Apparently the most 'English' of NZ Cities, but can I get a good strong cup of tea??

Christchurch Travel Blog

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Cheerio Kiwiland!
Although the similarity wasn’t immediately evident, something about Christchurch kept quietly bringing back thoughts of home.

Flowers and Fur

It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago I’d never heard of airport shuttle buses, and now they are integral to my travelling happiness.

My shuttle from the airport was driven by a sweet, stout man called David. David let me sit in the passenger seat where I could enjoy a superior view and the pleasure of his furry seat covers in 35-degree heat.

I asked David if he had any Welsh ancestry on account of his name and the 3 paper daffodils on his dashboard. He said No; the daffodils were collected on daffodil day (a charity event) over the last 3 years, as a gesture toward his wife.

Just Like Kew Gardens!

But he did have British ancestry; his great great grandfather was from Yorkshire. I asked him if he’d ever been. He said No (again) but his cousin had been and she’d showed him pictures. This seemed to satisfy any curiosity and he showed no interest in discovering the delights of Yorkshire close up. Which is a shame because I think he’d quite enjoy a Famous Fat Rascal Cake or two at Betty’s Tea Room.

The Hostel

I stayed at a great little place just off Christchurch square and everything about it reminded me of my halls of residence at University: The grungy looking clump of denim in a stripy hat who sat watching TV in a heap on the communal sofa whist absentmindedly eating pasta; the threadbare carpets; the beige and burgundy walls; corridors with numbered heavy doors; the revolting smell of the kitchen; the stark bathrooms with M & F on the doors….

. It was all very comforting!

Flowers and Feathers

I had a day to kill in Christchurch and spent it happily pottering about the Botanical Gardens and Museum.

As with the hostel, the familiar environment had a time-travel effect: I was transported back to my Nasty Teenager era. Exasperated, Mum would drag me off to wise and civilised old Oxford in the hope that some of the propriety might rub off on me. We’d spend the day walking together deliberately discussing art and architecture (and not drug-addict boyfriends). Our happy day would be punctuated with gourmet sandwiches and a turn around the Ashmoleon Museum, before heading home where I’d pick up where I left off Being Horrible.

Christchurch museum was ok, but the gardens were really special.

There was a diverse collection of trees and flowers and some very captivating statues. One in particular looked exactly like two fat people having adventurous sex. It was only when I read the plaque saying ‘wrestlers’ that I felt slightly less affronted, and mildly disappointed.

The Rose garden won my heart, there were gazillions of varieties and I made a point of stopping to smell the roses whilst loudly thinking ‘Isn’t life great!’

The relaxing day drew to a golden close lying on the banks of the Avon reading Ben Elton with a gaggle of (suspiciously English looking) ducks waddling about pecking at the grass.

Final Thoughts on NZ

If India taught me to reserve judgement on all things social & political, New Zealand has taught me about generosity: the people here, most specifically Graeme, Carole Jenny & Dave, have shown what unconditional kindness is. I’ve learnt that it’s not necessary to keep a tab on every grace & favour with a mind for repayment, but, as Bini succinctly pointed out to me, ‘If you try to give back every little thing you just look like a skank; much better to accept with good grace’.

PS, Note on the title, I've totally given up trying to get a strong cup of tea here in NZ. Only weak ones exist. But it's ok - the ice chocolate drinks more than make up for it!

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Cheerio Kiwiland!
Cheerio Kiwiland!
Just Like Kew Gardens!
Just Like Kew Gardens!
photo by: Fulla