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Weekend trip to Tauranga

After finishing her exams, Lisa (a girl from our hostel) was traveling east to Tauranga to visit a family she knew there. Aurelie and I offered to drive her, taking the chance to do a little weekend exploration in the Bay of Plenty.

After a beautiful 2 hour drive through winding mountain roads, we arrived at the home of Paul and Eva Anselmi. We were immediately welcomed inside and invited to stay for dinner (our first home-cooked meal in New Zealand).

Like Lisa, Eva is Austrian. When Eva was younger she did her fair share of traveling around the world, living in France, Canada and the USA, finally settling down in New Zealand after falling in love with Paul. Their older son Thomas was away at University but we did get to meet their daughter Ella who was interested in the guitar, photography, and hair styles for the high school ball.

We returned to the Anselmi's twice more to have breakfast Saturday morning and a final lunch on Sunday before heading back to Auckland. We had a wonderful time listening to all the interesting stories that Paul and Eva had to share. It was so nice to meet people that had gone through what Aurelie and I are experiencing now.

To the great dismay of Aurelie, Paul and I started talking about web design. He showed me his business venture Professional Coolant Services that provides a power flush for vehicle engines. As soon as I purchase a laptop, I may be able to give his website a little upgrade.

On Saturday afternoon Aurelie and I went to a natural, hot-springs pool, surrounded by palm trees and ferns. New Zealand is situated right on top of two tectonic plates, resulting in a lot of volcanic activity which heats the water just beneath the surface. With the rain lightly falling from the sky, it was a very relaxing experience.

After a weekend of rain, we awoke Sunday morning to blue sky and shining sun. We drove out to the beach under Mount Maunganui where we ate breakfast and watched the hundreds of surfers out on the waves.

I decided to go down on the rocks to try and capture some of the massive waves up close on my camera. With camera ready, I noticed a large wave approaching ... in fact, it was massive and when it hit the rocks it send a wall of water 10m (30 feet) into the air. I turned away, protecting my camera against my chest as the wave crashed down upon me. I was soaked but my camera was only splashed a bit and I dried it off as quick as I could. Extreme photography has its risks.

All in all, a very relaxing weekend and another wonderful experience with the friendly kiwi people. Many thanks to Paul and Eva for their wonderful hospitality.

19th June 2005 | Filed in blog