Back to New Zealand
It was wonderful to have an opportunity to 回老家 (go back to old home), back to Auckland, New Zealand.
I think it was fate that I should win a pair of tickets from the Singapore Blog Awards last year. And the destination.. of all places.. was the last place I had lived in for so many years before South Africa. I have been looking forward to this trip all year.. going back to all the familiar spots, catching up with old friends, eating at my favourite places.. and best of all, spending some good quality time with my Mom.
My first glimpse of New Zealand from the aircraft through the dirty windows.
It was really comforting to be able to remember this view after 2 years. I had snapped a shot from this same spot almost exactly 3 years ago on a trip back to Auckland.
Auckland is one of my favourite cities in the world. How lovely to see it again! This was home for many years and coming back brought a wonderful feeling of familiarity. I loved walking about on the streets of Auckland with Mom.
Checking out our favourite pub in the city. The hubby and I have had good times here..
Seeing familiar landmarks. Aahh.. I have missed the Auckland Sky Tower. Going up the tower was one of my favourite things to do, especially with friends or family who were visiting.
It was also fun doing the simple stuff I used to do – taking the train ride and walk that goes from the city to home. Not much has changed and I remembered the entire route to “home”! We didn’t invade our old home of course, but we did go to our ex-neighbours’ home and hung out there.
Along the way, we stopped to admire the gorgeous cheery blossoms I used to like so much on our street. Yes, cheery cherry blossoms. =)
We were hosted by the Heritage Auckland hotel with a gorgeous bedroom that came with a spectacular view of the Auckland Viaduct and the harbour waters.
The location of the hotel was fantastic and was in the heart of the city. I could see the Auckland Harbour Bridge from the balcony of our room. And the evening view was simply stunning.
This hotel brings back some special memories because some of the best times we’ve had in Auckland was with friends in Hectors, the hotel restaurant. Our friends are vegan and Hectors serves the best vegan food in the city.
I remember whining the first time we were going to eat there. I had made the hubby promise me that we would have McDonalds after dinner. It was funny that the vegan food had turned out to be amazing and I never missed the meat. After 2 years, the vegan selection in this restaurant has gotten even better. I didn’t regret not picking the angus beef steak in their menu at all. Their executive chef, Jinu Abraham has won awards for vegetarian food and I say he should get an award for plating skills too. The food was practically art on a plate.
Roaming about the city, I observed that little has changed in the last 2 years. My favourite supermarket, Foodtown has been renamed to Countdown. There was a new traffic rule on right of way at traffic junctions. One of our favourite Chinese restaurants has changed management and now serves mediocre food. There was a new classy dim sim restaurant. And the city now has a fabulous french pastry shop.
Yummy french fare at Vaniyé
There was so much that I had missed in this city. I had said a really sad good bye to Auckland and all our lovely friends here 2 years ago. I didn’t think I would be back again so soon. But life is unpredictable. I guess this was meant to happen. #grateful =)