Christchurch: 15/11/2017 – 17/11/2017
It’s a brutal city lost somewhere in the South Island. Stripped of it’s history and character by nature but rebuilt in thriving hopefulness by it’s community.
It’s twenty four degrees, the street I follow follows the river, just around the river bend (you sang it, didn’t ya?) is a small city centre. It’s slow and disjointed. New built mega stores one street over from shipping container temporaries.
Everything is new and everything is quiet.
It’s not that the city has no soul, or that it’s a sleepy city not worth a stop over (a lot of people had told me that lie). It’s that it misses out on the hustle and bustle of every other city I’ve been too. Almost a little desolate. After nine everything seems to shut down, I fail to find any night life exempting a couple bars. It’s strange but entirely unique all at once. There is a whole bunch of culture, of course, in the museum and the art gallery. In Cathedral square there is an open photography exhibition that steals my attention for a while. It’s a new, old city and it’s charming the way it exhibits itself to strangers. “Here is the shell of what I once was but just wait until you see the amped version.” It says, the shadow buildings with cardboard windows and rubbled interiors don’t fit in beside the newly renovated hotels and chic cafes. But this is Christchurch and the terror of it’s past is the allure of its present. It’s reincarnation.
Favourite Cafe: Black and White, pictured above. I stopped by a couple times and whilst the soy chai was good, the soy flat white was the shit! The barista knew her stuff and the texture of the soy milk impressed me greatly.
Cultural Highlights: Christchurch Art Gallery boasted a couple interesting exhibits. Silly me did not photograph or catalogue any of it but no doubt it’s a constant theme there, it’s a pretty big gallery. The Botanical gardens have a bright little space reserved in the snapshots of memories. It was summer when I got to Christchurch, so laying in the sun with a book is what I did, I found a little spot by the lake and stayed for hours. The Canterbury Museum is also joined to the gardens. They held an exhibition on Māori women when I went which was all kinds of awe inspiring. And their little homage to nineteenth century Christchurch was quaint too, with life-size store fronts and figures.
Accommodation: I stayed at the Jailhouse Accommodation. Nice lil niche thing they got going. It’s an actual converted jailhouse, the bed was pretty comfy, the place clean, though the kitchen was a wee bit small the rest was all pretty stellar. It was a half hour walk to the centre of the city but the route takes you through a park and then along the river, so no qualms. I never mind a walk anyways. Would stay again, would recommend.
Top Memory: Walking into the city on the first day with a map in hand. Feeling like a traveller again for the first time in months. Taking little back streets and seeing everything, even the most mundane sites, for the first time is always my most favourite part of a trip.
All the blissful vibes, N x