Soooo windy overnight. At one stage we had had enough of being buffeted and rocked 'cos the wind pounding the side of the van became most uncomfortable. Ian decided to turn the van to face into the wind. Helped a little but still had trouble falling asleep. Worried about 'limbs' falling (branches to us) as we were parked almost under a tree.
Different day altogether when we finally awoke. The wind had eased and for once the morning felt positively warm. Destination, Christchurch and only 3 days left it was difficult to know what to do first. The Gondola was a must do and a trip on the 'Hop on Hop off' tram was also on the cards. First we visited the information centre. Good job too as a discount for the two excursions saved us $10 each. The tickets for both attractions could be used on any day, so we decided to do the Christchurch tram bit first.
Her Majesty the Queen rode on this tram during her visit in the 90's. I apparently sat in her seat!
It was on this tour we got to see just how much damage Christchurch had suffered. Now, I am not talking about the 2016 November quake which hit Kaikoura. Christchurch felt ground movement during that quake, more of a gentle sway then being thrown about. No, it was the biggy that hit in 2011 measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale and killing 185 people. According to the New Zealand Herald news, 80 percent of the city was damaged and the building work is still ongoing today. A staggering 1300 buildings within The Garden City's four avenues had been damaged and have since been either fully or partially demolished. Controversy over the Cathedral is ongoing as well as the 'Church' wants to completely demolish it and rebuild from scratch, whereas the townsfolk are very much against it. Consequently 6 years later the building is still as was when the quake hit. (Made safe of course)
Even after 6 years only a minimal amount of building work has started. A lot of the problem is funding. The tram operator spoke at length of how he wished the city would be rebuilt. "We need the tourists back to make money," said he. Of course, there are things to do and see, the gondola with the stunning views over the Canterbury Plain which is at Heathcote Valley which is a 20-minute drive from Christchurch, the art museum and the new 'Cardboard church' built to replace the Cathedral as place of worship. Expected lifespan of that one is around 30 years. Then there is the Hagley park and Botanical gardens and also Re: START a shopping mall that is an attraction in itself as shipping containers were brought in during October 2011 for the people to reopen the shops. The main shopping area in New Regents Street was also damaged. Prior to the 2010-2011 earthquakes shops and restaurants occupied the street, but luckily only moderate damage occurred and alterations have been made over time to some of the interiors, shopfronts and the tiling.
|New Regents Street|
|Container Mall (Love the ATM bottom right)|
|Metal statues at Container Mall|
|A midget amongst the Giant|
Two things were going for us on todays visit to Hagley Gardens. The Noodle Market was serving oriental food, Thai, Chinese, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese etc and all purchased at a very reasonable price. All we had to do was decide what to go for. Very difficult because it all looked so good. We choose Thai in the end. The Lazy Sunday all female band was also playing in the park. All very entertaining.
|Look who turned up Gandalf|
|Yep thats Ian.|
|Top left, War Memorial. Top right...Another River Avon!|
The Gondola for us tomorrow and then....well not sure. Maybe a good day for the beach. Will be the first time since arriving in NZ.