The Misadventures of Kai and Pixel »

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Christmas down under

After our amazing trip to Australia and New Zealand last year, we decided to try to repeat it again this year.  Andreas spent three weeks in Canberra, Australia again, working with a friend and colleague there on climate change and trees in Oceania.  Kai and I headed straight to New Zealand, barely managing to get ourselves on the plane after a rough semester and an unfun experience with the flu du jour which ended in bronchitis for me.

My family couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join us in New Zealand this time.  Rachel and Shonty are hosting Christmas for all of us: my parents, my sister Susan and her family, and for us!  The beer and wine are flowing–Paihia might never be the same after the in-Bray-sion.

The weather has been less than stellar this year so our adventures have been more limited.  (And frankly, I’m quite OK with the crappy weather because I needed the opportunity to do absolutely nothing!)  We have visited Russell (across the bay from Paihia), and we spent three lovely days on Matauri Bay.  This was a life changing experience for Andreas and me.  Like most tent campers, we have always dissed the caravan culture.  However, the terrible weather prompted us to rent a renovated (old) caravan for our days up at Matauri.  Hmmmm….  We now agree that once we are too old to sleep in a tent, we’ll up grade to a camper van.  This is big!

The photos are in chronological order.  Trip to Russell and then our trip to Matauri.  As you can see, the cousins had a blast in surf!

The real adventure part of the trip starts in a few days.  The sisters, their husbands and my 13-year-old niece are heading to the South Island for a 5-day hike on the Abel Tasman Track!



Beautiful Iceland

Andreas and I first fell in love with Iceland nine years ago (photos here).  That was the year before Kai was born and only the second year that Andreas and I were together.  It was a few months before we moved to Edmonton and a few months before we learned that we were going to be parents.

So it was really exciting for us to return to Iceland — child in tow, almost a decade and a lot of life later.  And we loved it just as much.  It’s the empty, scraped bare landscape (no trees!), the empty roads, and this precious sense of space.

This time we spent several days in the Westfjords, the lobster claw-like part of Western Iceland.  We had a mix of weather, and although it was disappointing to learn that the puffins had already left for the winter, it only gives us an excuse to return to Iceland again.

I think that the photos speak for themselves.


J&J in Germany

This is the last series of photos from our summer in Germany.

With my parents, we visited Gengenbach (cute little town in the Black Forest), Strasbourg (cathedral!), and the Lake Constance area.  Lake Constance is a truly a spectacular destination.  We stayed in Konstanz (where I studied for a year in 1997-8) and from Konstanz you can visit the various sights around the lake on ferries.  The Alps can be seen in the background on a good day, and there is plenty to do for kids.  If you are looking for a slightly off-the-beaten path destination in Germany (i.e., undiscovered by most North American tourists) — go to Konstanz.