Let’s try getting this one published again. I wrote it on the plane to Saudi and lost the whole post when trying to connect to WordPress in Riyadh…

Recently Nancy & I spent a delightful weekend in the Waikato. I taught in Auckland on the Friday, and in Hamilton the following week, so we decided to make a weekend of it rather than fly up and down from Wellington twice.

We left Auckland at about 5:00pm on Friday afternoon and headed for our first destination – Vilagrad Winery. The traffic was not too bad, and we reached the winery at about 7:00pm. Vilagrad is in the country south of Hamilton, in splendid isolation.

They had phoned to check on our progress as the offices close at about 5:30, and gave us instructions on where to find keys etc. this simple service gesture was really appreciated, and is indicative of the attention everyone we dealt with at Vilagrad paid to their customers.

At that point we didn’t really want to go out and find a restaurant, and we were very pleasantly surprised to find a mezze-platter dinner waiting for us in the room, along with provisions for breakfast the next morning. They also left a three-pack of the vineyard’s produce, and I heartily recommend their wines!

Relaxing with good food, good wine and a quiet evening for the two of us was exactly what we wanted from our weekend away.

Saturday morning was a leisurely occasion – we slept late, enjoyed the breakfast provisions (fresh fruit, breads with spreads, cerial, good coffee and fresh juice) and took a stroll around the vines.

We didn’t get to experience the Villegrad’s cooking, but a brief visit to the restruant and cellar door gave an impression of a really nice place to enjoy a meal. They’re open for brunch on a Sunday, and we plan to go back at some stage.

We went into Hamilton and spent a couple of hours wandering around the new Te Awa shopping centre – did a bit of shopping and got a haircut.

Saturday aftgernoon we headed out of Hamilton to Morrinsville, as we’d booked in at Oak Lane Lodge – a delightful B&B and function centre on the outskirts of town. Alan & Cath made us most welcome and we had a spent a wonderfully relaxing day and a half with them.

The lodge is a 100+ year old villa, with comfortable bedrooms, two lounges and fantastic home cooking – most of the ingredients come straight from the garden. We spent Saturday afternoon relaxing in the lounge, reading, chatting and enjoying fresh brewed coffee and homemade biscuits.

Saturday night Alan and Cath made us a delicious meal which we shared with them at the kitchen table – dressing for dinner was not required 🙂

Sunday morning we woke to the aroma of bacon and eggs being prepared by Alan, and we ate another delightful meal.

After breakfast we wandered around the garden, and were allowed to go into the averies to hand-feed the birds – they have a couple of large averies and are part of a breeding program for some native birds.

We had mentioned to Cath & Alan that we were heading to Hamilton for the week and would be self-catering, and they generously harvested the vegitable garden – heaping fresh produce on us that meant we barely had to buy food for the week. Fruit and veg straight from the garden meant we ate well the whole week. Thanks!

From Oak Lane we meandered our way back to Hamilton, had a very nice Turkish meal and checked in at the Quest on Ward.

This Quest is always welcoming and friendly, well equiped and a comfortable home-from-home for us.

We had a lovely weekend in the Waikato, thank you to everyone who made our weekend special.

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