Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Queenstown, NZ & Kristin's Wedding

Saturday, May 7
South Island

We slept a glorious 14 hours without interruption - FOURTEEN! And being that we went to bed at the same time as your grandparents the night before, we were up early and ready for the day.

Good morning, Queenstown - the view from our room by Lake Wakatipu.


First stop, the Saturday Artist Market downtown to get a taste of Queenstown before the wedding that afternoon.


Across the street from our hotel, looking left...



...and looking right.



The walk to town and the market.


Local artists set up by the wharf every Saturday to sell their wares, and I'm a sucker for local artists. Across the tables were hand-painted Maori designs, flattened beer bottle clocks, pottery, jewelry, and knitwear. There was even a man with his guitar nearby to add music to our shopping experience.



The Hat Lady

She said this one brought out my eyes.



We walked around by the water for a while, soaking up the early day sunshine and beautiful view of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables, the mountain range beyond.


Across from the wharf, we wandered into a park where frisbee golf is a serious sport, and trees from around the world have been planted to create a multicultural collection.

A big tree and me :)







The colors were astonishing as we ambled along the pathways, over tiny bridges and hills rising above the lake.  It was a beautifully calm way to begin the day.  Next stop: Kristin and Matt's wedding!




Although a missed email about changing ceremony times made for a slightly late arrival, we got there in time to watch Kristin and Matt take their vows inside a gorgeous little chapel atop a hill at the Stoneridge Estate.  The ceremony was short and sweet, then it was time for pictures before the rain swept in.

Matt, mother of the bride, and Kristin

Luckily there were drinks and hors d'oeuvres awaiting us inside, alongside stone fireplaces and beneath  exposed-beam ceilings - it was all very romantic. Matt's family comes from Auckland, and there were a bunch of them there for the big day, all wonderfully friendly and welcoming to the handful of Americans that made the trip. By the end of the night, we'd managed to not only make tentative dinner plans with one set of cousins once in Auckland at the end of our trip, but plans to get together while in Edinburgh in August with another pair who happens to currently live there. 
The food was fabulous, the company even better, and it was cool to be at the wedding of the girl who once dyed her hair green and wore green eyeliner for lipstick, the same girl who introduced me to punk music and threw me a surprise party for my seventeenth birthday.  









I met Kristin in the 9th grade at St. Petersburg High School. I was insecure and shy, and she was not.  Kristin had a strong sense of self then, and in her life has done it all for herself. She's the only person I've ever known who could just decide to go somewhere and make it happen. Florida to New York?  No problem. New York to Australia?  Sure! How about New Zealand, with a couple stints working in Antarctica? Why not! And now here she was, marrying the man of her dreams, a Kiwi, in his homeland and starting on the next chapter of life.  

It was a fantastic way to end our first real day in Queenstown, and an even better way to kick off our trip. What could be better than celebrating with an old friend and her new, great family.




Thanks for the good time, Wilson family!


  



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