After a bit of a week on the road, it was lovely to unpack for 7 days in our Air BNB cottage in Maine. Simple things like a few home cooked meals and playing in the yard were a welcome break to moving round for the week before. It was great to have a base to explore from and yet come back to the same place each night.
Though I think I am pretty quick at unpacking and packing it's nice not to do it every day or two. I am writing this another week later when we have been doing just that. The benefit of moving is we can explore bigger distances. The benefit of staying still is we can explore a smaller area more in depth. With so much to do in Maine our options weren't limited. We maxed ourselves in Wells and highlights included (and a great itinerary for 7 days in Maine):
After our whirlwind tour of New York that was packed with activity and adventure it was back on the road. We picked up our car in Brooklyn (great one month hire deal with Hertz) and started our drive North. First stop was Yale in what was to be the start of our prestigious universities tour. Being on a campus this old is amazing, every building seems like another historic monument but I am sure if you are a student you eventually don't really even notice them. Walking around old buildings isn't very popular with the girls but grass and being able to run around is, so it ends up being a good combination. We took some time out to visit the Yale Art Museum which has thousands (over 13,000 to be precise) pieces of ancient art from across Europe Asia, Africa and the Pacific as well as an extensive modern art collection. Again this is as interesting for us as the the girls as they can't believe either how old the items are or how expensive they would be. It would make it pretty amazing if you are studying Classic Art or Culture at Yale and can actually see the items you are researching or learning about.
Our final destination for the day was Seekonk where we were staying at a very basic hotel near the motorway exchange. Super handy for Walmart and any American fast food chains and also the perfect base to be affordably close to Newport, Rhode Island, where we were keen to walk the cliffs and see the huge mansions from early last century.
From here we headed further up the Cape to Orleans stopping at New Bedford to explore.
After a month in the Caribbean we arrived fresh and ready to hit the ground in NYC. The girls did really well with a full day of travel to get there. We were up at 4.30am in Bonaire and eating dinner in Brooklyn by 8.30pm...continued below
Our second week in Bonaire flew by. Now we are in NYC the time seems so long ago. Looking at the amazing pictures and remembering how clear the sea was, I feel very lucky and thankful for our time there. Even if on most days the heat and humidity meant I got grumpy. I guess that is why selective memory is good, especially reinforced by photos, it means I remember swimming in crystal clear water, dinners on the ocean and no rushing for anything. How I am going to get children to school in October, I don't know! We spent our last week:
It is Saturday August 26th and we have now been in Bonaire almost a week and we have just passed the halfway point in the trip. It is not like we have left the sun and America isn't going to be cold but I am already wondering how we can squeeze in some more sea and sun at the end before we fly home. It is so hot, the water is so clear and it's very much island life for us here in the Caribbean...continued below
We can't write about Curacao without a mention of our trip here. Travelling on the day we did meant that we had to fly through Venezuela to get to Curacao from Panama City. That or Columbia which was a lot more travelling. At the time we booked there was a lot of general unrest in Venezuela but nothing in Valencia where we flew through or any warnings to not go.... continued below
Travelling and eating through new countries is something we love. Strangely enough trying completely new foods isn't top of our children's list. Their favourite food if they get to choose is probably pizza (and pretty much only Hawaiian) or hamburgers with chips. Though when I think about it, as much as I love trying new cuisines I am also quite particular about what I do and don't like...continued below
I can already look back at our photos from Costa Rica and Panama and feel nostalgic. We are having such an amazing adventure and I am really glad we made the decisions we did to be able to do this. At the time it made me feel very uncertain and unsettled. Probably because of the huge amount of unknown, leaving all the things we put in place to feel settled and secure. Literally once we were through NZ customs though it felt strangely liberating and there was nothing we could do, we were on our way! If we had forgotten anything we'd have to buy it. If something went wrong we'd have to fix it. So far the only thing we have really had to buy is an extra t-shirt for Rob and a sun hat for Olivia. We also wish we had brought Rob's SLR Camera. iPhones are great but we are seeing such amazing things that it would have been so worth better capturing...continued below
On August 4th we packed up at Bocas and flew to Panama City. This was a complete transport contest to getting to Bocas. Instead we got to catch a taxi into the airport that is literally in town, check in (walk back the 500 meters to Bocas town to grab some breakfast/coffee) and then fly straight into an airport in Panama City that was 10 minutes drive to our hotel. I could imagine living in Panama and flying to places like Bocas so easily for a weekend. Our first stop after checking in was a visit to the large new shopping mall filled with brands from Zara to Hermes. I indulged in a few new t-shirts from the first of these two, Day two though it was straight up and to the Miroflores lock to see the amazing Panama Canal in action. It was unbelievably impressive and it was nice to think that 70 odd years ago by grand parents went through on their way from the UK to NZ...continued below
Touch down Panama. A new month and a new country. Each time we move places it is often a mammoth effort. We have packed light to try and make that part easy, but the simple process of getting to and from somewhere, especially with a border crossing thrown in, is tiring no matter what. Our taxi, taxi, border crossing, taxi, boat, and final taxi to get to Bocas was worth it. It certainly felt like we had hit the Caribbean with its dirt roads, chilled people and water outlook from everywhere. We had heard Bocas del Toro was a bit dodgy and the hotel reviews we had read in NZ made me think it was sketchy.... continued below