It has been a VERY long while since I last wrote – apologies. I’ve been working a lot and travelling – for both business and pleasure, so it’s good to be home for a little bit (mind you, I’m off again in a couple of days).
So. Let’s begin with the holiday. Back in mid-August one of my closest friends and I decided to get away for a holiday as well to celebrate her finishing her degree, yay! Our destination: the youngest country in the world: New Zealand. Our first stop was Christchurch.
Unfortunately, it was a bad start to the holiday. Due to the earthquake in Wellington the day before, our flight had been delayed by 5 hours. We didn’t get into Christchurch until 7pm so we missed half a day of potential adventures (it was cold and rainy – most of the time we were there). Since we were late, we couldn’t pick up our car (caught a bus to pick it up the next morning). But no matter – we were determined to head out and see what was around us.
Christchurch for us was more of a stepping stone to visit other beautiful and somewhat smaller cities around Canterbury. We ate lots; walked and drove around; and we did get to see a lot of the city. The people were great and the weather was wet and cold. We had fantastic internet and a car with a full tank – we were ready to go anywhere.
We stayed in a small serviced room/apartment close to the city centre – I mean the deserted city centre. Most of the city buildings were deserted and closed off as they were considered unsafe for use. It’s a bit sad to see, but it’s true. One of the most beautiful buildings in the city that was destroyed was the Christchurch Cathedral. From the photos you can see that there was a lot of damage done to it. The community has clearly worked together to maintain the spirit – you know what I mean.
There is a lot of work going on to try and make the city as lively again as it used to be. Kids art work on the street, gardens and flowers grown on walls, and collections of motivational messages from fellow citizens around the streets. From memory, different schools participated and submitted art. They’ve also got a giant chess set for the public to use. You can tell that the community continues to work hard to get back on their feet, even if it has taken a long time to do some of these things. The important thing is that they haven’t given up.
Another section of town where a lot of work has been done is Cashel Street Mall – Container City. I’m sure most of you have heard about this – it’s where shipping containers have been modified to be used as actual shops, coffee shops and bathrooms etc. to represent a shopping mall. It’s very smart and efficient. Such a great place for shopping! We never actually got to buy anything, as we were usually there very early (for breakfast at the coffee shop) or too late after a day’s trip.