I’m not sure if it’s my crippling fear of heights or if it’s due to the opening scene from the first Final Destination always playing on my mind while I board my flight but I always tend to get a little nervous before travelling via air. I don’t know why I worry as the chance of the plane plummeting to the earth or blowing up immediately after take off is quite slim. Once again my fears were totally unnecessary as apart from a few minutes of turbulence here and there the flight was incredible. I couldn’t help but stare out the window the entire 1 hour and 10 minutes, it was mesmerising.
This was my second time visiting the South Island which just so happens to be my second time visiting Christchurch. I was lucky enough to visit before the earthquakes and coming back made me really appreciate the beauty of the city that was.
I landed at around 8.30am, picked up my Juicy Rental & headed straight to the hotel to drop my luggage off intending to head into the city until I could check in. Turns out the person who was supposed to be in our room the night before never turned up so I was able to head up as soon as I got there. Having been awake since 3.15am I took the opportunity to have a short nap as I knew it was going to be a loooong day. Best decision of my life.
James finally text me letting me know he was finishing up so I jumped straight in the shower & got myself especially glam to pick up my soldier :)
Yep, he’s still James alright haha. He insists on pulling these faces so I insist on displaying them for the world to see, secretly hoping he’ll co-operate the next time – wishful thinking.
It was so incredible to see him, it was like we’d never spent a day apart. He greeted me with a big cheesy smile, a big bear hug and approximately 126 kisses before we headed back into the city.
We spent most of the afternoon in the hotel catching up over a few drinks before we headed out to dinner and then to a friends place to continue the madness, it was a really great night.
You don’t really understand the extent of what happened here almost two years ago until you visit the city centre, aka the Red Zone. It really is a ghost town until you get to the square. I wanted to go for a long wander around to see the damage so we parked a few blocks away. It was really shocking the amount of destruction there really was but the most heartbreaking part was the Cathedral. Again, I was lucky enough to visit before the earthquakes and visited the cathedral. It was such a beautiful building and the heart of the town. I really hope they restore it over building something new.
As sad as the damage is, I don’t think that is the thing to focus on. What they have done, how they have bounced back, especially with the Re:Start Container Village – it is really something special. This part of town is such a cool place with an incredibly contagious atmosphere. It seemed as though every one knew each other. When you walked past people in the crowds they weren’t looking at their feet, they were aware of their surroundings and most shared a smile. Even though I was in a big city, I felt as though I was in a small town. I couldn’t help but soak in as much of the positivity of these people as I could, I really can’t express how much I adore this city.
We stopped in for an incredibly delicious, hang over appropriate, breakfast at a cool place called Base Woodfire Pizza. We both got Butter Chicken pizzas & within half an hour they were gone. I would highly recommend stopping in to this place if you get a chance, it was one of the best pizzas i’ve ever had!
We continued to wander for a little then headed back to the hotel and chilled out until I, to my surprise and after around an hour of fighting to get him out of bed, managed to successfully convince James to come for a walk down to Hagley Park for Christmas in the Park. We went a little early so didn’t get to experience much of the festivities because we had dinner reservations but we bought and devoured some delicious frozen cola & raspberry and relaxed in the sunshine until we had to leave. We went to dinner at a Japanese place called Kinji which I would also highly recommend. We had sushi to start & then got three mains to share (Oven Grilled Miso Marinated Fish (which honestly I wasn’t too keen on) Pan Fried Scallops & Roasted Garlic with Salad & Their trademark ‘KFC’ (Kinji Fried Chicken) which, admittedly isin’t too japanese, was to die for. After the meal there was no other choice but to go back to the hotel and food comer while watching a movie.
I like the beach. I like the sun. I like breakfast. I especially like having breakfast at beach when the sun is shining.
On Sunday we started the day out at New Brighton Pier. This was one of the worst effected areas, apparently. It was actually surprising. I expected this area to be something similar to Mission Bay with multi million dollar beachfront apartments & be riddled with people drinking coffee and walking their dogs along the beach.
It was the opposite. We arrived and there was one cafe to choose from, the houses across the road from the beach were run down old villas and people didn’t start arriving until we had finished breakfast and took a walk along the pier. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this picture, the simplicity almost made it more enjoyable. It just made me realise I definitely wasn’t in Cansas any more.
Apart from the wind being a little nippy it this is my description of a perfect morning.
I’d been told by a few people that we had to check out Hagley Park as it is beautiful at this time of year. They were not wrong. We spent about an hour lying in the sun, me reading and snapping pictures and James working on getting rid of his t-shirt tan. We then went for a long walk around, it is MASSIVE!
Within Hagley Park there is a golf course, a public swimming pool, a rose garden, a native forest type thing, a museum, conservatory’s, a cafe, ponds, bridges – imagine Western Springs and times it by four.
We spent most of the day there exploring what it had to offer but as the day came to an end unfortunately James had to head back to Burnham & me to the airport and home to Auckland.
As much as I didn’t want to leave, knowing i’d be back and knowing James would come home the next weekend made it so much easier. I had such an incredible weekend with James and really came to love the city i’ll be calling home one day. I can’t wait to get to explore more of it!