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.
To celebrate another welcome summer’s day in the Bay of Islands and exercise my sea legs, I decided to take a walk along the beautiful cycle trail from Kawakawa to Opua.
But because I love trains, I opted to cover the first four kilometers of the trail as a passenger on the Historic Bay of Islands Railway lead by the beautifully restored steam engine Gabriel.
Gabriel departed the station at 12:00 hours with people, bikes, and puppies aboard and started her transit down main street…..
….passing the Kawakawa theatre….
…and the famous Hundertwasser Public Toilets…
….being welcomed by many fans as she made her way out of town.
The ride was wonderful but over way too soon!
I had so much fun I almost stayed on for the return trip from Taumarere, but I preferred a seven kilometer walk to an eleven kilometer walk, and so I bid farewell to Gabriel and continued along the rail trail.
The original train line ended in Taumarere at the upper reaches of the Kawakawa river where transported coal was loaded to waiting ships.
The line was later extended from Taumarere to Opua, but that now disused section has been converted into a well maintained cycle trail.
.While my excursion after the train ride was relatively uneventful, it was beautiful and peaceful….
….offering some much needed exercise and a bit of alone time….
…with an occasional, welcome interruption from friendly cyclists.
I was surprised how quickly I made my way back to Opua….
….a nice place to drop your anchor.
And what was the Captain doing while I was taking my lovely stroll? Finishing maintenance on Amandla and readying our new (very used) car for our road trip to the South Island!
This post was inspired by Jo’s Monday Walk
Saturday was a big day in the Bay of Islands with the 40th Tall Ships Regatta sponsored by the Russell Boating Club.
Billed as ‘the Southern Hemisphere’s premier tall ship race’, this annual regatta also welcomes classic yachts and any other mono or multi hull yacht over 20 ft.
Amandla wanted to participate, but she is still in maintenance mode, so the Captain and I took a dinghy ride to Russell to watch the start of the race.
With so many gorgeous sailing vessels, it was difficult to chose where to point the camera. And time was limited as the starting gun was fired a few minutes after our arrival and the boats headed out to sea.
I share a few highlights in the gallery below.