Exploring the Port Hills

After an epic 35 hour journey, we arrived in Christchurch safe and well, and were delighted with an immediate view of the alps as we stepped off the plane.

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Since then we’ve had an endless list of jobs to get done and have spent the week sorting phone and internet contracts, opening bank accounts, buying necessary items (bed, fridge, plates etc) and generally getting the house set up and habitable. It’s been fun but we’ve been itching to get out and really explore the local area.

Today the weather improved (it’s been freezing cold and raining all week) so we headed out to explore the Port Hills area of Christchurch. We weren’t disappointed!

The views were stunning and once we got above the low-level clouds we could even see the alps in the distance.

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Today we hiked up the Bowenvale Valley Track which was sodden after all the recent rain but beautiful and well worth the muddy clothes. At the top we walked a little way along Summit Road and took in more glorious views. On a clear day you can see the ocean below but today it was just a sea of clouds!

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From here we followed a path known as Cedric’s Track and found an awesome cafe called Sign of The Kiwi nestled amongst the hills.

We enjoyed a couple of coffees and some cake there before heading down a different path through a stunning forest.

Today we explored a handful of the 50+ trails that are scattered across the Port Hills. Can’t wait to go back and see some more next week!

One Week to Go!

Only one week left until we move to Christchurch, New Zealand!

This week has been the most stressful so far. The packers came today, which means we’ve spent the entire week washing and cleaning every item we own – and we had seriously underestimated how much time that would take. Climbing ropes, hiking bags, shoes, trekking poles, tools, yoga mats, mattress covers, BBQs, every single bolt and screw from the bikes; you name it – we’ve washed it!

 

In addition to that, every piece of untreated wood had to be painted before shipment so one evening was spent treating the posts that build up the bed. Adam was up until 3am this morning finishing it all off but the guys have been and it’s a huge relief to have it all sorted and gone.

Thankfully, it’s been half-term holiday week for me so I’ve been able to take daily breaks from all the cleaning to meet friends for final milkshakes, sunny picnics and pedicure treatments! Adam finished work yesterday and was treated to the mandatory, cheesy goodbye speech from his colleagues.

 

Our apartment is now looking very empty so we just need to sell our remaining items and give everything one last clean before we hand the keys back. Next week is our very last one so we’ll be saying goodbye to the kitties and sending them off on their own little flying adventure on Tuesday. I’m going to miss them so much whilst they’re in quarantine and can’t wait to have them back, safe and sound, with me in New Zealand.

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Four more days of work left for me next week. Adam’s turn to spend a week cleaning!

Two Weeks to Go!

Only two weeks to go until we move to Christchurch, New Zealand now!

At the weekend, we had our last visit to my favourite cat cafe in The Hague and my friend, Susan, was lucky enough to have a feline companion join her throughout lunch!

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We were also lucky to have a three day weekend but it was very much required as we had so many items to list on the freight inventory and so much to clean and sort out. I never realised how much climbing equipment we actually had until I was tasked with cleaning every speck of climbing dust off! These are just some of the piles we’ve been working our way through:

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Thankfully, the inventory is now complete, the test suitcase pack is done and the majority of our sports equipment is cleaned and ready to ship. To celebrate, we took a short break at a local food festival and enjoyed Indian, American and German dishes.

We finished off with a wonderful ice cream cookie – definitely the best thing I’ve ever eaten!

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On the housing front, everything is looking good. We’ve recently reached an agreement to rent this lovely property and can’t wait to move in.

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My wonderful colleagues and friends threw an excellent farewell borrel with an All Blacks theme yesterday. I was forced into an All Blacks shirt (I despise dressing up) and then decorated with a sheep and Māori jewellery for the event. I was treated to a touching (and rather comical) presentation from my friends and they had also created a video of messages from the children I work with. It was great fun, the food was super and I have lots of wonderful gifts to remember my time here!

My crazy cat friend and her husband also made this exquisite cat cake for the event:

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I’ve been well and truly spoiled and am feeling very grateful for the friends I’ve made here in Holland.

 

Three Weeks to Go!

Time is flying by so quickly and, unbelievably, there are only three short weeks left until we move to Christchurch, New Zealand!

This week we have been exploring the various running clubs on offer out there (as you can tell, we have our priorities right) and received a very welcoming message from Port Hills Athletics Club. They won the winter club of the year last year and also organise the epic Crater Rim Ultra run which Adam is keen to complete.

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I’m not so keen on the idea of this ultra run but definitely want to go and give the club a try. It will be amazing to run in such spectacular scenery.

The cats finally received their import permit this week which is a huge relief and we’ve also finalised the date for our belongings to be packed up and shipped off. We won’t get them for about three months so will be living ‘light’ for a while.

We’ve sold yet more excess furniture and our apartment is now looking very sparse. This weekend we have to create an inventory of every item we are shipping and we’re also going to do a test run of the clothes packing to see how many suitcases we need – fingers crossed we can do it in three because then we won’t need to buy any more cases or pay for extra luggage allowance!

This weekend, The Hague Pro Freestyle event is on so we’ll also make sure we take a break to go and watch the pros on their BMXs – bike heaven for Adam!

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At the moment we still don’t have a house to rent so that will be the main focus for next week. Busy, busy but it’s getting really exciting now!

Four Weeks to Go!

Friday marked the four week milestone for our upcoming move to Christchurch, New Zealand. In four weeks’ time we should be arriving just in time for the start of winter.

We saw the last of our visitors this week. Adam’s mum and her husband came for a visit which coincided with Dutch Mother’s Day as an added bonus.

We had a rather cultured day in The Hague, visiting umpteen cafes and taking a tour around the Mauritshuis art museum where we got to see the famous ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ painting by Vermeer.

We squeezed a day trip to Rotterdam in and enjoyed riding on the water taxis, visiting the amazing markthal (where we ate far too much Greek food) and took a tour around the famous cube houses.

Saturday was the hottest day of their visit so we enjoyed a long walk through forest, dunes and beach before treating ourselves to beers at a local food truck festival in the evening.

We said our goodbyes earlier today and have now gone back to our job list and started to panic a little. There’s so much to do and so little time now – it’s certainly going to be a busy few weeks!

Five Weeks to Go!

Unbelievably, there are now only five weeks left until we move to Christchurch, New Zealand. This blog post is rather delayed as it was actually ‘five weeks to go’ last Friday but we’ve been so busy that I’ve not had chance to write.

The last week has been a mixture of moving jobs and family visits so has been extremely busy but very enjoyable. All service companies have now been called and end of contract agreements have been organised and planned for. The import permit application for the cats has been sent off and they were very brave during their first round of parasite treatments yesterday. The majority of household items are now sold so all in all it’s been fairly productive on the job front.

We had wonderful weather this weekend which made for a very enjoyable family visit from Adam’s dad, brother and partners. We enjoyed wandering around the streets of The Hague together, ate far too many delicious meals and the girls even managed to squeeze a pedicure in whilst the boys went to the Louwman Museum to admire the cars.

The Hague has always been a super place for family catch-ups and it certainly didn’t disappoint this weekend!

20180506_221152On Sunday, temperatures hit 26 degrees which was great for the family who were chilling out on the beach. For me and Gill though, it was race time!

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We signed up to the Aramco Beach Run after the high of completing our first half marathon and thought it would be a simple 10km ‘fun run’ as advertised, but it turned out to be the hardest run we’d ever done.  Blazing heat, soft sand, hilly dunes, no breeze and way too few water stops made this very challenging and I don’t think either of us will sign up for another beach run in a hurry!

We made it to the end though and were extremely proud to cross the line together and to add another medal to our collections. I’m going to miss my running buddy in New Zealand and as hard as it was, am very pleased that we managed to squeeze in a final run together.

c1f4d0c7-ade3-45af-b3ad-b85ec786ea11Our final visitors, Adam’s mum and her husband, arrive tomorrow so we’re looking forwards to seeing them. It’s a bank holiday here and the weather is looking pretty good so there will be plenty more day trips and opportunities to over-eat no doubt!