Five hour drive and four hour flight, …Saturday morning Rocks Market…Boarding day!…

The aft of Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas. Soon, we’ll be boarding this ship for a 14-day cruise.

Yesterday, once we arrived at the beautiful airport in Auckland we checked our bags, purchased beverages, and sat at a table to wait for the flight. We’d prepaid the excess baggage fees online of US $270, AUD $350. Luckily our trusty little travel scale was accurate resulting in no additional fees.

In a few hours, we’ll board the ship across the street from the hotel.  To speed up the boarding process, passengers were given “appointment” times to get to the pier.  Our time is 2:00 pm. The ship leaves the port of Sydney at 5:00 pm. In the worst-case scenario, we’ll have to wait in line to board for a few hours.

Flying on Emirates Airlines to Auckland, NZ to Sydney, AU was less exciting this time around than on other occasions at the beginning of our travels. Sure, we get our own remote and TV screen with current movies to watch.

A glimpse of the Harbor Bay Bridge from the hotel rooftop.
(Tom watched Revenant and I watched Star Wars, The Force Awakens, a movie Tom wouldn’t be interested in watching with me. He didn’t care for his movie, but I loved the story and CGI in mine).
Vendors were busy preparing their wares for sale at the market.
And yes, we were handed menus from which to order dinner, but I’d pre-ordered a gluten-free meal much of which I avoided when it mostly contained gluten-free starches and sugars which I don’t consume. Even the baked salmon was covered in a sugary sauce. 
Most restaurants have outdoor dining.

Salmon doesn’t need sugar. I laughed to myself when I saw they’d put a GF fruit bread on the tray with a packet of margarine. Who designs these meals assuming passengers would prefer chemical-laden margarine over real New Zealand butter? Go figure.

It was fun to see the various handicrafts at the farmer’s market.

The huge plane, an Airbus 380, was packed extra tight which appeared to be due to the addition of extra seats.  We didn’t remember the aisles being so narrow on our last two Emirates flights. 

I’m always drawn to these exquisite smelling soaps but we have no room in our bags for such things.

Overall, other than finding humor in the contents of the meal it didn’t matter to me. We’d brought along an appropriate lunch of egg salad and smoked cheese which we stopped to eat at a picnic table in a small town on the five-hour drive from New Plymouth to the airport in Auckland. 

This is a large market extending over several blocks.

By the time we arrived in our hotel, the Old Holiday Inn the Rocks of which we’re “members” it was 9 pm (it was 11 pm to us), I had no interest in eating out as Tom had suggested, not for himself but for me. I passed on his offer. 

The smells of good food from a variety of cafes wafts through the air as we wandered through the streets.

Plenty of food will be available when we board the ship later today. This morning neither of us is interested in breakfast. There’s tea and coffee in the room which we both enjoying now as we’re online.

A charming building along the boulevard next to the Rocks Market.

This is the second occasion we’ve stayed in this particular hotel and we’ve found it to be an excellent choice.  The service is great, the bed is comfortable and the room has free wifi for members, perfect for our tastes.

We noticed the sign reading “free-range egg and bacon roll” which sounded great!

The port is across the street from the hotel.  The last time we boarded a cruise from this location was on January 5th when we hailed a taxi to drive us to the port. Today, Tom is bound and determined we can get our heavy bags down the ramps and steps. After checking out the ramp this morning during our walk, it looks as if we can do it.

We’ll need to get our luggage down this ramp with steps. We’ll figure it out!

Yesterday morning, as we drove away from the alpaca farm, tears welled in my eyes as I hummed out the car window like their hum. Instantly, they all turned to look at me as if they knew we were on our way. 

Amaranta Designs presented a unique product at the Rocks Market which is opened every Saturday and Sunday in Sydney in the “Rocks” area near the pier.
We were particularly fascinated with the flat handcrafted candles. The owner, Louise designs each candle which then are made by hand in Lithuania.  For her website, click here.
These beautiful flat candles took our breath away.  It was easy to appreciate the designs.
Moments later, we waved goodbye to our favorite brown cow and she too looked our way, licking her lips and kicking up a leg or two as soon as she recognized us. 
Lucky Penny Keyrings.

Tears welled up in my eyes as we drove away, not from sadness but from the joy for having had this amazing opportunity to experience this magical place with the mystical creatures. Thanks to Trish and Neil for their kindness, generosity and love.

Luckily, we arrived early enough to avoid big crowds. We chatting with a couple who’d just come off the ship we’ll soon be boarding. They had a fabulous time!

Now, we continue on with enthusiasm for what the moment brings, for what is yet to come and for the memories we’ve accumulated along the way. We’re so grateful…

Photo from one year ago today, April 16, 2015:

The waning sun on a less cloudy evening in Kauai taken outside our condo door.  For more photos please click here.

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