After our first night’s sleep in Christchurch, Dan and I returned Fran1. That experience was awful in of itself. Long story short, I was accosted by the employee which resulted in me crying in the parking lot and later complaining to the company. But… let’s move on from that…
Christchurch is a lovely city. It is currently in its “rebuild stage” after the 2010-2011 earthquakes that devastated the city. Although it is a very tragic story that haunts every corner of this area, the rebuild is a lovely thing to witness. There is constantly new things popping up; restaurants with neat themes and bars with cool concepts, shops in shipping containers, and vibrant street art filling the walls around town.
The location is pretty prime, too. It’s only a few hours from Queenstown, Milford Sound and Kaikoura (which Dan and I are excited to visit), it has a few safe beaches for surfing and swimming and skiable mountains are only an hour away!
Yeah. We’re living here.
Dan and I got groceries and some movies to occupy our time on Christmas. New Zealand takes their holidays pretty seriously and we knew everything would be closed for a few days. However, we did manage to explore a little…
Christmas Eve, December 23rd for all of you, we walked downtown for some light kayaking in the Avon River.
It was a nice, sunny day as we cruised through the city. Avon River is really neat because it flows through the city center, including the Botanic Gardens.
We paddled under bridges and laughed as the ducks dipped under, leaving their feathered bottoms in the air.
After kayaking, we walked around the Botanic Garden and enjoyed the scenery of ponds, large trees, and odd flowers.
The Canterbury Museum is located directly next to the Botanic Gardens, so we decided to pop our heads in there and see what it was all about.
The museum was very odd. There wasn’t a natural “flow” to it; we awkwardly walked around, discovering the random exhibits. However, we enjoyed it! There were maybe two exhibits that were too strange to enjoy, but for the most part, it was a nice museum to explore. Plus, it was free!
Christmas was wonderful. We Skyped with family and friends, watched too many movies and ate a wonderful steak dinner. The beef was packaged on the 24th. It was so tender and fresh… mmmm!
This was actually really cool! One of the reasons I like Christchurch; it embraces street art, and even celebrates it.
After walking through this crazy piece, Dan and I entered a dark room with pieces of art that towered above us. Adjacent to the artwork, giant spray cans stood against the wall that represented the artists.
We were in awe.
What a magnificent exhibit!
Once finished at the YMCA, we walked to the Cathedral Square. This is the center of Christchurch where a large, brick cathedral barely stands. It was severely damaged by the earthquakes.
The cathedral is surrounded by a fence and warning signs as well at this beautiful garden entry for visitors to view the damaged building.
Inside are hopeful messages that read: “Stay strong ChCh”
In this area is a cage of river stones with messages. Typically, these stones tell travelers tips or complain about too much foot traffic. However these stones represented the ebb and flow of the city; no matter what Mother Nature destroys, the city will adapt and remain strong in togetherness. The stones read similar hopeful messages and also listed names of the deceased.
You can just feel the energy there. It’s unreal.
Near the Cathedral Square is the Cardboard Cathedral.
“It doesn’t look like it’s made from cardboard…” Dan mutters as we approach the church.
Bursting in laughter, I say, “It’s not literally made out of cardboard!”
The cathedral was okay. I was expecting a bit more from it. But, it is a tourist site and I’m glad we visited it.
The following days have been spent researching all sorts of boring things. It’s time for us to find a home and a job and yadda yadda..blah blah.
I’ll update when another adventure occurs. Or maybe we get some cool, new news!
1 Fran is the name of our box car. He was some sort of very old Nissan that was a gold-trying-to-be-beige and a brown-trying-to-be-grey color. He was beat up and falling apart and didn’t like going up hills. He didn’t include a manual or any sort of information to prove he wasn’t an employee’s vehicle. He was our goofy, grumpy, old man car.