Christchurch is beautiful! Unlike the rainy weather yesterday, today there is a crisp sea breeze and clear blue skies with snow-capped mountains in the background. The main city square and several suburbs were seriously damaged during the major earthquake of February 2011 and earthquakes of September 2010 and June and July 2011. It’s almost a ghost town now and people are not allowed for fear buildings might crumble. The rebuild estimate is about 15 years and many people moved away.
My bed and breakfast is in an area of Christchurch called Sumner. It reminds me of Sausalito with houses up on steep hills and the little town below along the water. During the earthquake there was damage to many of the houses in Sumner when huge rock boulders came down from the hills above. Along the highway they placed a wall of shipping cargo containers to protect the cars from more falling boulders and rocks. People who lived in damaged houses in the hills are not allowed to return to their homes. The plan is to demolish everything (including contents) and rebuild.
November is a big horse racing month in New Zealand and people travel all over the world for the famous races and celebration. It’s a festive and exciting time.
Recovering from jet lag is hard this trip – hope it goes away soon. Looking forward to taking a train across the Southern Alps to Greymouth tomorrow.
A note to anyone using a taxi in Christchurch – the meter begins from the time you call to order a car – not from the time you sit down inside – same as many European cities.