This weekend, we took a short work trip down to Christchurch. Unfortunately, this meant another 6am start on Saturday, which is not something I normally like to do I must admit. Anyway, our flight was fine and the weather was dry. For lunch, we drove to Lyttelton, the port of Christchurch. There was a Saturday market going on, with lots of organic and local produce.
Saturday morning market in Lyttelton
We had lunch at Samo, where I had a wonderful sandwich with salami, slightly melted brie, pickles and lots of crunchy cucumber. It was a really good combination of flavours and textures. We then drove back along the water to Christchurch.
View from Sign of the Kiwi, 332m above sea level
After completing the work part of the trip on Saturday, we strolled around what is left of the CBD. It was both interesting and sad to see the earthquake damage (the February 2011 earthquake killed 185 people. It was of magnitude 6.3 and followed the September quake of magnitude 7.1). Many people have taken many pictures of the city at various points following the disaster. Here are a few of mine. They don’t really capture the feeling of the place, a mix of strange desolation and hope for things to come.
The Anglican Cathedral, which was one of the buildings that suffered in the earthquakes, was of particular interest for me. The building was designed by George Gilbert Scott, who was also the architect of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, which was at the end of the street I lived on in Glasgow. Apparently, they were almost identical inside, and were ‘cousins’ if one can say that about buildings! It was sad to see this once grand building in its present state. A temporary cathedral (more correctly, the transitional cathedral), designed by Shigeru Ban, is built up of cardboard tubes. Unfortunately we were too late to go in, but you can see the interior here.
The interim cathedral
After our walk we were in need of food and drink, and headed over to The Smash Palace, a bar and restaurant that relocated itself after the quake, using buses and other vehicles to create a great space.
We had a night cap in another bar along the road where we sat in seats made of shopping trolleys.
A shopping trolley chair
It rained hard all day on Sunday, and we ‘Wellington weather watched’ all day to see if Tropical Cyclone Lusi was going to prevent our getting home. However, despite a delay to our flight, we made it back, to a wet and windy Wellington, which, some might say, is nothing new. Today, Monday, has been a lovely sunny day by contrast. Naturally.