It’s tragic – the 2011 earthquake has left the centre of Christchurch in a terrible mess and the process of putting it all back together again is going to take years. Whole city blocks have been levelled in preparation for rebuilding and there are still large numbers of large buildings standing empty, presumably waiting for demolition of for someone to decide what to do. What must have been a very attractive city has been hit very hard and it doesn’t take much imagination to recognise that it will be five to ten years before it starts to be a destination once again. That said there are some bright spots still remaining – the Botanic Gardens are lovely, strolling along the banks of the River Avon you wouldn’t really know that anything had happened; no surprise that nature has been faster at the repair process than man.
We woke this morning to ….rain! It doesn’t seem quite fair to have left Australia roasting in temperatures in the high thirties and for Christchurch to welcome us with 19 degrees and ….rain. No matter, we pick up the Van later this morning and start heading down the coast where the weather should apparently start to improve. First stop Ashburton cemetery – admittedly not your usual tourist destination but the last resting place on my Great Uncle George who emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1900’s and sadly died within a few years of his arrival. More than a hundred years on this will be the first time that a member of the family has visited the grave – must go, can’t keep him waiting!