Thursday, March 29, 2012

It is that time of year again.
This week is Balloon Festival in my city, and every morning down at the lake
over 30 hot-air balloons take to the skies.

Yesterday morning early, I drove around the lake to watch  the first balloons go up,
I love the way they make us all smile.

Once the balloons were up and on their way,
so was I.
 I drove over the Kaimai range into the Bay of Plenty to Mount Maunganui
and Papamoa Beach where my friend Joan lives. 

That is Mount Maunganui in the background.
Maunga means mountain and nui means big in Maori, so we should just say
Maunganui .

We walked the long and beautiful Papamoa Beach.

If you look very carefully, you may see a speck on the horizon.
It is The Rena, the container ship that ran aground on  the reef out there last year,
causing an oil spill and tipped hundreds of containers into the sea.
Luckily the beaches have been cleaned and it is hard to believe
there was ever a disaster here,
but a big crane on the horizon is still working at removing containers.

This morning we walked around Maunganui.

The sun shone and it was very warm. 

It felt like Summer.

A lovely walk in the shade of the pohutukawa trees.

I drove home again this afternoon,
back over the Kaimai hills to the green Waikato Basin where I Live.
Funny how two days and one night away can feel like a whole holiday.
I have come home
refreshed and spirit lifted.
Thank you Joan.
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  1. It looks and sounds like a wonderful respite. I can almost smell the ocean air from here.

  2. It's hard to believe that it is time for the Balloon Festival again, Joan. Your pictures are so lovely as I know your time away was. I especially like the photo of the sun.

  3. What a well-timed excursion, with these beautiful sunny days, all in a row. I love that walk around the Mount. It can be so refreshing to take a break away from home. I've been watching colourful little yachts, just as you've been watching the balloons, and they make me smile too. I'm about to put up a post about them.

  4. Thank you for sharing your outing! Such a beautiful place -- and how nice to know the beach is clean after the wreck.