Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft (No Wizardry Here) - Part 3

     Well muggles, before I tell you about everything else that's been going on, I decided to tell you's official. The world of Harry Potter really does exist. I knew (well we all knew it) it deep in my heart, but my time in New Zealand has confirmed it for me.  I showed you the classes, the attire, and the teachers, and the addition of scenery and other objects will just add more supporting evidence.  So, I now present to you...

Exhibit D: The Scenery 
Diagon Alley
The entrance to Diagon Alley behind The Leaky Cauldron. It looks like a normal archway, but tap the correct brick pattern and POOF! You'll be rushing through a bunch of bustling witches and wizards! (Watch out for the ones coming out of Eeylops Owl Emporium! You'll recognize them by their smell...)    

The Horcrux Cave
This is definitely the entrance to the cave in which Harry and Dumbledore went searching for one of the horcruxes.  How did I know this was the place you ask?  Well, "It has known magic."

Number 4, Privet Drive, Little Whinging 
(Number 4 is tucked back on the left side. Don't be alarmed if you feel walk down the lane and feel like someone's watching you.  Aunt Petunia spends heaps of time "gardening" aka spying on anyone who passes her home.)

Exhibit E: Everything Else 

The Ministry 
The Ministry of Magic's seal seems to grace every surface imaginable.  If the Ministry's not careful, the muggles are going to realize something's up.   

Professor Dumbledore
The man has classy taste.  

The Glasses  
How much more obvious can you get? I mean please Harry! Next time you decide to disguise yourself and leave your classes in the shop, at least leave them somewhere less noticeable! 

And the evidence that puts all the rest to shame...
The Weasley's flying car. 
It was sitting in the carpark, minding its own business, and just oozing magic! 

A muggle Ford Anglia licensed by the Ministry of Magic... 

I rest my case. Mischief managed. 

~Rachel E. Bagley, registered intern of the Department of Magical Education 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Fell in Love...With the South Island

     The South Island...oh what a wonderful wonderful wonderful place.  I can't even tell you how amazing it is! We've been here for just about 7 days and have fit in SO much! We started with a beautiful sunrise...
(One of the only perks of being up at 5:45 am)

...a drive to and a stop over in Wellington...
(Our temporary home!)
( Elise and I got our Lord-of-the-Rings-action-figure-model-posing time in.)

...followed shortly thereafter by a ferry ride from Wellington (the very bottom tip of the North Island) to Picton (the tip top of the South Island). 
(So much excitement for just a ferry ride!)
(Kind of like an airplane, but with more rocking and better seats)
(Our view from the boat was soooo pretty!)

We then sat in this van for a VERY long time...

(Basically our home)

...saw some adorable baby seals...
(They kind of look like leeches in this picture, but they really were adorable waddling baby seals!)

...and eventually stopped for a bit in Christchurch. 
(New Zealand will never run out of beautiful sunsets.)

We saw the devastation in Christchurch (caused by two major earthquakes about 2-3 years ago)...
(Those metal crates are blocking the rocks, that continue to fall, from damaging the roads.) 

...saw some of the things in Christchurch that have been rebuilt, and went on our way again. 
(There weren't very many people out on the beaches, and while it was kind of eerie, it was still amazing.)

 After what seemed liked days (okay, hours) in the van, we finally stopped in Queenstown! 
I love this place! (and if I had to live in New Zealand this is where I would live hands down)

Queenstown has made us quite adventurous. We started with a trip to the Mirror lakes...
(Look at the reflection in the water. Cool huh??)
(Such a clever sign!)
...a stop off at the Chasm...

...and a boat tour through Milford Sound.
(Unbelievably beautiful. It almost looked fake!)

 (Soooooo windy!)

The next few days brought a jet boat ride along the Shotover River (look it up! Sadly I couldn't take any pictures of it. Just imagine an incredibly fast speed boat going through an extremely narrow canyon and making you feel like you were going to die!) and a bumpy trip (along a dirt road) to 12 Mile Delta. It was beautiful! 

 (Just take my breath away why don't you?)

Oh and did I mention? We also took a little trip to the Kawarau Bridge and Nevis Canyon to do this...
 (I don't think I'll ever be able to look at this without getting butterflies...)
(Holding on for dear life!)

...and this...

(That little dot on the left is us!)
Scariest things I've EVER done...EVER!! 

South Island, I love you sooo much! (Which seems fitting seeing as it is already Valentine's Day here.)
More to come soon! 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wonderful Weekend Wanderings - Part 2

     For sake of time, this post is going to be mostly just pictures. And because it is mostly just pictures, I'm dedicating to my brother Duncan who really likes the posts with well, just pictures.  On with the story then...Here are the stops we made after our temple trip

1. Swimming Lake Okareka, Rotorua 

Was the water freezing? Oh yes!

Was it worth it? Oh heck to the yes! It was the clearest lake I've ever been in and it was soooo fun!

I think it's kind of beautiful (wink wink). What do you think?

2. Wai-O-Tapu Hot Springs

Enjoying the free hot springs,  

the free mud spa, 

and the natural beauty (thanks for that one Kylie).  

3. Eating Hell Pizza (It's what it's called okay?)

When the names of pizzas are things like "Greed," "Purgatory," and "Mordor Mayhem," you can't help but down at least 8 of them! 

4. Visiting the Rotorua Flea Market

This is a rotten picture, but this flea market, despite smelling like eggs (I forgot to mention that Rotorua is has hot springs and geysers just like Yellowstone!), provided us with super cheap and delicious food (Maori fry bread with golden syrup = YUMMY!) and cheap souvenirs. What could be better??

5. Visiting H2OGO (aka Zorbing)

Imagine sitting inside a washing machine as it's going and then rolling down a hill, and you've imagined zorbing.  As strange as it sounds, it is SO fun!! If you ever have access to zorbing DO IT.  I mean it.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that it is one of the most fun things I've ever done, so do it! You can thank me later. 

This was pre-zorbing. We didn't even know how awesome it was yet! 

Katelyn was the best zorbing buddy ever! 

We pretty much just sat on each other and rolled on top of each other the whole way down. We had no idea where we were going and it was great! 

This wasn't my zorb, but you get the idea. Oh it was SO fun!

6. HOBBITON!! (Matamata)

This turned out to be one of the coolest things I've ever spent $67.50 on! Let me just tell you that Hobbiton (the location of the Shire in all the Lord of the Rings movies) is one of the most magical, most picturesque places that ever existed ever!

Wasn't even in Hobbiton yet and already loved it.

One of the first things we saw was this little pathways, which you Lord of the Rings fans may recognize as the pathway where 

Each hobbit hole made me love the whole place even more!

Seriously so pretty!

I would garden and weed all the time if this is where I got to do it!

The hobbit hole of all hobbit holes (they told us it was actually a hobbit mansion), Bag-End.

The party tree! (LOTR fans will know what I'm talking about)

This is Samwise's house.  The cute yellow door! Ah! It gets to me every time!

The Green Dragon (where we enjoyed specially brewed Ginger Beer which, don't you worry, is non-alcoholic)

I would fit in, and I do mean literally (okay so maybe not by Tolkien's actual height requirements, but still), perfectly!

You want to live there now too huh?

I really want to live in Hobbiton, so this is the hobbit hole I will be moving into in April...

...and this is my future husband, who spends most of his time in Hobbiton (he may or may not have been our tour guide).  The best part is that his name is Sam.  So fitting for one in Hobbiton, don't you think? 

Let me just tell you how we actually met.  Our little trip to Hobbiton placed us in Sam's tour group.  After the main part of our tour was over, we all went to the Green Dragon for our complementary drinks.  As Sam was getting them for us (he's such a gentleman!), he also showed us a picture of some of the actual LOTR cast at the actual Green Dragon pub from the movies.  One of the cast members in those photos was the actress who played Samwise Gamgee's wife Rosie Cotton.  Rosie had super curly hair just like me! So naturally, our director Erika kept pointing to Rosie then me, and explaining/asking Sam, "She looks like Rosie! Doesn't she look like Rosie?" (Thank you Erika!)  I didn't think Sam had noticed until he passed me my drink and said, in his melt-my-heart-instantly accent, "Here you are Rosie." It was from that moment forward that I knew we were destined for each other.  I'm Rosie and he's my Sam, and we will be living our happily ever after in Hobbiton. Come visit us!    
If only right? Back to real life now.  

7. Ice cream in Pokeno

This little ice cream shop is one of the best human creations.  I might even consider it oh like the eighth wonder of the world.  It rivals the pyramids because wait for it, wait for it, wait for allows you to order an ice cream cone with up to 12 scoops!!! That's right 12. Not 10, not 11, 12!! 

We could've been all fancy-schmancy and loaded up, but most of us just stuck with three (raspberry lemonade fizz, limonata cheesecake [TO DIE FOR!], and mint chocolate cookie...YUM YUM YUM)...

...or four scoops. (Cute Brittany did get 7 though...her cone was epic)
Erika and Elise!

I'm heading to the South Island for about two weeks and I'm not sure what my internet access will be like.  So, don't be alarmed if I don't post for a couple weeks.  I'll make up for it as soon as I'm back in Auckland! Thanks for reading my blog you wonderful people! 


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