One of my favourite parts of travelling is visiting new places! Although , there is something so humbling about returning to a place where you have once walked before, and seeing it through the same eyes, perhaps from a different perspective. This is how James viewed Christchurch this time around! The last time he walked those streets was before the devastating earthquake, when the Cathedral stood tall and proud in the centre of the city. Now, it is prominent in the most haunting way, occupied only by pigeons. Now covered in ivy and flowers creeping through the crumbling rocks, a symbol of hope but also sadness, place of worship has been overcome flora. My initial thoughts were that is breathtaking city, with parts as artistic as they are industrial. Each street corner features a building site, or a car park, or both. This harshness is juxtaposed against unseasonably blue sky, and abstract murals that are scattered far and wide throughout the course of the city. We visited the market place that is built entirely from shipping containers, which was just as full of hipsters as it was food trucks and pigeons!
Half English Charm, half industrial office district
This could be anywhere in the world!
After a spot of shopping (I was in dire need of some good quality sunglasses that James is trying to “adopt”) I had a nap and then put about five million layers of clothes on so we could go out for dinner! We went to Winne Bagoes, an American style pizza place that boasts Chicago style deep dish pizza with Southern hospitality. Coincidentally, every Wednesday is “upgrade for free” pizza night so we had two large pizzas between us. There was an abundance of cheese, with a ½ Chicago, ½ spicy lamb concoction, and a ½ chicken and brie and ½ cheeseburger. It was delicious, as was the wine and company *
I look rugged up like I am going to Antarctica! James was not cold, for the record!
The night was topped off (pizza pun!) when we were walking back to our hotel. I was in search of someone homeless (or drunk) and in need of pizza to offer our leftovers and we happened to find Strange and Co, an eclectic bar that had an Open Mic comedy night! It was hilarious, fun, and best of all…FREE!We met a lovely Irish couple who invited us to sit at their front row table. I was heckled ever so slightly and it was such a fun and unexpected way to end the evening! I couldn’t tell you what their names were, or any of the jokes, but I remember laughing my face off! Maybe the amount of wine consumed had something to do with it!
The quirky decor at Hello Sunday
Getting creative while waiting for my Shakshuka!
Christchurch has lots of quirky cafes, and we visited most of them! Hello Sunday came highly recommended from trusty Instagram and it was worth the walk! Also the New Zealand International Arts Festival was on but sadly we missed it by a day! The Christchurch Botanical gardens have a decidedly old-world English feel to them which matched the cloudy day perfectly. For dinner on our second night we went to the Little High Eatery which is a collection of indoor food trucks (and tables if you are lucky) that serve anything from dumplings to pancakes to burgers to burgers! We opted for Bacon Bros burgers as they came highly recommended. They are huge, yet delicious!
The pretty shopfront near our hotel
Climbing giant Sequoia
A sunny patch in the botanical gardens
A tram in the middle of the shopping centre!
Bacon Bros Burgers at the Little High Eatery- Such a cool concept!
The Christchurch Goldola (that we never actually went up, but should’ve, considering the perfect weather!
The Botanical Gardens
The Alice Picture Theatre (think movies and an old school video shop)
Even though I have titled this post “A City in Ruins” I think that it is important to stress that even though the city partially decrepit, its spirit never wavered. The allure of the city itself is slowly being rebuilt, just like the infrastructure. I can’t imagine how the people present at the time of the Earthquake must’ve felt. Christchurch has done well to overcome such hardship, and I can’t wait to go back in a few years’ time and see how far it has come!
My next post will be about out time in the Aoraki/Mount Cook region. #roadtrip!
*It can be challenging travelling with the same person continuously, but as long as you both have respect for each other’s habits, and space, it is easy. It also helps if you balance each other out. I am currently writing this on the aircraft and James is sitting two rows away from me. I am already looking forward to landing even thought I have spent the last week and a half with him!