Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Croozin' and Schmoozin'

by Anna Campbell

Happy New Year!!!!

Hey, guys, I promised you a report on New Zealand and also some photos so here goes!

If after this deluge of photos, you'd like to see some more, please check out the My Favorite Things page of my website where there are MORE! Oh, and I'm blogging on the 11th January on Tote Bags 'n' Blogs about the beautiful botanical gardens in Wellington so if you want pictures of rainforest plants and roses, check that out too.

I was the guest of P and O cruises on their 'Pacific Dawn' (about 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew). I gave six talks on romance writing on the sea days. The three on the way out were ostensibly on how to write a romance but they ended up covering pretty much everything to do with writing a book. The three on the way back were about favorite romances (there were lots of enthusiastic romance readers on board), readings from my first four books and then a session on MY RECKLESS SURRENDER and MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION. I also did a big signing on the last sea day where I got to sit next to the captain who was signing shipboard souvenirs! That was way cool!

By the way, I think the lady in the armchair at the front of the photo above is just listening intently. She's not ASLEEP!!!! Snork! And you'll notice that we got quite a few blokes along for the talks - always nice to see!

I really enjoyed shipboard life. Everybody was tremendously friendly and I spent way too much time in the cocktail bar. And food! Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, they feed you on the boat like it's going out of style! It's a very relaxing way to travel - you can do precisely as much as you feel like doing. And it was wonderful to see so many people reading as I wandered around the decks (well, perhaps lurched - take note of the cocktail comment above!).

Our first stop was Auckland which has a spectacular harbor scattered with islands. I booked shore excursions at every port as I wanted to see as much of the country as I could. To the left, you can see a photo of the beautiful Waitakere rainforest park outside Auckland. Bushwalking in New Zealand is a snap compared to Australia which is full of creepy crawlies and some seriously dangerous critters. New Zealand doesn't even have leeches and it has only one poisonous spider which apparently is incredibly rare and not very aggressive.

After the rainforest walk, we headed out to the wild west coast to see the Murawai Gannet Colony. I'd seen gannets fishing in Scotland (they're spectacular, the way they turn themselves into white missiles and dart right into the water). It was interesting seeing their nesting - doesn't look very comfortable, does it? We were lucky enough to see some of the elaborate courtship/greeting behavior when Mr. or Mrs. would come in from a long time at sea and renew bonds with the bird that had sat minding the egg.


Our next port was Tauranga from where we visited the volcanic wonders of Rotorua. I'd booked another day trip to go to the Waimangu Valley which still belongs to its traditional Maori owners. The valley was created by a massive volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886 so it's one of the world's most recent landscapes.

Our hosts greeted us with a traditional welcome when we arrived. Very impressive! Then they whisked us off for a lake cruise on Lake Rotomahana where we got to see how incredibly unsettled this landscape still is.

Look at that steam escaping from the thermal vents! The landscape was mindboggling and made you feel very puny as a human. I'd never seen anything like it - rivers of boiling water and lakes of sulphuric acid and the world's largest hot spring in Frying Pan Lake.

After the cruise, we did a walk through the landscape. I kept expecting a dinosaur or two to pop out and say hello. It was definitely primeval!


Instead we met our hosts again who put on a wonderful concert of traditional Maori dance and song. They sang a beautiful Maori love song called Po Karekare Ana which gives me goosebumps. Just gorgeous.







And another picture of the amazing landscape steaming with volcanic activity!











Our next stop was beautiful Napier. This is another story of a place completely shaped by recent seismic activity (Australia is pretty stable when it comes to stuff like earthquakes so all of this definitely counted as exotic to me). In 1931, the port of Napier on the east coast of New Zealand's north island was almost completely destroyed by a massive earthquake which killed something like 10% of the population and flattened nearly all the buildings. The town was reconstructed in the fashionable Art Deco style and today, Napier is one of the world's Art Deco destinations.

I knew some of this, thanks to going to a huge Art Deco exhibition at the National Gallery in Melbourne a couple of years ago. What surprised me was quite how MUCH Art Deco remains. With a few exceptions, almost every building is in this elegant, angular style. I did a wonderful architecture walk through the town which got us into some authentic interiors as well. And then I spent a fortune on Art Deco souvenirs at the Art Deco Shop.




As you can probably tell by now, the town takes every advantage of being the world's Art Deco capital! They have an Art Deco weekend in February every year and I was really impressed to see that the locals turned out to meet the ship in period costume and driving vintage cars. They even had a great jazz band to farewell us as we sailed away.






And what do you think of this elegant lady with her equally elegant greyhound in the main shopping street?















Please check out the Tote Bags blog next week for the beauties of Wellington's public gardens!

Our first stop on the South Island was Christchurch which was rocked by a major earthquake in 2010. Hmm, the whole volcanic thing is turning into a theme, isn't it? I didn't spend very much time in Christchurch itself although the drive through its main streets indicates they've done a great job of cleaning up what was obviously a major disaster.

Instead, we took a wonderful train trip up into the Southern Alps which involved some spectacular scenery and a wonderful bus ride home through the rugged valleys where they shot the Narnia films.

Sadly, none of my photos of this trip really do it justice! But take my word for it, it was beautiful!

Our last port was Dunedin which was the only place where we had rotten weather. I'd always wanted to see an albatross and so immediately signed up for a wildlife cruise to the only mainland nesting colony in the world for these majestic birds.

Again, my photos don't do it justice! But there's something really breathtaking about having those pure white birds with their massive (over 6m) wingspans flying overhead or dipping low to check out the boat. According to our guides, the boys tend to be naughty and mischievous. The girls take life much more seriously and build the nests and make sure everyone is fed.

No comment!

Anyway, photowise I thought I'd skip to what scenically was the highlight of the trip - Fiordland National Park on the bottom west corner of the South Island.

It was here that my new digital camera (I finally moved on from film for this trip) really came into its own. I took hundreds of photos! We were really lucky with weather too. After the cold, windy, rainy day in Dunedin, I was worried I'd only see gray and mist in the fiords but it turned into a perfect blue sky day. Nothing like jagged mountains rising up against a clear sky, is there?

We visited Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound - that's the one with the icy glaciers in the photo.


Not only did we have perfect weather, we had perfect companions. Lots of dolphins and the occasional southern fur seal.

Definitely a day that I'll treasure in my memory forever.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this long but very pictorial glimpse of my recent travels.

As I said, the day in the fiords was heavenly, almost too good to be true. Have you had a travel day that was like that? Just a perfect day that lives in your memory with that special golden glow? I'd love to swap travelers' tales with you today!

100 comments:

barb said...

mine????

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Anna, Those are marvelous
photographs,that's where I was
instead of grabbing the Golden
One!

Congratulations, Barb! I was so
near to having the GR, but I just
fiddled around and missed getting Himself for the day!!!

Pat Cochran

barb said...

Hi Anna

Glad you enjoyed your trip and the blog sounds great.... I have never wanted to do a cruise as I get sea sick LOL....

Glad you had a good day at the fiords.... I remember before we emigrated to Aus we went to see Lands End UK and we couldn't see anything as the fog came in .... so when we went back 13 years later we made sure we went there on a good day and could see what we missed LOL

barb said...

Sorry Pat

BJ said...

Wow....Next time pack me!!!!!!
Glad you are having a great time...the pics are amazing!

Becke Davis said...

FABULOUS pictures, Anna! What a wonderful trip!

Anna Campbell said...

Barb, you were quick off the mark! Congrats on his golden highness!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Pat, you only just missed out on the Golden One. And thanks so much for saying you enjoyed the photos. I wondered if I overdid it a bit (one of the hazards of having a new camera and using it so much!). NZ is a terrifically photogenic place to visit!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Barb, you're a Pom? I didn't know that! The day I went to Land's End (from the land, not the sea), it was awful weather too. I suspect it's pretty nasty quite often down there! Oh, how awful about getting sea sick. We had a pretty good time with flat seas, apart from one night coming out of Fiordland when we hit a 5m swell. Even so, there were a lot of people who were green around the gills on the first few days out of port. I've got a dodgy tummy so I wasn't sure how I'd go but thank goodness, I was fine!

Anna Campbell said...

Barb, you ALMOST sounded sincere there. LOL!

Anna Campbell said...

BJ, it was absolutely brilliant. I kept thinking how lucky I was to have the chance to see all that beautiful scenery. One of the great things about NZ too is that, unlike Australia, there's quite a lot of variety of scenery within a small space. Australia is gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but it's so BIG!!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks so much for checking it out, Becke! It's a gorgeous country. You don't have to be too fabulous a photographer to make it look good.

Julia Smith said...

What a sensory overload that must have been! So many awe-inspiring views. Thanks for sharing the pix - you know I can never get enough of vicarious travel.

I just got back from two weeks of heaven in my former city of Toronto (my husband's hometown - I kidnapped him and brought him to live on the east coast...) So many friends and family to hug, so little time.

flchen1 said...

Anna, that sounds like an incredible day!! Thanks for sharing it with us :)

Anna Campbell said...

Julia, I'd love to visit Canada one day. Especially having seen the Rockies down in Colorado - I need to see the Canadian ones to compare ;-) Glad you had a wonderful trip. You're right about the sensory overload. After dry old Australia (even after the floods), that green burns your eyes! And the mountains just took my breath away!

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Fedora! I'm just so happy so many of the pictures turned out. You can definitely see why I was gasping with awe at the scenery, can't you?

barb said...

Yes Anna, I am a Pom LOL My BIL lives in Newquay which is about an hour away from Lands End so we went by road.

barb said...

forgot to say I am most sincere LOL

PinkPeony said...

Hey Anna!

My brain's fried but two things come to mind..I loved Churchill's War Rooms and the handbags/accessories department at Harvey Nichols. (yes, I am THAT shallow!)

Looks like your new camera got a work out! Thanks for sharing!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

No bugs *and* Art Deco architecture aplenty in NZ?! What am I doing here in dreary old Sydney?

Loved hearing about your cruise, Anna. Awesome pics too. Looks like you had a fantastic time on board and off.

Anna Campbell said...

Barb, that part of the world is so beautiful, isn't it? I haven't spent a lot of time in Cornwall but it's a part of the world I'd like to explore further. What part of England were you born in?

Anna Campbell said...

Jen, I love shopping in London. There's some beautiful shops in Bond Street too or there used to be. And Harrods Food Hall is something I'll always remember from my first visit to the UK. I've heard other people say the war rooms are amazing - one of the things that always gets me about London is that there's always something extra to see! Thanks for checking out the photos!

Anna Campbell said...

Vanessa, it was wonderful. I'm so glad I got the chance to go! As someone who detests leeches and other horrible things that crawl and bite, walking in NZ was a complete pleasure. And the Art Deco stuff was truly AMAZING! You'd love it.

barb said...

I was actually born near the Cotswolds as the Mum's to be from Coventry were evacuated there in the war and then after the birth went home.... this is showing my age LOL.... I lived there til after I was married and then near moved to a village near Liverpool UK for 9 years and then came to Aus

Kandy Shepherd said...

Wow, Anna, what an amazing trip--and superb photos on your new digital camera. I haven't been to NZ for many years but your report reminds me how magnificent it is. Time for a return trip ASAP.
Sounds like the cruise was lots of fun too.

Christina Phillips said...

What gorgeous photos, Anna. Your cruise sounds wonderful. Even though I've been to NZ three times for the conferences, I've not managed to see any of the country at all!!

Amy said...

Was just scrolling through the story to be subtly reminded why I should stay out of the sun! I didn't realise that the sunburn looked that bad :)Silly silly me! Anyway, hope your holiday season went well!

Annie West said...

Hi Anna,

What terrific photos. You're bringing back so many memories of trips to NZ. It's so scenic, isn't it? Laughed at the bad weather in Dunedin. That's par for the course there, dear.

I bet the passengers were spellbound by your Anna Campbell magic!

Rachel Bailey said...

Gorgeous photos, Anna! Paint me green with envy. Must get back to New Zealand and its spectacular scenery.

Did you have trouble finding your land legs afterwards? ;)

Laurie Faelan said...

Anna, thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures, and descriptions, of your visit. NZ looks gorgeous!

No creepy crawlies? That's a rainforest I'd love to visit! As for the boiling rivers, what happens if you fall in? Are you cooked?

The pictures of the waterway next to the Southern Alps are stunning. I really want to check that out first hand!

I'd love to visit NZ sometime, the scenery is stunning. My husband's cousin lives there so maybe someday...

Sharon Archer said...

VERY "way cool" about the book signing with the captain, Anna! The whole cruise sounds fantastic and I love, love, love your pics! And I'm soooo envious that you've actually clapped eyes on Mitre Peak! I've been to Milford Sound twice now and both times there was heavy mist over the landmark. It's still an amazing trip but I would like to see it as it is in the postcards - just the once!
Thanks for a peek at your trip - I'll scoot over to see you favourite things now!
:)
Sharon

Daz said...

Well done, Barb.

Anna, some really gorgeous shots of NZ. I've only been to Wellington and there for work so there was not much sightseeing, except for one day when the boy and I went out for a walk (I without a hat) and my scalp got sunburned. :-)

I'd love to do a cruise. I'll have to get the boy to slow down enough to actually do it with me.

Donna MacMeans said...

Anna - I'm so pleased that you took a digital camera and took lots of photos to share with us. I have a tendency to pack a camera, but forget to use it! I know bad of me.

This cruise sounds like an absolute dream. So glad you were able to add it to your fait accompli.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Anna,

An amazing trip. And very lovely photos. Most of the landmarks and places are familiar to me as I lived in NZ for five years :)

But to take a special cruise and see all these fabulous places, awesome!

Cath's Chatter said...

Awesome photo's Anna.
Hope you make time for another trip soon, road trips are always fun:)
Cath

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Barb, think of how much social history is involved in your personal story! Amazing!

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, I really enjoyed cruising. It's definitely a very relaxing way to travel. Thanks for checking out the photos! I hope they do spur you to make a trip to NZ!

Anna Campbell said...

Christina, I'm yet to make a conference. One day! I hope you get to do some travel for the next visit. Thanks for checking out the photos!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Amy, lovely to see you here! Didn't we have fun on the cruise? Would you do another one? I sure would! I checked back on the sunburn - you're nowhere near as bad as I was after a whole day outside looking at Fiordland. Do you remember what a lobster I was after that? Eeeeeek! Hey, welcome to the Bandits!

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, Anna Campbell magic? What have you been drinkin', hon? But thank you! I swear that lady is listening, not asleep! Well, maybe NOT on a stack of Bibles... Isn't NZ beautiful? So glad you've enjoyed seeing all the photos.

Anna Campbell said...

Rachel, I actually didn't have any trouble with land legs. I've been on smaller boats and spent the day after getting off feeling like I'm reeling (and not as a result of cocktails either!). Isn't NZ beautiful?

Anna Campbell said...

Laurie, all jokes aside, I think you WOULD cook if you fell into those boiling rivers. And you'd definitely die if you went into the sulphuric acid lake. It was an amazing landscape but a bit on the scary side! The Fiordland cruise was definitely the highlight, I think (although I say that and then start thinking of all the other things I loved on the trip). I hope you make it one day!

Anna Campbell said...

Sharon, isn't it amazing how the Milford Sound pics really DO look like the improbably beautiful postcards? I did a few posts before I went where I used illustrations from various sites, never dreaming I'd have photos of my own that looked exactly like the shots. I'd love to go to Queenstown one day - a friend of mine has been there and it looks gorgeous. One of the oddities of cruising is that there's a whole culture - people who seem to do nothing but cruise. One woman had done the NZ cruise eight times in 2010 and this was the only time she saw Fiordland in decent weather. I suppose persistence pays!

Anna Campbell said...

Daz, I think you'd have fun on the cruise - let's hope you talk the boy into a jaunt soon. Apparently we were lucky with weather in Wellington too - we had a beautiful day there.

Anna Campbell said...

Donna, I'd committed to an article for the Australian Romance Readers so I was very diligent about taking shots. With a new camera, I wasn't sure whether I'd get any decent ones. I'm definitely a convert to digital. I love that you can just erase any shots that aren't up to par. The nice thing is with all the pictures I took, I haven't had to repeat too many in my various articles about the trip. I could fill pages with the beautiful pics of Fiordland. You couldn't take a bad shot there, it was so gorgeous!

Anna Campbell said...

Nas, lucky you, living in NZ! I really was taken with the place, which I think is pretty obvious. I really love the sea and the wonderful thing about NZ (and Britain actually) is that you're never far away from spectacular coastline. Thanks for checking out the shots!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Cath, these shots should look like home to you! LOL! As you can tell, I had a wonderful time. Would love to come back before too much time elapses. There's some talk about going on the same cruise again next year - I'd love that and I could easily fill up another week on day tours. I feel like I only scratched the surface of the places I want to see.

Helen said...

Well done Barb I have been down to see him already LOL

Anna

What beautiful pictures and it sure sounds like you had fun I loved the cruise we went on about
8 years ago and yes the cocktailss were delicious.

We did tours at every port we stopped at as well in Vannuatu, New Celedonia, Laman Bay, Lifou and Mystery Island and we loved everyone of them we went to a vanilla plantaion on Lifou and the pods just grow on trees here and there and then we went to this great hill top site and the King met us and they were all so lovely.

I think I need to start saving some money and go on another cruise very soon I really enjoyed the food the cocktails and laying about in the deck chairs reading while waiters replensihed my cocktails LOL.

Have Fun
Helen

Gillian Layne said...

Wow! Such an amazing trip, thanks for sharing those pictures with us. Napier must have been beautiful.

I thought Franconia State Park in New Hampshire was pretty close to perfect.

PJ said...

Gorgeous photos, Anna! NZ is now on my "save the pennies" bucket list. What a spectacular country!

TonaCol said...

Hi Anna! Wonderful pictures, I can see you had a great time. I'll have to include New Zealand to my list of places to visit.

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

Barb, GR wasn't happy with me because I had no Tim Tams on hand yesterday. Shary shared her M & Ms with him.

AWESOME photos, Anna!! Thank you for sharing about your cruise. NZ looks beautiful and it is now a place I'd love to be able to visit some day.

I think the Colorado Rockies are a great place to visit, especially 3-Mirror Lakes. I also loved my month-long trip to Denmark 20 years ago. My husband was in the Navy (on an aircraft carrier) and he has been to some very fascinating places. His faves are sailing on a fjiord in Norway, stopping at port in Egypt to see the pyramids, and Jerusalem.

jo robertson said...

What a delightful post, Anna! Lovely, lovely pictures. I can certainly see Narnia in the landscape and the Art Deco designs would've seriously drained my wallet.

When we were in Scotland several years ago, we had such a seminal moment. Boyd stood at the ridge of a castle looking out onto the loch and said, "I feel like I've come home." Perfect moment, perfect picture.

gamistress66 said...

I am SOOOO jealous, it looks & sounds like an incredibly wonderful trip. oh well, maybe someday ;/ I'll just add it to the list of dream vacations.

Glad you had such a good time & thanks for rubbing in (errr, umm) sharing ;)

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, it really is a great holiday for a reader, isn't it? I mean, you can just set yourself up in one spot and everything comes to you. You just have to exert yourself to turn the pages! Your cruise sounds lovely. I looked at some of those island cruises - maybe in the future. I'd love to go to Tahiti, there's a longer one that goes there and to Samoa which I've always wanted to see (Robert Louis Stevenson's grave is there). But I think next year, another NZ cruise will just hit the spot and two weeks is a good time to be away.

Anna Campbell said...

Gillian, one day, I'd love to go to New England. I love the pictures I've seen of the scenery and the architecture. Thanks for the hint. And thanks for saying you enjoyed seeing the pics! It was such fun to share them with you all!

Anna Campbell said...

PJ, it's a long way for you guys, I know, but well worth the trip. Thanks for saying you like the pics! I had great fun with my new camera as you've probably been able to tell!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Tona, great to see you here! Thanks for checking out the photos - how wonderful that they've inspired you to want to visit NZ!

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Deb, sounds like your husband went to some interesting places. Did he ever get to Sydney? I used to live just up the road from the naval base and we had quite a lot of American ships that called into port there. I visited Denmark in 1985 and loved it. Beautiful country and lovely people (not to mention the pastries! YUM!). Thanks for saying you liked the photos!

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Jo, that story about Scotland gave me goosebumps. As you say, perfect! Thanks for saying you liked the photos. I had huge fun with my new camera!

Anna Campbell said...

Gamistress, would I rub it in? Do you think I'm so nasty???!!! BWAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Rubs hand in arch villain kinda way.

No, seriously, it was a wonderful trip and if you get the chance to visit New Zealand, leap at it! Thanks for checking out my holiday snaps!

Keira Soleore said...

What a fabulous round-up of your trip, Fo. So you were the grand poobah and sole author of this trip. Did you have a cabin cozied up by the captain's, too, Ms. Signing-Next-To-The-Captain?

Congrats Barb on the chook.

Keira Soleore said...

PS: I expect to see your next intrepid heroine traipsing off to meet a braw Maori warrior and has to be rescued by our brave hero and returned back to England.

Janga said...

Thanks for allowing us land-bound creatures share your cruise, Anna. Those mountain shots are particularly breathtaking, and I love the elegant lady with her greyhound. She makes me want to grab a pen and start writing.

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, sadly - and not what I'd been promised - I was in the bowels of the ship and in a cabin I 'fondly' called THE BLACK HOLE OF CALCUTTA. Need I say more? You can see why I had to resort to hanging around in the cocktail bar so much, can't you? The captain - and I'm only guessing here not speaking from personal experience - was in considerably more plush accommodations right at the top of the ship! Thanks for saying you like the pics!

Anna Campbell said...

Hmm, I'm thinking maybe I could do something with this idea. Thanks! Oh, will you sign this release form? LOL!

Anna Campbell said...

Janga, the elegant lady is rather cool, isn't she? And she certainly fitted in well with her surroundings! Thanks for saying you like the shots - I'm particularly proud of the way the mountain ones came out. Honestly, they were so photogenic, all I had to do was point and shoot!

Susan Sey said...

Oh, Anna, your pictures! It's the dead of winter here in the upper midwest & your pictures made me want to travel somewhere warm & blue & beautiful!

We went to Hawaii this summer for our tenth anniversary & it was more beautiful than I even imagined. We did one hike down the western coast of Kauai that was so incredibly beautiful I'd make the ten hour flight there & the ten hour flight back in one day just to hike it again.

Beth said...

Wow, those photos are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your travels with us *g*

I don't have any travel stories to share. I think I need to leave home more often ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Susan, I'd LOVE to go to Hawaii. I'd love it if they had an RWA there. It's so much closer to Oz, for a start. Thanks for checking out the photos - it IS a bit cruel to show you winter-bound folks all this lovely blue sky/blue sea/green grass stuff, isn't it? Bwahahahahaha! Oh, that's right, I did that already, didn't I? LOL!

Nancy said...

Barb, congrats on the rooster! Pat, better luck next time!

Anna, what a fabulous trip. I am so incredibly freaking jealous!

I think the lady with her eyes closed may just have my problem--the flash fires, and her eyes close. You wouldn't believe how many tries it took to get my bridal shot.

Anna Campbell said...

Beth, I seemed to spend most of last year away from home. I'm actually looking forward to being home a bit more this year. Thanks for checking out the photos and saying you like them!

Nancy said...

Susan, I've always wanted to see Hawaii, and you make me want it more.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Nancy, you're so kind! Actually the lectures were in the Promenade Bar which was dim and quiet and the armchairs were extremely squishy and comfy. I don't blame anyone for going to sleep! Thanks for checking out the photos - I had great fun on the trip!

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, when all the Banditas are fabulously wealthy NYT types, we'll have to have a reunion in Hawaii!

Nancy said...

Deb, how cool that your husband got to see those places! With my luck, I would've joined the navy and spent the entire time on Guam, where my hair would likely have developed permanent frizz.

Or in Norfolk--convenient to interesting places but not exactly exotic.

Nancy said...

PinkPeony, I loved Churchill's War rooms, too.

catslady said...

Oh it sounded like such a glorious trip!!And wonderful pics. I've been on only one cruise but I've always said it was my favorite vacation. No living out of a suitcase and catching trains or buses and lots of good food and friendly people and wonderful service and all the fantastic things you can do or not do. Ours was in the carribbean and we rode horses (I don't ride) up a mountain to a fortress that seemed like it was on the top of the world and so many other sites too.

Anna Sugden said...

Sounds like a faboo trip, Fo! Hmm you're tempting us to visit NZ - though we must do Oz first.

Glad to see you christened your digital camera with such amazing vistas.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Catslady, that horseride sounds amazing!!!! YOu're right about the cruise being a great way to travel - I love that I had to unpack ONCE! My last trip to the States in July, I seemed to be living out of the suitcase the whole time and it's a law of nature that the thing you want is always hidden at the bottom!

Anna Campbell said...

Anna, laughed at you thinking the digital camera might be turning up its nose at lesser fare than I gave it in NZ! Yes, definitely put NZ on your list but AFTER Oz!!!!!

Kim Colby said...

Awesome photos Anna!!!

They make me quite homesick. I moved to the States to get married and have been here two years now but I'm from Auckland and from early childhood every family summer holiday was spent in a cabin right on the edge of Lake Rotorua with day trips to the beach at Mt Maunganui and Tauranga. Wonderful memories.

I need to drag hubby back down home for a holiday and siteseeing tour, (he's never been). Your photos have inspired me *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Kim, how lovely my photos reminded you of home. And you come from a VERY beautiful part of the world. Your husband will love it when you take him back! Thanks for checking out the shots.

Louisa Cornell said...

Got him, Barb! Have fun!

Oh, La Campbell, color me G R E E N with envy over your fabulous trip. The photos are incredible and it sounds as if you crammed as much sight seeing in as anyone I have ever heard of on a cruise! And I know everyone enjoyed your talks !!

My trip to Konigsee was one of those memorable days, which is saying quite a bit as I've been very fortunate when it comes to travel.

But the cruise on the electric boat on the Alpine lake at Konigsee was just one of the most moving and unforgettable of all my travels. The lake is surrounded by towering alps and the water is crystal clear. There was a flugelhorn player on the boat who played some lovely old folk tunes and the mountains made it sound as if he were playing a duet with himself. And then we passed over an entire village submerged in the lake after a dam burst over a hundred years before. The only part of the village above water was the church spire. Everything and everyone on that trip was filled with reverence and awe, like visiting a cathedral at the top of the world.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Louisa, that description of your day on the lake at Konigsee gave me goosebumps too. How fantastic! You have been lucky with your travels! So glad you enjoyed seeing the photos! I've really enjoyed the change to share them with you all!

Tawny said...

WOW!! Anna, what an incredible trip you had. It all looks and sounds amazing, both for you and for the lucky passengers who were able to enjoy your talks and get your books!!

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Tawny. It was great fun meeting so many dedicated readers. A few of them knew about my books already but a lot were new to my work. And the scenery was spectacular!

Cassondra said...

Anna, what lovely shots of your trip!

I'm so glad you had a wonderful time, and I really hope it supercharged your muse and got the creativity flowing.

Even when you travel a lot for work, sometimes it's nice to get away on a trip that's just for FUN--just to fill the well I think.

Anna Campbell said...

Cassondra, this one wasn't actually for fun - I was definitely working even though it was extremely enjoyable. But it was a VERY beautiful country so work wasn't too onerous.

Cassondra said...

OH! I forgot you were doing talks on this cruise!

What a wonderful thing! To be able to sail to a gorgeous country and hear an author speak as well!

And what a good idea. A toast to whoever thought of it, and though of inviting you!

Anna Campbell said...

Cassondra, I thought it was a great idea too - and the ship was full of really enthusiastic readers looking for entertainment so I ended up talking to fairly big groups too which was great in terms of promo for me. I'd definitely do it again!

Carol L. said...

Hi Anna,
Wow, these pics are gorgeous. What scenery. Hope you had a wonderful time. Happy New Year
Carol L

Sandii Manning said...

Gorgeous photos, Anna. I think you've seen more of my country than I have! I hang my head in shame. Sounds like a wonderful cruise. I do hope you get to do it again.

Love the elegant greyhound.

Sandii

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Carol! I DID have a wonderful time, thank you. And thanks for saying you enjoyed the pictures. I've certainly enjoyed sharing them.

Anna Campbell said...

Sandii, aren't that greyhound and his mistress just the coolest? You'll have to tour NZ again soon! Mind you, tourists almost always seem more than the locals. I've never been to the Red Centre here and of course, so many people from overseas who visit make sure they go to Ayers Rock.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Fo,
Sorry I was MIA yesterday, but wanted to say how WONDERFUL your photos are!

As you know, I was in NZ in June and LURVED every minute I was there! We only had time to visit the North Island, and YES! We went to Napier and thought it lovely. However, I must admit Rotorua was my absolute FAVE.

Can't wait to go back and explore the South Island!

AC

librarypat said...

Awesome. I want to go.

Serena said...

What fabulous pics, Anna! I am sooooooooooo envious. Would love to do a NZ cruise.

HUGE hugs
Serena

Margay said...

Those pictures are gorgeous! Wish I had some travel tales to swap, but I haven't had many opportunities to travel lately.
Margay