Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Class Field Trip

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Last Friday I helped out on Sarah's class field trip to the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum down at the waterfront in Auckland.

The Year 9s are learning about immigration during their Humanities lessons at school at the moment, and the visit to this museum was organised to give them more insight into this fascinating subject because that cute museum just happens to showcase the story of how and when New Zealand was discovered, who came to live and settle here {and why} and of course how they got here. I've got to admit that I love going on these school field trips because I get to learn so much too! ;)

Immigration is a fascinating {and obviously very relevant} topic for us as a family, but I guess everybody in New Zealand is an immigrant to one degree or another, so learning about how it all happened is appealing, and made me happy that I'd signed up to go along that day.

We started off the day with a walk around Wynyard Quarter on the waterfront...

where I took this photo of some silos in Silo Park...




... and where this little Waterfront Container Library lives! How cute is this idea? You can come down here and sit in the sun {or under cover if it's raining} and read, do a book swap, or just use the library facility.  Simple. Easy. Awesome. I love it!




And then we made our way back to the museum which is an awesome place too. I love it when museums make their exhibits interactive - it keeps kids well entertained and makes for effortless learning while having fun.

They have a room down there that simulates a real bunk room/cabin from one of the old sailing ships that the immigrants would have sailed out on to get to New Zealand. It heaves and moves up and down to give you some idea of what the immigrants would have experienced {although they would obviously have had to endure much worse at times and they'd also have been cooped up for 3-4 months as opposed to our few minutes in there}. Immigration is definitely not for sissies. ;)

The kids also loved having a go on the 'America's Cup type yacht simulator thingy' {you know what I mean, don't you?}. They spent ages at that place - using all the equipment and attempting to plot their course out at sea. 






And then we got to go for a sail around the harbour on the Jane Gifford.

How beautiful is this huge waka in the foreground? I think they said it was only a couple of years old and was built to show us the type of boats that the Polynesian people came out to New Zealand on, so many years ago. Wow, immigrants are some hardy and adventurous people. ;) Can you imagine setting sail with only the stars to guide you, not knowing when you would find land and what you would find there? Brave, I tell you.




Here are the girls making themselves useful on board the sailing boat that morning. ;)




And here are two of the parent helpers who were making sure that nobody fell overboard. ;)




It was absolutely freezing out on the bay that morning, but good to get some fresh air out on the water!




And our timing was brilliant because we got to see someone doing a bungy jump off the bridge just as we were passing by...

Can you see that bungy jumping capsule under the bridge there? Now those people are also brave!






All in all, it was a great day out. And if you're visiting Auckland I would definitely recommend a visit to the Maritime Museum with a sail around the harbour - you'll go home having learnt all about New Zealand's beginnings and about some of the awesome people who have settled here.


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

En Route to San Diego: Carlsbad

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Ummm y-e-s, I'm still doing my recap of our recent holiday in the States and boy, oh boy it's taking me an age! But I'll get there eventually. ;)

Okay, so after all of our fantastic LA adventures {Venice Beachthe Farmers Market & The GroveSanta Monica PierUniversal StudiosHollywood & Beverly Hills and Disneyland}, we said goodbye to our LA home-away-from-home in West Hollywood...





... and headed off {in our red hire car} to our next stop - San Diego. :)


The drive from LA to San Diego is approximately 2 hours, and because it was such a gorgeous day and we'd never been to these parts before, we decided to stop for lunch and a swim on our way down.

This Californian coastline is absolutely beautiful so we really enjoyed our road trip that day...






^ I can almost feel the heat of that gorgeous day, looking at these photos.  Man, I love summer! ^

We decided to stop in Carlsbad because it is super pretty and The Armenian Cafe promised a delicious lunch al fresco, so that was it.




^ Check out the slightly pained expressions when I haul out my camera! Oops! Sorry, guys. ;) ^








^ Mmmm, I love dolmades! ^




It turned out to be the perfect restaurant choice for a hot summer's day - all the food was delicious, light and just what we felt like. All washed down with a cold beer shandy. Hmmmmm.

And then we headed down to the beach for a swim...






^ The boys checking the Soccer World Cup scores on Grant's iPhone! ^






And then it was back into the car to do the second half of our trip down to San Diego:




This was such an amazing day - we were full of the joys of a summer holiday!

It felt sooo good to get into our car after those fun days in LA, and drive off into the unknown. I'm so missing those carefree, adventure days now! #summerholidaysarethebest