Friday, February 10, 2017

Christchurch, the City Centre, and Fairlie

Much to my surprise, I wasn't tired after our crazy journey from the US to New Zealand. In fact, I was excited to explore the city of Christchurch. As I reflect on it now, I wish that Suzie and I had planned to spend more time in this wonderful city but with the flight issues we only had one day!

We started out the day by walking into the City Centre of Christchurch. The city itself is a mixture of extremely old stone buildings and contemporary architecture, which seemed to fit together seamlessly. The damage to the buildings from the 2011 earthquake could still be seen everywhere and it was shocking to see first person. For those of you that don't know, Tuesday 22 February 2011 a 6.3 earthquake badly damaged Christchurch and Lyteelton killing 185 people and injuring several thousand. The earthquake's epicentre was near Lyttelton, just 10 km from Christchurch's central business district. The quake only lasted 10 seconds but because of damage from an earthquake several months earlier, the damage was severe to the city center.

The Christchurch Cathedral also experienced significant damage, losing its spire and part of its tower. The tower was demolished in March of 2012 because the damage could not be fixed. It was probably most shocking to see this in person. For reference this is what the Cathedral looked like before the earthquake

After Suzie and I walked around the Christchurch Cathedral we ended up eating at the best possible coffee shop. I can't recall the name of it, but the scones were AMAZING. They are probably the best scones I've ever had! Just image the perfect scone that is flakey, buttery, soft, warm, and full of happiness. 

Our next stop was the Canterbury museum. I wish I could say that the museum had one specific theme, but it was a random collect of exhibits highlighting everything New Zealand, including Fred and Myrtle's paua shell-adorned home living room. Fred and Myrtle Flutey decorated their New Zealand home with thousands of paua shells that Fred collected from a nearby beach.

Suzie and I then wandered through the Botanic Gardens in the city centre. If I recall correctly, the gardens were started when an English oak was planted to commemorate the marriage of a two royals (although I can't recall their names). I loved the gardens and wished that we could have spent more time there. One of the prettiest spots in the Botanic Garden was the Central Rose Garden that had over 250 varieties of roses.

It felt so good to be out in the sunshine away from the California rain. If I go to New Zealand and Christchurch again I would love to pack a picnic lunch and eat it in the Botanic Gardens while soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the beautiful city.

After walking through the garden we headed back to the hotel. Our stop for the night would be the Pinewood Motel in Fairlie, a three hour drive from Christchurch (another motel I would recommend staying at if you find yourself in Fairlie). Before we checked in though we drove to Lake Tekapo. The lake was beautiful but the town was too touristy and not to our liking so we headed back to the sleepy town of Fairlie. 

Suzie and I ended up at an old library turned restaurant eating garlic cheese pizza and salad. (For those of you that haven't hung out with us you don't realize that we have a habit of eating garlic chips and a caesar salads more often than we should at Wally's in Cameron Park back home!) We discovered a delicious local cider and had too much fun laughing at a silly TV channel. 

P.S. For the sake of this blog I'm leaving out the numerous (hilarious) things that happened to Suzie and I while in New Zealand. If you want those stories then you'll have to talk to us in person!

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