Saturday in Christchurch for art, food and new friends

Christchurch Travel Blog

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Christchurch
9:00 am Take Christchurch Tramway for city tour to Art Center and board punts for cruise up the Avon River.  Walk back and the rest of the day is on our own until 6:30 pm for traditional dinner at NZ family home

Last night, after sunset, we flew from Wellington into Christchurch over a unbelievably rough landscape of craggy mountains and deep valleys.  Then we landed at Christchurch, which is what 19th century England at its best must have been like.  Incredibly lush with flowers and canals scattered through a town full of art fairs, museums, parks and pleasant people. . . .did I mention the great food?  I loved Christchurch on sight as did almost everyone else in the tour group.

the Kiwi clock (not to be confused with a cuckoo clock)_
  We had dinner in the hotel (another Millenium hotel) and it was the best meal of the trip.  I had a venison appetizer with a glass of wine and then my husband and I shared a large cheese plate (which had 5 types of cheese, several varieties of fruit and different crackers).  Perfect!


This morning we got up for Gordon’s lecture on New Zealand’s current place in the world (only 4 million people in the entire country and they are vastly outnumbered by the millions of cows, sheep and goats).  This country is dedicated to conservation and anti-nuclear anything.  (The Prime Minister is meeting with President Bush this week for the first time since New Zealand refused to let US nuclear subs into the country years ago.)

 

We walked to the trolley stop, which is under a clock inset into a large egg with a kiwi on top.

Punting on the river
(I’m told that this statue/clock does something on the hour but I never found out what.  You may want to check it out when you’re in Christchurch.)  The trolley is a nice ride through town and the driver was very entertaining.  It was St Patrick’s Day and people had already starting celebrating.  Christchurch is supposed to be the most like England of all the New Zealand towns but it does put a Kiwi spin on everything.  The main city park had a chess game going on and even the police station looked festive. . . like a cross between a real police station and an ice cream stand. 

 

 

We all went punting on the river that runs through town.   (Punting is done in a gondola-like boat propelled by a push on a pole rather than rowed with an oar.

dahlia
)  Then we were on our own and most of us headed for the nearby Botanic Gardens (founded in 1863 so the trees have had time to get enormous) which is huge.  I took lots of flower photos but only included a few here.  Then we had lunch outside the art museum which is near the gardens before looking at the artwork inside.  There were also several art and craft shows going on nearby as well.

 

As charming as all this was, we decided to explore the river a little more and found sculpture and what appeared to be a half-way house for recovering Ernest and Young accountants (remember Enron?) before we got lost.  We barely made it back to the hotel in time for our 6:30 dinner with local hosts and it would have been a shame to miss that.

 

Cara (our tour director) had divided us into small groups to have dinner with various local hosts in their homes.  We were lucky enough to be in a group with Leslie, Dave, Daphne and Gordon and to be hosted by a local architect and his artist wife.

Gordon, Dave, Daphne, Colleen, me and Leslie with Maurice and their exchange student Joyce standing behind us
  Dinner was lovely and the conversation was even better. 

 

The final stop of the evening was another sculpture near our hotel.  Our taxi driver told us that New Zealand had sent aid workers to New York after 9 11 and in thanks New York had sent iron from the World Trade Center back to Christchurch.  The sculptured remains from the Trade Center are a memorial near the Madras Street Bridge.

shirlan says:
very intersting clock! didn't see it though. will have to look for it next time. if ever you are in vancouver, go to gastown and check out the steam clock.
Posted on: Mar 27, 2008
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Christchurch
Christchurch
the Kiwi clock (not to be confused…
the Kiwi clock (not to be confuse…
Punting on the river
Punting on the river
dahlia
dahlia
Gordon, Dave, Daphne, Colleen, me …
Gordon, Dave, Daphne, Colleen, me…
playing chess in Cathedral Square
playing chess in Cathedral Square
the trolley
the trolley
the trolley motorman dressed for S…
the trolley motorman dressed for …
Maori tribal symbols outside the m…
Maori tribal symbols outside the …
inside the Art Museum
inside the Art Museum
downtown with the trolley approach…
downtown with the trolley approac…
trees in the 500 acre garden
trees in the 500 acre garden
Debby and Ed by the Peacock Founta…
Debby and Ed by the Peacock Fount…
dahlias and roses
dahlias and roses
Im not the only photographer chas…
I'm not the only photographer cha…
another duck
another duck
the Botanic Gardens
the Botanic Gardens
another outstanding tree
another outstanding tree
the trees have had time to grow to…
the trees have had time to grow t…
my husband and a view of the garde…
my husband and a view of the gard…
Police station that could have bee…
Police station that could have be…
Queen Victoria - clothing styles h…
Queen Victoria - clothing styles …
theres always a Maori scupture so…
there's always a Maori scupture s…
the Christchurch river
the Christchurch river
I couldnt resist
I couldn't resist
Cara getting us in line
Cara getting us in line
I love photographing light shining…
I love photographing light shinin…
a recovery house for Earnest and Y…
a recovery house for Earnest and …
Gordon and Dave getting ready to e…
Gordon and Dave getting ready to …
our charming hostess and her husba…
our charming hostess and her husb…
dinner requires a glass of good wi…
dinner requires a glass of good w…
from the World Trade Center
from the World Trade Center
Christchurch
photo by: Fulla