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).
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
back to Christchurch. The sculptured remains from the Trade Center
are a memorial near the Madras