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(This blog is under construction. More later)…

We’ve spent the day exploring Christchurch, which is quite a surreal experience in many ways.  I’ve never been to a city that’s been so dramatically changed by a natural disaster before.

We started our day by walking into town and trying to piece together a picture of the city. It’s difficult. Not just because so many building have been demolished’ leaving entire blocks bare, but also because some condemned building are still waiting to be torn down and replaced, like this one on the Corner of Worcester Boulevard and Cambridge Terrace. In the corner window you can see a picture of the new building that will replace it.


Not far from here was a statue of Scott of the Antarctic. Christchurch is a nexus for many of the countries that have bases there, with ships sailing from the city to the Antarctic on a regular basis. In the UK’s current political climate I could see Scott as a metaphor for Brexit…


After wandering the city we visited Quake City, the museum dedicated to the 2011 earthquake and its aftermath. It’s a sobering experience as it brings home the power of earthquakes and also their aftermath. As well as physical remains and pictures of the earthquake there’s a series of very moving interviews with survivors of the day. These bring it home to you just what people went through. Afterwards we headed back into town to catch one of the vintage trams that operate a circular, hop-on, hop-off service around the centre of town. En-route we passed the remains of what had been the tallest building in Christchurch before the earthquake. This is what it looks like today. The whole city block has been demolished and awaits redevelopment. The rest of it is car-parks.


Before catching the tram we stopped for lunch in the beautifully restored New Regent St, a pedestrianised zone (OK, trams don’t count) that has a great selection of bars, restaurants and cafes. We were craving spicy food so chose a Thai café called The Nook. They had tables out in the street so we could enjoy the food whilst soaking up the sun and watching the world go by – not to mention the cheeky sparrows, who ate almost as much of our rice as we did! dg316341crop

The food was good, the prices reasonable and the wine wasn’t bad either. Suitably stuffed, we caught a tram to see more of the city. Christchurch’s trams are a mix of vintage vehicles from New Zealand and Australia. We were lucky to get 152, one of the original city trams. It has a royal pedigree as both the Queen and Prince Harry have toured the city on it. There’s even little brass plaques to tell you that you’re parked your bum on the same seat as royalty!



To be continued…