This was a (mostly) fun week! The weather wasn’t the best last weekend so we had to make up for it this week. We started on Monday by making the short drive to Mission Bay Beach. This is apparently a very popular beach but even on a sunny afternoon it was fairly easy to find parking there. They seem to have a different definition of “busy” here (at least when it comes to beaches). Several times we’ve had people mention to us how crowded a beach is that would be considered strangely quiet in the U.S. There’s just a lot more coastline per capita here I guess. Speaking of amazing beaches, we visited two more over the weekend. Michael and I made the two-hour drive on Friday to the Coromandel Peninsula where we went to Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove. We stayed at the coolest hostel; it was right across the street from the ocean, covered with colorful murals, had flat screen TVs in every set of dorms, and free use of kayaks. Friday evening we went to Hot Water Beach where you can (supposedly) dig a hole in the sand two hours before and after low tide and the hole will fill with hot water from a hot spring located right under the beach. Well, Cyclone Pam was on her way so the ocean quite rough. Wave after wave washed in all the way up to the hot spots, even during low tide. We did get to bury our feet in the (burning) hot sand, but any hole Michael dug was almost immediately washed away. Oh well, it was fun and we’ll go back another time. Back when we were still living in Fort Collins (you know, like two months ago), someone (I wish I could remember who) told me to go to Cathedral Cove. Lucky for us, Cathedral Cove is about ten minutes from Hot Water Beach so we went there the next day. Let me tell you, it was absolutely one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to. Warm, turquoise water, smooth sand, white cliffs, and, though there were other people there, it didn’t feel at all crowded. In fact, it’s so magical that you might recognize it from one of The Chronicles of Narnia movies. You might be asking, “What’s the catch?” Well, I’m so glad you asked! It’s a 40-minute “walk” into a valley then back up the other side then down to the beach. After playing in the waves and totally wearing yourself out, you have to make the mostly uphill trek back to the car! And don’t forget about the kamikaze bees flying into your flip-flops (OK, so it was just one bee, but ouch)! All in all, it was totally worth it. We’ve already decided that this will be one of the trips we make when people come to visit. Unfortunately it wasn’t all beaches and sunshine this week, on Friday we got the news that Michael’s grandfather passed away. That’s been very sad for us, especially being so far away from everyone. We did make the trip to Chicago to visit him in January though, so we’re both very thankful for that. There will be more pictures of this weekend's excursion on my facebook page soon: just click here.