Yet another year. A look back at 2013
New Zealand is where I started the year. Made it back in time for Christmas/New Years. Ended up staying with my amazing Uncle & Auntie (Ken & Pat) for a lot of it. I still had a fair bit of work on, but would spend the days with my cousin (when he was awake), watching the birdlife out front, playing golf with Kenny, catching up with rallies - and just working most evenings.
Managed to still get around the country though. Headed down to Wellington briefly for a catchup with folks out there, and got out sailing with an ex-Airforce mate. That was exciting! Gusting to 20-something knots and the rudder weld ripped apart, so we briefly drifted fairly close to the sea wall before throwing the outboard on and manouvering away.
Got to spend some time in Tauranga with my cousin and her family. I really love Tauranga and would definitely like to end up there at some stage... We headed out for the day to Royden Downs. It's got the coolest creek for perfect inner-tube rides, and a massive water-slide. Was a wet, fun-filled day.
One of my favourite days was roasting marshmallows in the evening with wood from a tree we'd felled in the back yard. Just bliss...
Such a stunning place. I'd love to live here one day!
Also headed to Melbourne to catch up with friends. Yet another beautiful city that I wouldn't mind ending up in. Mmmm... the short list isn't really so short, is it? Was blimmin hot, but Melbourne seems to work, even with the heat. And then a flying visit to Dubai.
Land of the Mataba - part deux
Yey and I met up from opposite ends of the globe to do a second tour of the US-West Coast. We were last here nine years ago, and were overdue a return. This time visiting San Francisco, as well as visiting old friends. Once again, the US managed to lose my luggage somehow. It wasn't on the same flight as me, but would turn up in the morning. C'est la vie!
I've always liked Vegas. Not so much the strip, but driving around is so easy, and the shopping and food is always excellent! That said, it was nice to head west to California and up to San Francisco. I bought a T-mobile sim and Google showed us the way. (Maps navigation is so much better than any GPS system I've used to date)
Staying in Fresno at a cheap motel might not have been the best idea. Found some amazing Mexican food, but the (cheap) motel seemed like it was in a pretty dodgy area. We made it out rested and alive though, so can't complain.
Airbnb hooked us up with nice accommodation in the Bernal Heights area. We were able to explore the city by foot and by bike using it as a base. I found a nice cafe I could do a little work from when I needed to.
Obligatory shot of the San Francisco bay area. Some lucky yachts were enjoying the breeze.
Didn't manage to catch the Emirates Team New Zealand boat unfortunately. I'd have loved to have seen the AC72 Catamaran on the water in person!
After exploring and eating our way through SanFran, we headed north-east to Lake Tahoe which, in early summer, was still bloody freezing. Attempted to swim, and got wet, but I'm not sure if I managed to fully immerse or not.
Could not do the scenery justice with my little point and shoot. Time to upgrade.
Drove back through Death Valley which was stark, but very beautiful. I'd have liked to have had more time to go visit the National Parks. Visiting Yosemite and hiking the Appalachian National Scenic Trail would be a couple of items on my bucket list.
Back in Vegas I celebrated turning 41 by shooting guns, getting a massage and eating a huge steak. Birthday Vegas-style! But then it was back to the UK for my next trip...
Right on the heels of the US trip, I had another trip away with my Godson's family to Laboe, Germany. We were there during Kieler Woche, which is possibly the biggest sailing event in the world. I've definitely never seen a greater density of boats and ships!
It was nice to head on Holiday with Henning again. Our New Zealand trip seems so long ago, and so much had happened since then. His folks were lovely and we had a very nice time just chilling and wandering around.
Back to the land down under. (Australia)
After some hurried renovating (yes, I'm still not done) and another full-on software project, I headed south once more, to warmer climes, but also to check out Melbourne as a possible next place to live...