ChristchurchFebruary 23 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C
We returned the camper to Britz this afternoon and are back with Gina, Paul and Ellie. We aim to acquaint ourselves with the city and its surrounds in the next few days. The Cliffords' drinks fridge was packed full of NZ Sauvignon (they call it sav here) and beers, so we are clearly in for some fun times!!!! Our first afternoon/evening was spent in the garden enjoying some of the contents of the fridge!!!! It all turned quite silly when Paul played ABBA music and there was lots of singing along and dancing!!!! Shocking!!!!
On Sunday we had a lazy morning then P and G took us for a motor tour of the city and its environs. There remains much rebuilding work to do but a very modern city is emerging.
We had a walk along Sumner Beach to cafe then back to pick up Ellie who had been on a surfing weekend.
On Monday we walked into the city (in some rain) and enrolled on the 2.5 hour walking tour. Our guide was Ellen (pronounced Illun) who highlighted some things in the museum then took us off round the city - telling us where things used to be and how the city is to be redeveloped. It was an interesting tour. The cathedral sustained major damage and the great and the good have not yet managed to agree how to fix it so it stands in the centre of the city pretty much in the state it was in after the last major quake. Apparently they asked the locals to choose how they wanted it fixed and have ignored the result - chosing an option instead that the locals rejected. We were taken to the new cardboard cathedral, so called because many of the main supports have been clad with very thick and strong tubes of cardboard. Apparently it should last 90 years, by which time they are hopeful that the original badly damaged cathedral will have been rebuilt!!!! Behind the cardboard cathedral there is an outdoor exhibition comprising 185 chairs to represent the people killed in the earthquake. Included in the 185 was a white baby seat (apparently a small baby was one of the victims) and a wheelchair. As it had just been the 8 year anniversary of the event each of the chairs had a red flower attached to it. Next to the exhibition was a list of the 185 victims!! SOO moving. During the rest of the tour we saw many buildings that have been rebuilt since 2011, all very smart and many with tasteful artwork adorning the sides.
By the end of the tour the sun was shining.
Tuesday saw us borrow Gina's car and we took off to the Banks Peninsular, an area where two ancient volcanoes provide an interesting landscape. Its main town is Akaroa the place where the French first landed on the Island. A very nice spot bathed in sunshine. The drive to it was spectacular via the Summit Road which hugs the top of the Volcano rim giving great views either side into the valleys and sea inlets. We had lunch in the sunbathed gardens of a small restaurant. Karen enjoyed green lipped mussels cooked in cider, onion and Crete France sauce- the best ever!!!!
On our last full day in Christchurch we walked back into the city to see some exhibitions. The Antarctic exploration section in the Museum was interesting. The art galley had a mix of ancient and modern. We visited the Quake exhibition which was very interesting and moving, particularly watching a video listening to people who experienced the event. All had horrific stories to tell. We then took in Botanical Gardens and Hagley Park prior to our return to base. The photos in the Quake exhibition showed the devastation caused by the second quake of May 22nd 2011 and we could see that approximately 80% of the city centre has needed to be demolished.
In the evening we all went to Costas Taverna for a meal which was delicious. Such a choice of cocktails - it was hard to decide what to have.Read more