Starting at the beginning...who knows how long this could end up being! I am definitely going to do more than one post.
We left the house on Saturday morning (around 7:00, I think) and hung around the Qantas member's lounge until our flight at 8:50. I'd never been in one of the airline lounges before, and it was quite an experience. There was a hot breakfast buffet, espresso, and just about any alcohol you could want, as well as high-speed internet access. I could really get into travelling that way.
We got into Christchurch, NZ around 1:00 their time, and found rooms at the Croyden House B&B. It was comfortable, clean, WARM (electric blankets on the beds, heated towel racks...my kind of place!), and the house itself was lovely.
We did some walking around, looking at various art galleries, and visiting an open market near the cathedral. We got lunch at the market; fresh cheese crepes for Anne-Nicole and me, and a big old sausage for Uncle Sean. After we had finished lunch and done some more walking we visited the cathedral. Despite the modern paraphanelia scattered throughout, it was a very reverent space. There were some beautiful carved panels throughout the church, and the stained glass was lovely.
We went back to the Croyden House for a while, and sat in the parlour, drinking their complimentary sherry. After we had rested for a while, we set out in search of dinner. We ended up at a small Thai/Laotian restaurant. We had a delicious dinner, followed by dessert- fried bananas on "hokey-pokey" ice-cream. Hokey-Pokey is a New Zealand thing. They just don't sell it anywhere else. (I'm very nearly addicted to it...but don't worry. I got the recipe!) If you think that sounds revoltingly sweet, you're almost right. But it was delicious.
The streets were almost deserted later Saturday evening, because of the big rugby match going on, involving the Christchurch Crusaders. Everyone else was somewhere with a TV (and beer.) We decided to go act like locals and catch the end of the game at one of the pubs on the main drag. It wasn't a very pubby-pub. There wasn't any smoke in the room, it was very quiet (for a room full of rugby fans), and the decor was sophisticated. But the Monteith's beer was very good. :o)