Posts tagged: design

New Zealand North: Discovering The City Of Auckland

By , February 1, 2011 5:00 am
Children Playing In Buckleton Beach

Children Playing In Buckleton Beach

Our stay in Auckland is easy, as public transportation is plentiful and for the most part, the city is clean with various neighborhoods to discover. Right away, I am impressed with how culturally diverse the city is, something I had not seen so far in New Zealand. Like many other large cities, there are lots of trendy restaurants and shops; western luxuries I feel very comfortable being around.

Ferry Building Now Full Of Restaurants

Ferry Building Now Full Of Restaurants

Holiday Cheer While Shopping

Holiday Cheer While Shopping

The city is nicknamed “City of Sails” because of all the yachts in the harbor. As we make our way to the Fish Market on foot, my attention alternates between the design details on the urban dwellings and the yachts that are bigger than my last apartment building. While I don’t fancy boats so much, I do wish some of that attention to design was shared in the waterfront homes in San Francisco.

Auckland Harbor

Auckland Harbor

Your Very Own Parking Spot

Your Very Own Parking Spot

Enjoying Coffee At The Harbor

Enjoying Coffee At The Harbor

My second favorite stop in the North Island is Buckleton Beach (with Wai-O-Tapu being the first). It’s a short drive outside the city of Auckland and not much of a tourist attraction, but it is here that I come to understand why people love New Zealand so much. As I lay on the tree branch that afternoon looking at the kids jumping off the wooden platform and giggling amongst each other with their parents nearby, but not glued to their sides, I imagine what a safe, outdoor wonderland it is to grow up in New Zealand. There are so many different hikes to go on and get lost for hours or days. There are so many beaches where there is no one else. This is a place where you choose your pace of life. This is a place where you eat free oysters right on the beach rocks. This is a place where you go through the tolls and pay later. This is truly the great outdoors where you can be by yourself or with others. This is a lifestyle.

Buckleton Beach

Buckleton Beach

Me & Frenchie

Me & Frenchie

Higher Please

Higher Please

Rocky Side Of The Beach

Rocky Side Of The Beach

Free Oysters On The Beach (Up To 50 Per Person Daily)

Free Oysters On The Beach (Up To 50 Per Person Daily)

So if you come to NZ looking to be wowed by everything, like myself, this may not be the place for you. However if you want to enjoy the outdoors and be able to hear yourself think, this is the perfect place.

So Young And In Love

So Young And In Love

Baby Starfish

Baby Starfish

Neat Rock Formation

Neat Rock Formation

With 3 other Frenchies, what better way to end our trip than to eat at The French Cafe in Auckland. We are here to celebrate Marie Hélène’s birthday and our meals are amazing.

Goat Cheese With Beets

Goat Cheese With Beets

Got To Have Fish

Got To Have Fish

Delicious Meat

Delicious Meat

One Of the Best Dinners We Had

One Of the Best Dinners We Had

No Complaints About Auckland

No Complaints About Auckland

Thank you Marie Hélène and Gérard for joining us on our world trip and always spoiling us with your love.

Fish Burger

Fish Burger

Pay Your Toll Online Or Here

Pay Your Toll Online Or Here

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Luang Prabang: A Charming Introduction to Laos

By , May 23, 2010 8:35 am

It was great to finally get off the boat and be on land again. We had no expectations of Laos and especially none of Luang Prabang as we only knew of the name before arrival. As we walked around town, we were pleasantly surprised about how charming and clean it was.

Everywhere we looked, there was a nice fusion between the traditional and urban, French and Lao style structures.

The evidence of French colonization was also in the food. It was easy to find French restaurants and bakeries. Boris was delighted to find real bread and delicious food.

I just wanted to walk the entire town over and over again so I can absorb all the beautiful details around me. The alleys were not to be missed either. They just don’t kid around with design. Every bar or restaurant we walked in had a cute theme and was very inviting.

Of course there were many temples throughout. Though some of the temples were dated back to the 16th century, you would not believe it because of all the gold carvings on the front. The tiered roofs also added a nice element.

For the best view, we walked to the top of Phou Si hill. Along the way, there are many golden statues and shrines. Either on your way up or down, do not miss out on Wat Pa Houak, which is on the terrace overlooking the Royal Palace museum. Even though it is very small and looks abandoned (built in 1860 AD), faded drawings still remain on the interior walls that are quite beautiful.

Our new friends, Audrey and Antoine, whom we met on the slow boat, told us about the Laos Red Cross. We went and checked it out and now we cannot stop telling others. Besides being a blood donation bank, it also is a place locals go to for either the herbal sauna and/or traditional massage. We initially opted only for the sauna but after an enjoyable experience, we had to try the massage and that turned out to be amazing. The best thing is, even being one of the cheapest places around town, it also raises money for various relief activities.

Laos Red Cross: It is near Wat Visoun to the southeast of the city; opens at 4:30pm for the herbal sauna; 10,000 kips ($1.22) for the herbal sauna and 40,000 kips ($4.85) for a massage.

At night we walked over the bamboo bridge to meet our San Francisco friends for dinner. Robin is also doing some travelling and we met her while we were in Thailand. BK and Megan have been in Luang Prabang for some time helping out on a new library. They exposed us to some local cuisine and made us eat with our hands. It was great to be around new and old faces.

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

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