After my last post with all the images of the desolation still abundant around Christchurch, I want to focus on the life and vibrance of the city in this entry. Although it isn’t the city of my memories, it has a lot to offer and has taken the unique opportunity to try innovative new ways of rebuilding after the quake.
First of all, let’s admire the foliage.
The famous tram can’t be missed, although it wasn’t running this early in the morning.
The city center is filled with amazing art and architecture.
And only in New Zealand will you find traffic sheep instead of cones.
My favorite new attraction has to be the Re:Start Mall. It’s an innovative shopping center made entirely of shipping crates. It first opened mere months after the earthquake and has grown steadily since then. You’ll find everything from cafes to banks, all inside brightly colored crates. My friend from Christchurch commented that it is much more fun than the original mall, and I can’t argue with that.
I didn’t get a chance to visit while it was open, but it was really fun to just wander around and admire the creative design.
On my second-to-last full day in the city, I met up with an old friend from when I studied abroad, Michelle. She’s from New Zealand and was one of the awesome people who taught me how amazing Kiwis are. She picked me up from my hostel and after grabbing some delicious brunch, we went to explore our old stomping grounds, the University of Canterbury. Unlike the city itself, I was amazed by how little had changed on campus since I studied abroad.
We walked the same paths I took on my way to classes and back to Ilam Village, where we all lived.
My building looked identical. It was so strange to think how long ago it was that I lived there. It felt like ages, but at the same time, like barely any time had passed. The memories came flooding back, and Michelle and I laughed about all our crazy adventures on campus.
I’ll never forget my time there. I fell in love with this country then and couldn’t be happier that I’m back now. Being in Christchurch really brought that home to me. It was wonderful to catch up with Michelle, too.
Back in town, I had time to stroll along the Avon River on my way to the botanic gardens.
This part of town looked a bit more familiar to me, as the natural world wasn’t affected by the quakes the way all the manmade structures were. I wandered around the botanic gardens, enjoying the beautiful day.
This tree was my favorite part.
I passed the Christchurch Museum on the way back to my hostel and had to pause to take the quintessential Christchurch postcard photo.
Next up, my adventure into the Port Hills outside Christchurch as I continue my trip down memory lane.