Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Auckland, New Zealand

In case you are wondering why I've been so quiet on my blog. Over the past few days I was in 50-hour 30,000-km air transits between Toronto and Auckland, New Zealand. I was there for a very sad season: my mom's big sister, my beloved aunt M passed away. Though the news didn't come as a complete surprise, secretly we were all praying for miracles and that she would be with us for a little bit longer. 

My aunt M was a very talented and accomplished artist and antique dealer. I spent two summer breaks with her when I was young. She owned an antique and pottery shop at the time, and she often took me to art galleries and antique stores. I credited her for nurturing my artistic spirit, and helping me develop a sense of appreciation of beautiful things, especially those with history.

This is one of my aunt's many watercolour paintings. She painted it when she was only three months into her watercolour study. My uncle titled the painting "Celestial Beauty" which is a perfect way now for us to remember of my aunt's grace and wisdom. 

We weren't really in Auckland for sightseeing, but we were lucky to run into a few interesting restaurants. I would highly recommend the Kokako Cafe in the Grey Lynn neighbourhood. Their vegan quinoa pancake and potato hash in Hollandaise sauce were amazing. 

The restaurant has an industrial-geeky chic-meets-Parisian-bistro ambiance. I love that they use cough syrup bottle-alike for cold brew coffee, and lab baker for maple syrup. 

If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you wouldn't want to miss the "Authentic Vegetarian Restaurant" in Panmure. Can you believe all the dishes below are 100% vegetarian? 

After the funeral, the family felt the need to get out of the house so we went to the nearby Cockle Bay Beach which is famous for shell collecting during low tides. As a family we held hands and sat quietly on the beach taking in the ocean breeze. I could feel my aunt was there with us.

The next day Anthony and I met up with one of his cousins in the Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter. If you are into seafood then you definitely don't want to miss The Foodstore
We did the impossible round trip from Toronto to Auckland in 5 days, completely exhausted. It was however completely worthwhile to be able to say my last goodbye to my aunt. We are going back in September so hopefully we will have time to visit Auckland's many breathtaking beaches, vinyards and of course the famous Lord of the Rings tour in Queenstown.

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