I am really not sure what I have done other than lots of emails, computer work, unpacking, and cleaning. Since my home days blur together more, I want to try to get caught up now and back on track.

 

End of Week 4 after trip (F, S, S)

Fitness: 3 pt (F walking at airport, Sat neighborhood walk, Sun stretching)

Mental/Emotional Health: 4 points (F: nap - I mean meditation, Sat: positive Q's, Sun: journaling and positive Qs)

Life Quest: 4 pts (getting back on Eastern US time, doing household chores, holding kids accountable for homework, catching up on work emails)

 

Week 5, Days 1-2

Fitness: 1 pt (yoga)

Mental/Emotional Health: 4 points (meditation, positive Q's, journaling, and more positive Qs)

Life Quest: 2 pts (seeing friends at the Geek group Monday night, sending an email I had been putting off)

 

I have not really been doing well with any workout stuff since coming home. I am so not in the mood, and it is so cold outside... I need to overcome that tomorrow.

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It's awesome to be able to take part in your trip by reading your logs. I really appreciate that you take the time to write about it here! :)

 

I have learned a lot about ideas on how to keep costs down a bit when traveling to NZ, so another trip may not be as far off as we had feared. :)

 

tumblr_m92q929JTP1rnsfq2.gif

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I have learned a lot about ideas on how to keep costs down a bit when traveling to NZ, so another trip may not be as far off as we had feared. :)

 

tumblr_mpqt98w2re1svjrcxo1_500-908c9a564

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