The best tour of the trip so far, by a long way, was the day of sailing around the Bay of Islands on Te Kaihau. It was run by Tom, who owns the trimaran. The tour is brilliantly laid-back, stuffed with interesting things to do (snorkelling, helping set the sails, mussel fishing (collection? musselling?)) without feeling regimented in the least. Sitting/lying around on the deck was also fully acceptable, and we did a lot of that. Out in the bay we had grandstand views of the gorgeous scenery and a few interesting historical spots, including Captain Cook’s first landing point
Another delicious lunch at another beautiful Hawke’s Bay winery. Oysters, fried pork belly, lamb rump, beef fillet, hay ice-cream with rhubarb and white chocolate, deconstructed lemon meringue pie, all washed down with Craggy Ridge’s finest wines.
A decadent lunch at the Mission Estate winery in Hawke’s Bay
Lunch at Nahm in Bangkok: blue swimmer crab, peanuts, and pickled garlic on rice cakes prawn and coconut wafers with pickled ginger salted beef jungle curry with chilli and ginger stir-fried pork with dried shrimp and apple eggplant oyster mushrooms stir fried with blue swimmer crab and oyster sauce dessert duo of rambutan sorbet and mango and coconut cream crisp The whole meal was delightful, and the dessert was hands-down the best we had in Asia.
Because what is the point of going on holiday if you can’t eat a banana split at 11 am while you watch the world go by?
We discovered there was a Michelin-starred restaurant in a back alley about 300m from our hotel in Osaka. The basic setup: after a few starters, they brought us different deep fried bites of deliciousness until we finally (reluctantly) told them we could eat no more. Then they brought us cold udon noodles for dessert.
Hiroshima is famous for its oysters, but here’s a pro tip: If you have ¥15000, and you spend ¥3800 on ferry rides and another ¥3800 on cable car fares, you shouldn’t *also* splurge on an ¥8000 oysters-and-champagne lunch at a cash-only restaurant. This is especially true if you have taken the ferry to a small island without ATMs. (But the oysters were totally worth it, and we managed to scare up enough loose coins to not be completely embarrassed.)