Once again we arrived to our destination with me rubbing my eyes after waking up from another nap in the car.
It was the late afternoon and Christchurch seemed quiet.
We saw a few people zoom by on those motorized scooters you can rent. We also saw many of those green scooters just scattered along the sidewalk.
After checking into our hotel, we decided to head out to find dinner. As we had done every time throughout our trip, we wandered. We didn’t check Yelp or Google reviews for the best restaurant or dinner spot. We like finding things on our own while traveling. (This is also why I rarely ask people for food recommendations when traveling. It also has to do with the fact that I am a vegetarian and often times people are telling me about “the best burger ever!”)
Our hotel wasn’t too far from the city center but I was shocked at how desolate the city felt. No one was really walking around.
We also soon came across several buildings that had been destroyed by the city’s major earthquake several years ago. It looked as if the earthquake had hit within the last year, not in 2011. It was a sad sight to see. And, for context, we visited a month before the mosque shootings happened.
The next day we felt more energy in the city. There were more people out, both tourists and locals. It’s clear that this city has been through a lot, but that they are rebuilding. They are rebuilding their cathedral and in the interim, have built a church all out of cardboard!
The street graffiti art is plentiful in Christchurch. There is also public art and installations scattered around. The painted walls were more vibrant in the daytime but just as beautiful in the evening. Each piece told its own story.
Their botanical garden is beautiful. We spent quite a bit of time walking the grounds there on our second day. But, our second day was also when we would be leaving Christchurch. I wish we had had more time in this dear city.
Bryce and I took a panoramic picture of the cathedral and surrounding area.
“When we return, we can see just how much it has changed,” Bryce said.
I’m sure the rebuilding we will witness won’t be just within brick walls.