Our first day in New Zealand lands us in the city of Christchurch. With a population of 400,000, it is New Zealand’s third-largest city and the largest of the South Island.
We didn’t set an alarm today and with the jet lag we didn’t get up until about 10 am! We quickly got up and moving to grab some late breakfast and do a little sightseeing.
The coffee saga continues!
Right outside our hotel is the historic tram. You can hop on and off all day and listen to the drivers telling you all about the history of the town.
This one was built in 1901 ( if I remember correctly) and was built overseas. It is also the oldest tram that has been restored and was previously used as a shed when it was decommissioned.
New Zealand gets Earthquakes. Christchurch itself was hit severely in 2011 and we were shocked to see the damage that not only had been done but was still being remediated.
This is a perfect example. Can you see it?
Yes, there is a crane in the background but that’s not what I’m talking about.
That parking lot was a building before the 2011 earthquake. and there are plenty more “new parking lots” around the city. Over 1500 buildings have been demolished. This lot, BTW, just sold for about $3,000,000!
There is an entire shopping center made out of shipping containers as temporary housing for the shops.
Not everything is grim or doom and gloom. Art continues here. You see sculptures, wall murals, and tributes coming into the area. It is still very much alive.
There are beautiful building still here and the history of the area is rich.
This mural was painted in 2 days by one person.
You can still see steel girders holding up buildings and even shipping containers blocking others until it can be accessed and restored. There is just so much work to be done and millions of $$ will be spent.
There are even buildings that were so unstable that they just poured concrete into the basement for stability and slowly dismantled it floor by floor.
This is the Christchurch Boy’s High School. With over 130 years of history, driving past the dining hall made me think of Hogwarts and Herry Potter!
He loves cars.
I had a little surprise for Dan. Something that my Christchurch Research had revealed and something I knew he would be interested in.
Before we could see it we had to walk about 2 km. Easy right? Not with a toddler.
On the way, we had a good look at the falling leaves/
Roland took one look at this and called it an “ancient house”, Now where would he get THAT, Ancient?!?! He has an old soul I tell you and these little things just show me how old it is.
Back to being a toddler, we made sure to pick up every leaf possible and throw it into the river and watch it disappear under the bridge.
Back in 2001 Dan and I met in paramedic school. A few weeks after school started the terrorist attacks of “9/11” happened. It really had a deep impact on him because he is a firefighter. 343 New York firefighters died that day when the World Trade Center towers fell.
9/11 really had a deep impact on him because he is a firefighter. 343 New York firefighters died that day when the World Trade Center towers fell. There is a bond within the fire service that is hard to explain to others.
The metal pieces below were shipped to New Zealand to open the Firefighter Olympics and honour the firefighters that died that day attempting to save others. I found it a fitting and touching moment when the Christchurch Fire Department went by responding to an unknown emergency as we were there.
Dan never made it to New York to pay his respects, this allowed him to do so in some way, and the local firefighters answering a call for help made it very real and emotional for him.
For more information and the inscription please visit http://www.memorialmapping.com/memorials/christchurch-firefighters-memorial/
New Zealand Has Canada Goose! Who knew!
Apparently, they are all descendants of 50 birds that were brought over in 1905.
On our way to the Fire Fighters memorial, we saw the Margaret Mahy Playground – named after a popular New Zealand author.
Naturally Roland “needs to play” as he puts it. He likes to add that “S” onto a few different words these days.
The playground is massive and has several different areas and different features.
Crawling around and playing with the kids Roland was getting a bit silly (he even went as far as putting his pans in the freezer…
But he does love his sister. As she was rolling and now CRAWLING he went over and decided she must sit with him for a picture. Who am I to refuse the wishes of a child ;P
We had a late nap and set an alarm so we would get super screwed up for night sleeping. The time change is making us a bit wonky (even just a 2-hour change, can’t wait to get home for the 17 hour time difference!)
Chinese for supper and it was off to bed for the kids.
As I write this I can hear Roland calling Mom…Mom…Mummy…mama…he is supposed to be sleeping but with the time change, he is reluctant (no surprise there). I actually though Dan was in there until he came around the corner and asked for a status update on the sleeping situation. With Roland clearly not sleeping he headed in.
Dan come out with a diaper in his hand and a naked Roland trailing behind. Apparently, Roland decided he needed a change and was 3/4 of the way done already. Dan walked in and Roland had his jammies off and diaper in hand. All he needed was the clean diaper and his jammies back on. OOPS, I guess that’s why he was calling me. We couldn’t stop laughing though.