I’ve only just realised something!

The castle that proudly sits at the centre of Disneyland in California is NOT the same as the one that is in Walt Disney World in Florida or Tokyo Disneyland. It’s also not the same one as Lego used to create their model that I built at Xmas time.

The original castle in Disneyland California is known as the Sleeping Beauty Castle, here is a photo I took of it when I went there in 2012.

When Walt Disney World was built they used the Cinderella Castle which is much taller and more spectacular and it is this castle which features in the Disney Logo and at the start of the Disney movies. When Tokyo Disneyland was built they copied the more spectacular Cinderella Castle as its centrepiece. Here’s a photo I took of it way back in 1985.

The Lego Disney Castle I built this Xmas is the Cinderella Castle.

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Apparently Walt Disney was inspired by the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany while on holiday there before construction began of Disneyland and based the Sleeping Beauty Castle on it, it is also rumoured that the German castle was his inspiration for the Cinderella movie castle. They both have turrets with blue tops but to me the Sleeping Beauty castle has a closer resemblance to the German one.

There is also an urban myth that Disney have to pay Germany (or the owner of the castle) royalties – but I think it’s just that… an urban myth.

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Weekend in Whanganui

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to stay with friends in their lovely home in Whanganui.  What a great weekend it was.  A friend picked me up early from work on Friday so we could avoid the Auckland traffic and enjoy a couple of beers at the airport before jumping on the plane.  After possibly one too many beers we boarded the plane and very quickly made friends with the guys in the row in front of us and kept most of the passengers very amused the whole way (it was an intimate little plane).  Something about buying houses, finding a good bar to drink in with lots of homeowners had us in stitches for a long time.

One of our kind hosts picked us up from the airport and took us straight to the supermarket so we could purchase more alcohol.  Whanganui New World had the jackpot of wine selections – they sold BOTH of my faves.  These days it’s getting harder to find one or the other depending on the supermarket and the last supermarket I went in to with the biggest selection of wine ever had neither!

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We had dinner and a few drinks at a lovely neighbours house before settling in for many many laughs and quite a few drinks at the friends’ home.

The next day we drove round Whanganui looking at houses for sale, eating lunch at the Citadel – a very groovy café, walked through an amazing succulent garden many residents had got together and planted.  After dinner we did the real “Netflix and Chill” – I don’t have Netflix so it was cool to see what all the fuss is about.

For a treat on our last day we got taken out to an amazing garden in the countryside.  On the way we stopped at the recycling centre – you have to do your own recycling in Whanganui.  There was an impressive mural on the fence made out of recycled bottle tops.

Last stop before the garden was for a coffee from a funky coffee shop called Article, which sold groovy second hand stuff.  I really wanted to stay for a while and soak it all in, plus wander around the glass blowing gallery next door, but we had no time for such luxuries – we were on a mission to get out to the gardens and have a wee picnic.

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The Paloma Gardens were awesome – fascinating, clever, unusual and beautiful.  There is a large glasshouse with many types of cacti.

There’s even a Garden of Death, not my favourite thing but I have to admit it was a very clever concept and well done.

There is an unusual conservatory type area with chandeliers and a peacock.

Unusual art, beautiful flowers and pottery is everywhere – you could walk for hours to try and see everything but we did a short walk.

Then… just when I thought I’d seen everything the garden had to offer, we crossed to the other side of the driveway and found a fabulous setting for a wedding.

The fence near the entrance has lots of cool phrases painted on it, so even the driveway is fun.

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On the way back to town we stopped at a local pub for a beer and a bite to eat.  Then we went to the Wintergarden and lake to feed the ducks rice – because apparently bread is bad for them, but the ducks don’t know that and didn’t seem all that excited about the rice.

Then it was time to go home.  The flight home was very quiet and subdued compared to the flight down.  But it was on a really old plane which I’m sure had been borrowed from an aircraft museum, it was very cool though and quite spacious.

Christchurch for Four Weeks

I always feel very lucky to have a job I really love and there have been many highlights, but the last four weeks have been amazing.  I got to work in Christchurch for four whole weeks and fly home for the weekends.

Luckily on one of the flights I got to sit in seat 1A.  It was so cool, I felt like I was part of the flight crew.

The cathedral is still broken and it’s been like that for so long it’s become very overgrown, but one night on the way home from work the evening sun was shining just at the right time and it looked quite stunning.

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I even made time to go to the art gallery and soak up some culture.

On my last weekend I made it to the Gondolas for a grand view of the city and harbour.

One particularly clear morning I even discovered the clouds on the horizon weren’t clouds after all – it was actually snow on the mountains.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel had only just opened and they had really good opening special prices making it affordable enough even for my work to pay for.  The room was amazing, I never wanted to leave.

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I don’t normally take photos of food I eat but the hotel food was truly spectacular, delicious and very well priced.  Look how beautifully the chocolate cake was presented.

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And the view was stunning.

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After work one night I walked up the road to investigate an amazing playground my nephew told me all about, apparently it’s one of the biggest in New Zealand.  It was very cool and I would’ve loved to play there if I was a kid.

Photo 24-08-17, 5 51 44 PMwAfter that on my way back to the hotel I found I funky street with old looking shops, bars and restaurants.  But most importantly I found a wine shop!

During a lunch break on a beautiful sunny day I went for a walk to take some pics of the cool buildings near where I was working.

Xmas Holidays 2015 Day Four

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Road trip – yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A friend recently bought a new car and was keen to do a wee road trip somewhere and I was very keen to go to New Plymouth to see Mt Taranaki, the Pukekura Gardens lit up for Xmas and the brand new Len Lye Gallery, both of which I read about in the Air New Zealand magazine a couple of months ago – so it seemed like the perfect place for a road trip.

Our first stop for coffee was in the Clock World & Longitude Cafe in Ohaupo, which is somewhere just south of Hamilton.  The Clock World shop was awesome with many fabulous clocks but the cafe left a lot to be desired.  The service was incredibly slow, the person behind the counter was kinda rude and prefered to organise her cakes into some sort of order rather than serving us and the coffee wasn’t all that great.
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That was our one and only stop on the way to New Plymouth, just as well I’d packed a gift box of Kahlua Chocolates or I may have starved to death. It was a lovely easy drive with lots of great scenery, but the weather wasn’t great and I was a tad disappointed that I couldn’t see THE mountain at all.  I was hoping for better weather the next day so I could see it.

We checked in to the The Devon Hotel which was really lovely and set off in search of a snack to tide us over till dinner.The Devon The Devon The Devon The Devon

Second dinner was in the hotel restaurant which was a glorious buffet and it felt like half of the the town also went there for dinner – children and all for a Xmas dinner treat I guess, coz it was packed and people I spoke to all lived in New Plymouth. Anyway the food was great!

After that we set off for Pukekura Park which the TSB Bank turns into a “Festival of Lights” from the 13th of December to the end of January. It was truly spectacular and well worth the drive from Auckland.
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