In the morning, we finished up packing and left the camp site to go to the Wendekreisen office to return our motorhome. We had a warm welcome in the office and no problems with the return – only warm wishes for a wonderful stay in Christchurch and brochures and recommendations to go with it. Such a nice experience.
We took a taxi to Pavilions Hotel – we didn’t have early arrival, so we didn’t expect to get a room right away. However, when the receptionist got over his initial stress upon seeing us that early, he made a few phone calls, and 20 minutes later our room was ready – great service. The girls had their own room, which was a big hit, and we enjoyed the luxury of soft beds and a sofa for a few hours, before we left the hotel to take on Christchurch.
First of all, we had heard that Christchurch had been badly damaged in the earthquakes in 2011, but you only really understand the extent of the damage, when you are walking around in the city. So many empty spaces, closed buildings with danger of collapse, and amputated historic buildings.
It took us by surprise how much it actually affected us. It must have been a devastating loss to the people who live in Christchurch, and love their city.
However, the way Christchurch has responded is inspiring and impressive – everywhere you see initiatives to rebuild and reinvent, and you cannot avoid being touched by the development that’s going on.
We had lunch in a café which is part of the Re:START Container Mall – as the name indicates, a mall which is entirely made in shipping containers while waiting for a more lasting solution.
We walked the streets of Christhurch for a while, with a stop to a brand new place called Margaret Mahy’s playground, referring to the NZ children’s book author. It’s a playground, partly designed by children, and it is awesome.
What a great playground – we spent quite a while there. And the girls had an ice cream and Mads and I had a Gingerella – gotta love that bottle design.
We wanted to catch a pram, but our timing was off, so we just walked some of the route in stead. Later in the afternoon we walked to the beautiful botanic gardens.
Afterwards we decided to find a place to have dinner. I was hungry and tired, and it had started raining, so I was getting just a touch grumpy, but we ended up in a very nice Korean restaurant called Kimchi to round off a beautiful day before going back to the hotel to sleep in a real bed for the first time in more than a month.