This Is Only The First Day!
Trip Start Jan 15, 2011
38Trip End Mar 19, 2011
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Where I stayed
This hotel was unique. It was the cheapest one we could find, yet it didn’t look cheap. On the contrary, it was rather sleek and hip, with curved walls and styled décor. Each floor even had its own assigned shape and florescent color. However, it was easy to see the telltale signs of cutting corners wherever you looked. We had to pay for parking, get our own replacement linens and supplies, and there was always a strange stench that greeted us whenever we arrived on our floor (which happened to be the pink triangle floor – appropriate, no?)
Yes, it wasn’t the Ritz Carlton, but Katie and I didn’t care. For one, we’ve never cared about such things and are always happy to simply have clean sheets and a pillow. For two, we were in New Zealand! Our room was awesome as far as we were concerned. We loved it and all its quirks.
We headed out into Christchurch for the first time around 7 A.M. It was slightly overcast, but pleasant outside. The air was clean and clear and the streets were very quiet. We were indescribably happy.
Just a couple blocks away was the Christchurch Cathedral towering within the town square. Before we ventured inside we ate some breakfast - a plain bagel with an egg, bacon, and tomato relish (FYI – bacon here means ham, and tomato relish isn’t half bad). The interior of the cathedral was breathtaking, and despite the recent earthquakes plaguing Christchurch there wasn’t visible damage
We then paid to go up, up, up the church spire to take in a view of the city. We caught a view of the church bells resting motionless until their next ring. From above we could see the entire square below and all the way down the road to the Christchurch Botanic Garden: Our next stop.
One of the first things we saw once we reached the gardens was a charming vegetable, herb, and fruit garden growing to the side of a restaurant. It was truly lovely, with massive flowers alongside apple and pear trees manipulated to grow in the form of a fence and arbor. Then we followed the path along the river where we encountered many-a-duck, including an adorable baby duck with one shriveled little leg. I chatted with it before it hobbled away
At the Gallery we walked around with our coats on our shoulders so they could dry out. Meanwhile we were treated to some modern art, Maori art, and classical pieces as well. My personal favorite was a painting by George Dunlop Leslie created in 1904 called "In The Wizard's Garden." A beautiful woman in red, a shadowy figure at the garden wall, and cutting shears by the water - could the symbolism be any clearer? Hmmm? You don't get it? Well I'm not going to explain it to you...
We stopped by the cathedral again to catch a few minutes of a free organ recital and then carried on back to our hotel room where we…wait for it…RE-packed our bags! That’s right, my friends. We packed one way for our flight to New Zealand but had to pack another way for our trip through the country. What? Don’t look at me that way! It makes sense. Trust me.
After unpacking/packing we did some grocery shopping for our upcoming camping and stays at hostels
On the way back through the heart of the city, the sun finally began its descent around 9 P.M., just as the Christchurch Cathedral Society of Bell Ringers practiced their synchronicity. I’m not joking! They rang the tower bells in descending order, starting out slow and building to a fevered pitch where they often lost their flow. Then they’d start all over again. We were quite enjoying their song.
We stole a few more photos as the light bloomed and wilted against the cathedral spire, and then we headed home. A lovely end to a lovely day.
UPDATE! Alice and Katie are now embarking on a Round the World trip!
Visit aliceintraveland.com to follow along on their continuing