Time MARCHes On With Our Latest Top 10 Moments
by Noelle and Dave
It was a month packed with new adventures, from some of our favorite stops in New Zealand to our whirlwind start in South America. It was nearly impossible to pick our favorites this month, but alas, the show must go on. Check out our top moments from March:
10. I’ll call this our “day of views.” We fell asleep near Lake Tekapo under a “dark sky reserve,” which basically means the stars are un-freaking-believably vibrant and visible. We took our morning coffee at the top of Mt. John Observatory overlooking the southern alps and then later enjoyed an afternoon beer at Hilltop Tavern before making our way down into Akaroa. I don’t think another day on this trip will rival the visual memories made that day in New Zealand.
9. Although I complained through the first 15 minutes (insisting the hike was presented as a “pleasant stroll” by my dear husband), the strenuous Queenstown Hill hike was a can’t-miss. The views from the top overlooking New Zealand’s adventure capital were a sight to behold. From the snow-streaked mountains to the crystal clear lake waters, I was in awe.
8. Our evening spent “learning tango” in Buenos Aires (and more importantly, watching others who can actually tango) was so, so fun! The sexy vibe and incredible music made for a night full of flavor.
7. Delicious red meat. Everywhere. And yes, I gave Argentinean steak it’s own spot. Because IT IS SO AMAZING.
6. The Valparaiso cooking class we took with Caitlin and Jeff was a highlight of the month not only due to the new culinary skills we obtained, but for the delicious end product: empanadas, ceviche, corn pie and drunken pear dessert…all made by yours trulys. We left vowing to cook Chilean food asap when we got home.
5. Our 36-hour layover in San Francisco during our cross-continent flights resulted in a major March highlight – time with my dad! We had an incredible seafood dinner on the water, strolled to Ghirardelli for dessert and spent the evening catching up. Being away from my family for so long has not been easy for me, so his hugs reenergized me for the last part of our adventure.
4. The majestic Milford Sound – a MUST on any New Zealand visit. The sheer beauty of being on the fjord made it a morning I won’t soon forget.
3. My first Caitlin sighting was enough to raise my heart rate to an unhealthy level. Then, that evening, we dined on cheese, meats, baguettes and excellent wine in the backyard of our B&B and got the best gift of all…they asked Dave to officiate their wedding! I can’t wait to be standing beside Caitlin and watching my love marry two of my favorite people!
2. We spent our last day in Mendoza riding through the Andes abreast our new friends, Maria and Gus. Our scenic horseback ride and delicious asado (BBQ) gave us the taste of Mendoza we were happy to end on.
1. I know this is a cop out, but the visit from Caitlin & Jeff held too many highlights to count separately. From our day of wine tasting to our lunch at Caserena to our empanada and beer breakfast on our balcony in Valparaiso, their visit was a “vacation” we’ll never forget…and plan to recreate as often as possible in the future!
10. Our unexpected audible to Uruguay. Far from the most exciting or stunning place we’ve visited, Colonia was a charming little town perfect for a quick visit before we headed north. These sorts of unexpected decisions and developments are one of the things I’ll miss most once this trip meets its end in May.
9. The underrated beer mecca that is New Zealand had one last hurrah in store for us. The wide range of beers on tap at Pomeroy in Christchurch had us in hop heaven, but the Three Boys Hop Baron (combined with the unreal view from Hilltop Tavern in Akaroa) may have been the best of all.
8. Our quick layover in San Francisco whet our appetite for our upcoming return to the States, and came with the added bonus of a special cameo from Papa O. Filled with amazing meals and some touring around the city, this provided the recharge we needed for the final leg of our trip.
7. Wine tasting around Mendoza. The biking proved to be more of an adventure than we would have hoped, but once the sweat (kinda) dried I couldn’t help but love the amazing sips around almost every corner of this world-famous wine region.
6. Mendoza meals with Jeff and Caitlin. Our lunch at Casarena began with a champagne welcome before we were treated to a tasting menu that includes sushi and steak (among other treats) all while gazing at vineyards that seemed to stretch off for ages until they quickly meet an end at the base of the awe-inspiring Andes, making for a memorable meal. And then there’s our dinner at Siete Cocinas, which still practically makes me drool just thinking about it. Unforgettably amazing food in an amazing place. I’d say we cleaned up nicely for the Immelways.
5. You can only go on about the views and scenery around New Zealand for so long – and we’ve done plenty of it – but we combined two of the best experiences into one day when we cruised around Milford Sound in the morning and trekked up atop Queenstown Hill in the afternoon. If one day can encapsulate the range of scenery in such close proximity around New Zealand, this was it.
4. The red meat diet we followed throughout Argentina. I mean, you’re not gonna not binge on red meat when you’re there. Whether it was the bife de chorizo in Buenos Aires, the previously mentioned cuts of meat after our horseback riding or the countless other steaks we tucked into around the country, we left feeling like we did it right. That, and like our arteries were begging for a break.
3. Horseback riding in the foothills of the Andes just outside Mendoza. Our one and only experience this year on horseback was a good one. After a couple hours’ ride, we were treated to what seemed like endless amounts of red meat and red wine and met some great people along the way.
2. Exploring Valparaiso by foot and by food. The combination of color, grit, ocean views and delicious food on offer around this port city makes it hard to not have a borderline obsessive level of interest. Empanadas, ceviches and even some good ol’ homemade guacamole courtesy of Señor Immel left us stuffed and satisfied in between the constant hill climbs and neighborhood strolls around the city. Add to that a full day’s cooking class with fresh ingredients from the local market, and you can see why we loved this place.
1. Everything about Jeff and Caitlin’s visit in general. As I’m sure is apparent from the multiple appearances they made on this list, we enjoyed our time throughout Chile and Argentina with these two. From the quick stop in Santiago (where, oh by the way, THEY ASKED ME TO OFFICIATE THEIR WEDDING!) and onward to the amazing food, wine and walking around Valparaiso and Mendoza, their nine days with us will always stand out as a highlight of the entire year, making this an easy choice for the best part of March.