Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Day I Fell In Love With New Zealand

Today, I officially fell in love with New Zealand.

I obviously have been fascinated by the country for a long time, but it wasn't until today that I really experienced how fabulous it is. I'm not sure I can really put it into words. Be sure to check out my flickr to see some of my photos. Be warned though, those pictures just don't even begin to cover it all.

Billy and I were unfortunately separated from Julie and Danny this morning, and ended up taking a ferry by ourselves from Wellington (North Island) to Picton on the South Island. We got to watch the sunrise up on the observation deck, but both of us began to feel a little seasick, so we mostly hid out inside.

But once we landed, we boarded a 5+ hour train from Picton to Christchurch. I groaned at the thought of more traveling, but little did I know that this train would be my favorite part of the trip so far. Apparently this train is mostly for tourists, although everyone on board certainly seemed like a Kiwi to me. But anyway, it goes along this absolutely gorgeous route through mountains and farmland. For about 100 km (according to the extremely jolly lady on the intercom), we rode right between ocean and mountains. So out of the left window, there were gigantic Lord of the Rings-esque mountains as far as the eye could see, and out the right window, waves splashed up among the rocks on the beach. It was absolutely breathtaking. There was even an open air car perfect for taking pictures. The wind whipped through my hair and tangled just about every single strand, but it was worth it. If it hadn't gotten so cold, I would have ridden out in the open the whole way to Christchurch.

Then, we met up with Julie and Danny again and went to an All Blacks game. I'd never seen rugby before, but it seemed like an interesting version of football. New Zealanders make you feel so welcome immediately that I feel like the All Blacks are my team already.  They destroyed Italy, 27 to 6. I was proud of my new comrades.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this country is the people themselves. Everyone is so ridiculously friendly, from the train luggage guy who told me he could see why I was dating Billy, to the lady on the intercom on our train who spent about five minutes explaining how "getting your hand shut in the door would make you say more than just 'ouchie!'" They are so laidback and welcoming that I feel like I belong after just a few days. Not to mention, everything is so green and earth-friendly, they put America to shame. And as if all that is not enough, the accents are awesome. What more could you want?

I need to come back here some day, since clearly two weeks is just not going to be enough to satisfy my desire for New Zealand.


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