These photos are a somewhat random collection from our two months in Christchurch, including both views around town and from hikes and trips in the Port Hills and farther out on Banks Peninsula.
One of the first things we did when we settled into our Christchurch digs was purchase a couple of second-hand bikes. Christchurch is a great biking town. Not only is it flat, but in the post-earthquake recovery they have made a point of expanding the biking infrastructure to make it easy, comfortable, and safe to ride.
These were my wheels for the duration, and allowed me to run errands and explore the town without driving, and while getting exercise.
Out beyond the reach of the bikes, we enjoyed a number of hikes in the Port Hills (between Christchurch and the port in Littleton). The hills reminded us in many ways of the Marin Headlands near San Francisco, complete with summer-brown grasses and old WWII-era military installations.
|On Godley Head, looking out to the harbor mouth.|
|I'm guessing that one is wondering if I'm good to eat.|
Many of the hikes involved great views of the city on one side, and the (undeniably more scenic) harbor on the other. The best city views from the hills were after dark, but my pictures weren't much good.
|Looking over Littleton, and across to Diamond Harbor, a short ferry ride or long drive away.|
Sadly, a defining element for Christchurch post 2011 is the impact of the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Much is being or has been rebuilt, redefined, or moved on from. Some buildings are still just fenced off, as owners have simply walked away. Others, like this one where many people lost their lives, may simply be too painful to deal with yet.
|The ruins have become a kind of memorial in themselves. The standing water isn't just rainwater--it's a reminder that the very high water table of a city built on a swamp was a direct contributor to the extent of the damage.|
|On the left side of the photo you can just see the new library, which is as much an example of a brilliant recovery as the cathedral is of, well, indecision.|
|Looking down the library's elegant central staircase from the third of 5 floors.|
|The trees, built from recovered wood, are native rimu trees, but echo the shape of the palms beyond.|
|The sign said canoe polo, but those were clearly kayaks. Water polo in kayaks. The action got intense at times, and it looked like a blast.|
|The birds may have been my favorites.|
|The arches are permanent in the park. The lanterns, less so. The sunset, ephemeral.|
|By the time we arrived, there were already thousands of people present, a quiet, respectful crowd of all ages and religions.|
It was our privilege and pleasure to be able to make Christchurch our home for two months. The memories we carry away with us may fade with time and age, but as with all travel, it has changed us, if only in small ways.
|I lied. I did get a few acceptable shots of the city at dusk.|
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2019
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