Blow Me Down

28991007921_95b56415fc_o.jpg

Taking Canadian Grandad’s truck for a spin

Canadian Grandpa drove down to meet us in Corner Brook. Like a true Canadian he thought nothing of driving from Alberta to Newfoundland (NFLD) for this. This is a FOUR DAY drive (or a 5 day drive if you are not rushing to meet your Grandson for the first time).

Cory and I have had this conversation many times. For a Canadian like him a 8 hour drive to another city for a concert is normal. For a Brit like myself I can’t help but think that I could fly to Turkey from England for the same amount of time…

Corner Brook is just a short (even for me) drive from Gross Morne National Park. Truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I’ll throw some wikipedia links in here for anyone who wants the historical breakdown of the area but I can tell you it has some of the most breathtaking scenery I have ever seen. Driving through the area you flit between vast lakes, endless rolling hills of evergreen trees, tiny port villages with little more than a village store and a bar, landscape which would not look out of place on Mars and white sand beaches nestled in-between.
I could quite happily explore the area for the entire summer and not tire of it.

Our first dip into Gross Morne was just a drive through and our first proper adventure in NFLD was to a provincial park with an epic name ‘Blow Me Down’, yes, really.
We drove through ‘Blow Me Down’ and headed to Lark Harbor to skim some rocks and for Buddy to put his feet in some real Canadian salt water.

Once Buddy had finished playing on the beach and had succeeded in drenching Canadian Grandpa in seawater we began the hike up to the top of a cliff for the view. We were supposed to count the steps for blog purposes but Cory and I forgot and Buddy cannot count yet, plus he fell asleep half way up the cliff.

We were rewarded for our climb by some stunning panoramic views of the area and some tiny port towns in the distance. Buddy, slept through it all (I am starting to sense a theme already with Buddy sleeping through epic views).

We have recently been asked about Buddy’s traveling arrangements as many people have noticed that Buddy rarely travels via strollerベビーカー/pushchair/pram or whatever you want to call it. Cory & I are proud ‘baby wearers’ we have a selection of slings and carriers which I will (at your request) write about and review in the coming weeks.

Advertisements

TBT – That time we found out what pineapple means.

That time we found out what pineapple means

So, Buddy is only 11 months old which means we definitely cannot include him in every single Throw Back Thursday! So, this is a throwback to when Cory and I were dating and had only just started trying to get pregnant and flew south to Okinawa one Spring Break.

Okinawa is home to tropical beaches, delicious food, an aquarium with whale sharks and, most importantly, Pineapple Land.

Pineapple Land is indeed as amazing as it sounds.

Firstly, have you seen baby pineapples? They are just really super cute.

Secondly, you go around pineapple land in a tiny, pineapple shaped car.

I mean, what could be better.

Well, I will tell you what is better. The audio guide. I was forewarned about this amazing audio guide by a good friend of mine and was incredibly excited for Cory to learn the origin of the word pineapple from a robotic voice with a strange strained accent.

So, do you know where the name pineapple comes from? It comes from the words ‘pine’ and ‘apple’. Amazing, right?

Yes, Pineapple land felt that not everyone would make this connection so added this fact into their audio guide. Genius!

After alighting your pineapple car you are then treated to an epic gift shop with all you can eat (although Cory still insists it was not ‘eat as much as you can’ as I interpreted it), free tasters of delights such as pineapple wine (thank goodness I was not pregnant by then!), pineapple cake, pineapple chocolate, pineapple bread and many more pineapple delights.

In summary, pineapple place is possible the best place in Okinawa, if not Japan.

Unless you don’t like pineapple, then maybe visit Fruit Land which is just down the road (really).

A change of plan & How to Fly with a Baby

 

28871787216_e995980e83_o

Once we left Vancouver our plans had changed slightly (I am starting to think this might be a common theme of this trip) and we flew to Deer Lake, Newfoundland via Halifax, Nova Scotia. Yes, yet another flight with a baby.

Side note – Halifax Airport, sort your baby nursing room out. I do not want to feed my baby opposite a toilet and underneath a hazardous waste box.

28297135324_94188ac915_o

The ‘luxury’ feeding room in Halifax airport

Unfotuntaley Cory & I are pretty strict with car seats (yes, I know taxi’s are exempt from using them but babies are not exempt from dying should they crash…) and not a single taxi firm in Vancouver supplies infant car seats (PLEASE let me know if I am incorrect and you know of a taxi firm which does indeed have infant car seats available. Or, any aspiring entroupeners, this could be an idea for a nice little business). So, anyway, Buddy and I went to the airport via train and Cory and our luggage went via Taxi. The WestJet check in staff were brilliant and helped us shuffle our luggage/life about and waved us in even though we were a ‘little’ overweight.

The flight was uneventful and Buddy did his usual flight routine.

1. Wave to everyone as he boards the plane.

2.  Choose one person and wave to them constantly.

3. Announce to everyone on the plane that he is there. He will do this through more waving, shouting, screaming and singing.

– At this point the people around him will start sigh, hang their heads and ask the air stewards if they can sit somewhere else. But, fear not…

4. During take off Buddy breastfeeds.

5. Buddy sleeps for the ENTIRE FLIGHT, EVERY FLIGHT.

I kid you not, Buddy is 10 months and has been on 10 flights, the majority being long international flights and he has slept through them all. Sure, he wakes up and has a snack occasionally but then generally he falls straight back to sleep.

I am afraid we cannot advise on how to make this happen, but, he sleeps!

 

 

TBT – That time we climbed a mountain with a baby

Throw Back Thursday –

That time we climbed a mountain with a baby

We were lucky enough to live in a town with a mountain, Mt. Tsukuba, which is fairly accessible and an easy little hike. However, with a 2 week old and a mama recovering from birthing aforementioned baby, we decided to take the cable car and head to the top. The British Grandparents were visiting at the time so between the four adults we had a successful first mountain trip for Buddy.

The drive up to the cable car is pretty enough and Buddy coped well with the twists and turns of the mountain road. British Grandma however did not cope as well and needed time to recover before heading to the top of the mountain. We found the restaurant/gift store and were incredibly lucky to catch the beginning of a magician show so sat down to watch it.

It turned out to be the worst magician in the world. So bad that it was fantastic and we throughly enjoyed every second of it. Especially the part where the children watching revealed all of the magicians secrets and the part where the magician forgot how to do a trick mid way through so just pretended it was over….

While watching the show, the oldest lady on the entire mountain came to offer us ‘かき’ or persimmon. She delighted in the fact she had offered the foreign family persimmon and spent a long time telling us how to eat it. FYI: bite, chew, swallow……We made small talk and I told her it was my parents second trip to Japan, I had lived there 8 years, Cory 4, and Buddy was actually born in Japan. She then proceeded to welcome us to Japan for 5 minutes. Um, thanks?

The trip on the cable car was uneventful apart from the judgemental stares of people wondering if a baby so young should be on a mountain. To be honest, a 2 week old has no idea if they are on a mountain, in an aquarium, or in the middle of a mall. As long as they have 24/7 access to boobs they really don’t care.

The top of the mountain was surprisingly uneventful and we were blessed with a beautiful view of Tsukuba and the surrounding mountains but unfortunately the alleged view of Mt.Fuji was not to be seen. I am starting to be suspicious of promised views of Mt. Fuji.

The New Newfie in Newfoundland

After sleeping off our jet lag we flew across the country and ended up in Newfoundland Cory’s home province to meet Canadian Grandma for the first time!

After an obligatory turkey dinner we took our first outing in Corner Brook to Cooks point. We go there every time we are in Newfoundland for the spectacular views of the bay.
This time was the first time for us to go with a baby and this is how it went…

  • We got the bags ready to leave to house, remembered to pack diapers, snacks, drinks, spare clothes, toys, baby sunscreen, baby hat and baby hoodie (just in case).
  • We changed Buddy’s diaper.
  • A family member arrived at the house to meet Dax so we have a cup of tea and socialised for an house.
  • We put the diaper bag in the car and got ready to leave.
  • Buddy started crying and asking for milk.
  • I fed Buddy.
  • Buddy fell asleep.
  • We waited for 45minutes whilst Buddy slept.
  • Buddy woke up.
  • We changed his diaper.
  • We made it to the car and strapped Buddy into the car seat.
  • Buddy started crying so we gave in and let him watch ‘In the Night Garden’ on Cory’s phone.
  • Buddy stopped crying.
  • We arrived at Cooks point and enjoyed some spectacular views and Buddy spent 10 minutes waving at a statue….
  • Buddy started crying and asking for milk.
  • I fed Buddy.
  • Buddy fell asleep.
  • We sat at the top of Cooks point for 45 minutes whilst he slept.
  • He woke up and we could finally go home.

Needless to say it was a pretty successful trip and we shall probably go again before we leave Corner Brook.

TBT – That time we saw a really big Buddha

Throw Back Thursday-

That time we saw a really big Buddha

This particular huge Buddha has a special place in our hearts as it is where we had our first (non alcohol fuelled, karaoke driven) date. So, we often visit the Ushiku Daibutsu, or Buddha, to reminisce about when we were young and care free. So, we decided to take Buddy to the place where his parents fell in love…

The best thing about this particular Buddha is it is fricking huge, like really really tall. In fact it is the tallest Buddha in the world at 120m tall.
It is so tall that you take an elevator ride up to Buddhas shoulders and from inside you get a view of the surrounding area. Apparently on a clear day you can see Tokyo Sky Tree and Mt. Fuji. I personally think this is not totally true.

After riding the elevator and admiring the view, you are faced with the smallest, busiest gift shop with Japan’s most aggressive sales women. They will try to convince you to buy your 6month old decorative chopsticks, magnets and incredibly fragile ornaments. They will not take no for an answer and you will have to run for the elevator when it arrives to escape them.

The gardens surrounding the Ushiku Daibutsu are also a treat filled with beautiful seasonal flowers and a pond teaming with koi carp who may or may not try to pull you into the murky depth of the pond if you do not feed them enough.

But, the best kept secret hidden behind the Buddha is the secret RABBIT and CHIPMUNK garden! Yes, you read that right CHIPMUNK GARDEN. In the Chipmunk garden you can wear an oven mitt and feed sunflower seeds to them. They climb your legs, rest of your shoulders and generally terrorise you. We highly recommend stopping here for as long as possible.

After finishing the chipmunk experience Ami outlet mall is just a 5 minute drive away for all your fashion needs. However this time we were surprised to meet up with a real life Newfoundland Dog. Cory, being from Newfoundland himself was extremely excited and on talking with the dogs owners they were even more excited. I was just please that Buddy didn’t get eaten…

IMG_8574

Buddy, at 2 weeks, slept through it….

13396907_10154018668465935_1498616388_o

At 6months Buddy managed to stay awake and enjoy the sites! 

Our first airbnb adventure

28223262183_d99e833bf7_o.jpg

The view from our airbnb

Hotels and transportation, the bane of any travellers life.
They cost money and take a little too much organisation. When I backpacked around South East Asia and South America I was happy to rock up to a bus station, see where the next bus leaving went, haggle the bus driver for a discount if I sat on a plastic stall taped to the floor of the bus instead of a seat, and then sleep on the beach when I got there….However, as a responsible adult with a baby in tow it is imperative that we are organised. So, transportation and accommodation booked in advance it is!

However, you don’t have to stay at the hilton or a holiday inn all of the time, you can still have a bit of adventure and we found that adventure through airbnb.
Airbnb basically means paying to stay in someones spare room, or empty house. In expensive cities like Vancouver this is especially useful for both guest and hosts as other accommodation is not cheap.

We took our chances and booked an airbnb in New Westminster. Well it turns out we hit the jackpot! Linda, our host, was lovely, the bedroom was big and airy with a comfy bed and there was a cat, squeaky who Buddy attempted to befriend but, alas, Squeaky was not interested in him at all.

Now, I know there are horror stories about airbnb’s and perhaps we were just lucky, but, I would definitely book through them again and fingers crossed get another fantastic host.
Watch this space as I am sure, knowing us, that there will be some airbnb stories to tell in the future.