Destination: Christchurch, New Zealand
Weather: Partly Sunny, 60-75 degrees
Welcome back! As you might remember from last Tuesday, we hopped a flight to Fiji for a week to relax due to a bunch of different things cropping up (train fire / sickness / driving conditions / etc.). This week we are back in Christchurch, New Zealand which is the south island east coast.
Bill and I are so glad we stopped here! You could tell what used to be a bustling and vibrant city, is now a city on the mend, especially devastating earthquake on February 22, 2011. What was so special, and coincidental, was that we were there on February 22, 2017 which made the solemnness from that day 6 years ago all the more real.
We stayed at a great boutique hotel, Hotel 115, highly suggest if staying in Christchurch! Their location is walkable to almost any major area in the city, right next to a tram stop and great breakfast spot. The hotel was very clean, new and modern! Bill and I only stopped for 1 full day of sight-seeing and 2 nights, but felt it was plenty of time spent.
We were able to go to their famous Botanical Gardens, which housed so many different species of trees, plants and flowers. See some of our pictures! Lunch was in the botanical garden and was very fresh and delicious. Once our stomaches were satisfied, we landed ourselves on the top level of the Christchurch Sightseeing bus, it quite chilly that day, but gave us the true perspective of just how devastated the city actually was.
Some estimate that it could take Christchurch up to 2050 to be complete with all of the re-builds! Even though it has been 6 years, they are still in the tear-down stage for a large portion of the city. We learned that even if a building wasn't that badly harmed, it is most likely getting torn down and re-built with much sturdier steel and glass that will better withstand a major quake. Also, they are limiting the building size to 7 stories around the city core.
Even though the devastation is still there 6 years later, the spirits of the people seem to be strong and resilient! They even came up with an idea (out of necessity) that is actually another tourist destination, the Container Mall, where everything is made out of stackable shipping containers!!! Ingenious!!
Next week we will be traveling over Arthurs Pass and to the west coast to see the Franz Josef Glacier!