We landed in Auckland on the 6th of December, went through all the long process of immigration and customs… Even though we informed that all our equipment has been clean because we knew the conditions before flying, they sent us to the slow lanes and it took us 2 hours standing in queues to get out of the airport… My brother picked us up, and drove us to the place we could stay in.
After the first night of sleep, we were pretty rested, no real jet lag (thanks to the stop in Taïwan and the evening landing). We also got surprised of the weather, sunny and warm (well at least for the first day)!
We hung around with the Schnaps family, I met my nephew again and my niece for the first time. (see the Schnaps family)
We hung around Auckland and went shopping, getting used to the “Hi, how are you doing?” again from everybody everywhere 🙂
Then we got to Warkworth Lodge to meet again Liz, Geoff, Jorgia, Laila and Sonnie. After 3 years the last 3 ones have been growing up so much! It is great to see everybody again, and a lot has changed in the house!
The reception is now fully occupied with the office that moved completely there (the reception was just getting built when I left last time), so more space in the house! Also now there are more people/staff who are helping in the lodge and in the office, which is completely new for me!
So we got settled in our room, and then started helping! Yep we did clean rooms, make beds, fold towels, iron sheets… And sometimes late after dinner! Liz, Geoff, Laila and Sonnie went away for a week-end for summer holiday, so we enjoyed our week-end doing all the above mentioned and answering the phone and the door bell (even when ringing 3 times without no reason in the middle of the night…)! Liz, Geoff if you read that, yes we did have a good time and enjoy it! 😉
But of course, there is the second part of Help exchange:
- Going out on a beach walk at Omaha beach (thanks to Sonja, staying at the lodge as well that drove us a bit around),
- jumping in the pool or in the hot tub,
- being dropped in Auckland for a few sunny days with the Schnaps family,
- being pick-up by Geoff with his limo at the bottom of the sky tower to drive back to Warkworth,
- going on a limo fairy light tour at night and seeing the brightest house ever (that even have a money box in front to pay the electricity bill…)
- enjoying Christmas trees while the temperature is around 30 degrees,
- hiking in the Scandrett Regional park,
- polishing the boat of Liz’s dad,
- getting the biggest mug ever for Christmas present (I was stealing Geoff’s one everyday…) and a really nice bottle of local wine,
- being invited to a kiwi family (Liz’s family) Christmas lunch and having a loooooot of food,
- trying to make the famous French Christmas cake: “bûche au chocolat” (Chocolate log) but then I realized it is summer and the chocolate mousse did not stay on the rolled cake because it was too warm… 🙁 I will try again in July, when winter is here…
- swimming to Goat Island,
- walking along the really long and sandy Pakiri beach
- going out for New year’s Eve in Matakana pub with Sonja and Matthew (helper freshly arrived/jet-lagged), drinking different beers, realizing after 2 hours there that at least 3 persons in the staff were French, listening to live music (until someone fell on the “stage” 50 seconds before midnight…) having a count down to midnight anyway and a happy new year screamed by everybody (but no fireworks) and then trying to find the free shuttle back to Warkworth that brought us to Omaha beach instead and that we had to paid to get to Warkworth… ,
- watching rodeo and not understanding anything of what was happening but enjoying it anyway,
- having a mud challenge when hiking up the mount Tamahunga at dusk/night with only one flash light for 2 (next time, Sonja, remember to check your batteries!) and meeting a possum,
- going on a fishing trip on the previously polished boat… And getting sea-sick quickly, so I was picked up by Geoff, Jorgia and Liz on the Jet ski and had a walk on Kawau Island until they drove me back again home. First experience on a Jetski, it was pretty nice! (also pretty fast, even if not that stable being 4 people sitting on it! (especially when the fourth one to climb on does not climb and turns us up side down…)
- And that is already a lot!!
We left the lodge on the 5th of January, now we are in Half Moon Bay looking for a car to buy.
Happy New Year for the ones that did not receive it from http://news.froginette.org !