We flew out to Nelson early on the middle Saturday of the holidays, with plans to catch up with our friends Judith and Hamish who moved here from Wellington four years ago. We'd first met them as we were all starry-eyed parents-to-be at antenatal classes and it's incredibly hard to believe that more than eight years have passed since then. It was fun reminiscing about the days we used to go out for walks around Kelburn together pushing strollers and finding solace in the fact we on this challenging learning curve together - especially as both our kids turned out to be somewhat tricky customers in the sleep department in those early days!
For the kids, meeting up after such a long time was just like meeting up for the first time, as they didn't remember each other, but there was an immediate rapport between Noah and Grace (who are born less than 2 weeks apart) which was so lovely to see. We hung out at their place for the morning before heading to the very well-known Jesters Café near Mapua for lunch.
Jesters Café has laid claim to the title of NZ Café of the Year and it is easy to see why with the sprawling gardens complete with giant chess set, wishing well, mini forest and old-fashioned seesaw.
But the piece de resistance here are the tame eels you can feed with meat on popsicle sticks. This was quite the experience! There were a fair few sticks getting lost into the water with eager eels chomping down too hard and children not holding sticks tight enough. We were a little worried the eels might actually try to digest them, but they were clearly old hands at this game and savvy enough to spit the sticks back out again before any harm was done. We also found it amusing that the local cat was not at all perturbed at competing with the eels to see who could get the meat off the stick quicker!
Later in the day, we went back to their place for a BBQ dinner and caught up on the past four years. We had grand plans to meet up for a cruise/walk in the Abel Tasman together the following day before they were due to head out on a family holiday to the Gold Coast. It was such a lovely welcome to Nelson!
Stay tuned for the amazing scenery in our walk and cruise in the Abel Tasman in the next post.........