11 August 2007

Auckland, New Zealand

We enjoyed a quiet few days in Auckland with Pierre and Anna. More than anything, it was nice to have some time to relax, enjoy good company, and take in plenty of coffee without a schedule.

George and I took in a few Auckland tourist activities. We drove up Mount Eden to get a view of the city. It's basically a volcanic crater that overlooks downtown and the harbor. We also drove up One Tree Hill...better known as None Tree Hill. The tree that used to dominate the hill was cut down in 2001 after its fair share of controversy.

The Food Show was in town while we visited, so we took advantage of this opportunity to eat a little bit of a lot of Kiwi foods. YUM! I sampled more chocolate than I remember, two delicious ice creams, several varieties of avocado oil and spreads, and the best cheesy sausage this side of anywhere. There were probably 50 wine vendors, but we opted not to taste those given the long queues. We did try a nice dark microbrew that was matched with dark chocolate to bring out the cocoa in the brew - yum!

We visited the Auckland branch of the Sadlier clan while we were in town. George's aunt and uncle (Julie and Andrew) hosted us for Sunday lunch two other aunts (Louise and Jan) and three cousins (Emily, Dan, and Tom). It was great to meet them! Julie and Andrew prepared the best gumbo and corn bread!

We shared several memorable moments with Pierre and Anna during our visit. When Pierre's parents came to town, we celebrated Pierre's belated birthday with wine, cheese, and fantastic Italian food. We shared several laughs (and a few shouts of frustration) the night that Pierre's Weber grill failed to cook the beloved chicken. They showed me the Southern Cross on one of our walks home from the pub, convinced George and I that we can't live without a bread machine, and made George realize that maybe Auckland isn't so bad after all. After hearing so much about Pierre and Anna, I'm really glad for the time we spent together.

Despite what George might say, Auckland has its redeeming features. There are fabulous cafes on every corner, a pretty good night life, and great people.

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