Happy Easter

On Wednesday I joined Marius, Pancho, Rigmor, Tron and Katrine at the cabin for typical Norwegian Easter festivities: skiing, lots of eating and more skiing. We don't have typical Easter weather (warm and sunshine), rather we have been getting more snow and it is a chilly 15 degrees C.

Mom and Dad have given me a couple of my own Easter traditions: listening to Handel's Messiah and eventually watching Life of Brian.

Katrine treated us to some Icelandic Easter candy (a large chocolate egg filled with chocolate and licorice) and Icelandic white ale. We hunted for our Easter egg yesterday which Tron really enjoyed. It's a scavenger hunt of sorts and the egg is filled with candy.

Pancho has been getting plenty of exercise, attention and sleep.

There and back again: Shrek the sheep and Aoraki/Mount Cook

We drove out from Lake Wanaka and past Lake Hawea towards Tarras. Tarras was put on the map in 2004 when "Shrek the Sheep" was found in a cave, having avoided being sheared for six years! He became quite the sensation, being taken on tour before eventually being sheared in front of 200 people and on live television. There we stopped in the little store for some small souvenirs and an ice cream. Continuing on we stopped at a town called Twizel to get some information on Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and the dark sky reserve. This part of New Zealand has the world's largest dark sky reserve, which boasts the best stargazing...we decided to not stay the night though since we had some amazing nights before that.
When we got to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park we got some advice on how to not take too long of a hike but also get some great views. The little known trail, Red Tarns, was recommended to us and we were happy we did it. From the top we had a great view of Aoraki/…

There and back again - Glaciers and Mount Aspiring National Park!

From Greymouth we drove south along the west coast of New Zealand. This was the only day we had bad weather. The rain poured pretty hard, and I was a little bummed because Mount Aspiring National Park was what I was really excited to see and get in some nice hiking, but we still stopped along the way through the park for short (30 min) walks in the rain. The road that goes through the park is called the Haast Highway...our stops included Fantail Falls, Blue Pools (not pictured), and Makaroa before we called it a day.

House update: finished bathroom!!

At the end of September 2016 we moved into our 1920's house. We were immediately swept into making it feel like our own and the room I wanted done first was the upstairs bathroom. Initially, we only planned a simple makeover; just to put up some wet room panels and a new sink. Boy did that turn into something way bigger than we could have imagined last year.

We tore it all out, walls, floor and all, and hired a company to do it properly. We didn't want to risk messing up the waterproofing part of the bathroom renovation!

In February we hired a contractor, and we were told they would be done in just two weeks. took six. One thing after another, there was always a hiccough. But it's finally done! I'm very happy with the result, but once we finish renovating the last room in the second floor, we are going to wait on doing more big projects til we have saved up money again.




The current state of our bedroom...

There and back again - Abel Tasman (day 3) + Greymouth

Day three we woke up not feeling 100%. We had been eaten alive by sandflies, were not too comfy in our tent set up (Marius' legs were sticking out of the end), and we just weren't feelin' it. But it was the last day, the last 10 kms, the last hours in Abel Tasman. We packed up, the sun was shining and it was yet another gorgeous day.

This section of the track wove in and out from woods to beach. While walking along one of the beaches early in the day, a group of hikers called us over. We took our packs off and went to see what was up. They had found a colony of fur seals playing in the cove about 100 yards from where we sat. We watched them for about 15 minutes. The pups were playing in the water and one of the adults swam by us to check us out and make sure we weren't dangerous. Such a beautiful way to start the day.

The last six kms of the track weren't that exciting, just about as nice as the first six. Mainly walking in the woods, pretty normal vegetation and …

There and back again - Abel Tasman (day 2)

Day two started from Bark Bay and finished at Anapai campsite. We technically only had about 8 hours of walking to do, but due to the tidal schedule, we planned to take a lot of breaks to get to the Awaroa Inlet at low tide (which was not until 5:30PM).

We walked about an hour before our first break to make sure we did not get to the inlet too early before low tide. The sun was already pretty strong and the water was very inviting. It wasn't super warm, but it wasn't too cold either. For lunch we brought pitas and salami, but the pitas we got had already gotten moldy, apparently they were the kind with butter inside them and meant to be baked. When we bought them we were not thinking clearly and did not pay attention to the details, but we just cut off the bad parts and ate a little bit. Luckily we had more than enough snack food, so we didn't starve at all on this hike.

About 1 hour before we were expecting to get to the inlet we walked up on a little cafe that made pizz…