Recent photos from our garden in NZ and our trip to Auckland

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Auckland is our favorite city in NZ to enjoy an urban break from our rural retreat.
We go there to catch up on movies, classical concerts, dine in great restaurants, sit in cafes, shop and watch people…

We have our list of favorite hotels in Auckland that are located in the city center, and offer comfortable, clean, and somewhat luxurious rooms.
During many of our city breaks in Auckland, we have stayed in the Sky City Grand hotel, but we had never visited the casino located up in the tower of the Sky City needle building.

This time, when our friendly hotel receptionist presented us with free coupons for the casino, we decided to cross the street and check the casino for the first time.

We are no gamblers.
Since we worked and earned everything we have, we do NOT enjoy losing money….
personally, I also do not understand what there is to enjoy by placing a bet, or gambling on roulette or a blackjack game.

Still, we ventured into the casino, and found it totally packed with people.

It was clean and fresh smelling, not smoky or musty at all, but still it felt unwholesome to us.
People were sitting in front of the slot machines, pushing the buttons as if they were in a trance.
Oh… The illusory god of Mammon…….The god of money is a small god indeed, and those who worship it, or submit to its temptations, will never find contentment or know real joy….

We played roulette with our free coupons and Jules won fifteen dollars.
I lost every bet I made… I guess I am NOT so good at guessing…

This casino draws many Asian people, and so the Asian-Chinese food in the Casino restaurants is of high quality.

We ate a late meal at the noodle bar, and it was REALLY good and fresh.
Although…. The Soya chicken category on the menu was not actually Soy Chicken, made of soy protein to taste like chicken, but real chicken marinated in honey and soy sauce….. Bummer…..Go figure…

I highly recommend the Depot restaurant, which won the Best of Auckland award.
We went there for lunch trying to figure out why they won the best award, and we tasted five of their small vegetarian plates. (the menu is NOT vegetarian, but we could find plenty to eat there)

All the dishes we had were finger-licking good.
It is a great place to dine with a simple, but cool contemporary design.
They use high quality, fresh produce and prepare the food to perfection.
The service is very professional and efficient as well.
It is not a romantic place with tablecloths and candles, it is fairly bare in an attractive and practical no-nonsense way.
The tables are high and the chairs are made of native wood that look like heavy butcher blocks and are the size of bar stools
I really enjoyed this place.

We had the zucchini (courgettes) flowers with pine nuts and goat cheese,
The sweet potatoes roasted with honey, herbs and lemon zest,
The marinated beets with herbs, feta and lemon,
The green tomato on ciabatta bread,
And the delicious Brussels Sprouts with crunchy nuts.

I am adding some photos of some of the flowers growing in our garden this season, and some photos that I took on our drive to Auckland and in the city.

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