For The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate
When The Captain asked me if I wanted to go the Auckland Lantern Festival, my first thought was ‘really, Lanterns, that sounds kind of boring’…..
…but our friends Bev and Robbie from S/V Mersoleil had raved about it, and they were going, so I decided to attend.
And ignorant me, I learned that Lantern Festivals are a really big deal!
Part of the Chinese New Year celebrations since the Han Dynasty (206 BC-221 AD) …..
…..Lantern Festivals are usually held on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar which marks the end of New Year festivities.
The Lantern Festival is also popularly referred to as the Chinese Valentine’s Day…..
….because in days of old it gave girls and boys a rare chance to go out in the evening without chaperones.”
The Auckland Festival has been running for 16 years and is held in Albert Park.
On the evening we attended, the Park was jam packed with celebrants.
In addition to the extensive display of beautiful lanterns (I have only shared a small percentage of them here)….
…..the Festival offered a multitude of entertainment for all ages…
and some of the yummiest, most affordable food that we have found in New Zealand.
All for the entry price of $0.
So if you are visiting Auckland at the conclusion of the Chinese New Year….
….check out the Lantern Festival.
You will be glad that you did.
Auckland. The City of Sails. Filled with excitement as it welcomes the Volvo Ocean Race, arriving after a 20 day, 5,264 nautical miles journey from Sanya, China.
Leg 4 of this round-the-world race is now completed.
The remaining six teams have sailed over half way around the world.
For now, it is time to refuel, refit, and relax…..
….and to celebrate with fun activities including those designed to inspire a future generation of Ocean Racers
So why do they do it?
What is their reward? There is no cash prize for winning the race but there is a trophy that ‘symbolizes the glory of winning’. I think that Mike Sanderson, winning skipper of the 2005 -2006 Volvo Ocean Race said it best: ‘It was my Olympic Gold, my Mount Everest, my childhood dream’.
It was quite a treat to cross paths with these amazing sailors, even if we are circumnavigating in opposite directions and at much different speeds. I wish the racers fair winds and following seas as they continue their journey from Auckland on March 15.
We managed to make our way back to Picton along the South Island’s east coast, taking an overnight detour inland to visit Arthur’s Pass along our way.
I was sad to leave the South Island as there was so much beauty on offer and not enough time to enjoy it all.
But we had two long awaited visitors arriving (my Dad in mid-Feb and our friend Amy in mid-March) and the need to haul out Amandla for repairs in Tuaranga in-between visitors.
So we boarded the Ferry and headed homeward, bidding the beautiful South Island of New Zealand farewell.
The day started off upbeat with a lovely drive from Dunedin to Christchurch via Hampden to visit the Moeraki Boulders along the way.
But the mood changed upon arriving in Christchurch.
First, I was taken aback by the extent of the destruction still evident nearly four years after the February 2011 earthquake.
But as the Captain and I wandered Christchurch, and spent some time with a friend there, I began to see a city in transition…..
…a city rebuilding…
…and welcoming new residents like my friend and fellow sailor, Dr Charlotte Daker, who recently relocated to Christchurch after sailing to New Zealand from Ecuador and LOVES it here.
I was invigorated by the rebirth of this city and learned that while Christchurch will never forget the past, it is looking to the future.
Christchurch is a place to be.