Home of the Crusaders

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Saturday, March 1, 2008

We arrived in Christchurch late in the afternoon and were presently surprised by the atmosphere as we drove through the city centre. It didn't take long for us to check-in to our accommodation for the night and unpack so we could begin exploring.
What would have been ideal is if we were able to watch a Super 14 match between the Crusaders and a South African team live in Christchurch. As the schedule would have it we just seem to miss all the live games in New Zealand so we settled for the next best thing and watched a replay of the Crusaders vs. Stormers which was played in SA a few hours earlier in a bar called the Holy Grail. This sports bar just goes to show how crazy the Kiwis are about their rugby. The bar was enormous and set on 4 levels with a gigantic screen showing the main game. Sadly I already knew the outcome of the game and even though our team got hammered it was nice watching the game in this rugby hall of fame.
The main park in Christchurch was the centre of attraction as a Chinese lantern festival was underway. Once again true to New Zealand's predictably wet weather it started raining as the festival kicked-off. It was great to see how this didn't damper the enthusiasm of any of the spectators or the performing artists. We hung around and watch a few performances until our wet weather gear begun failing and then made a mad dash for the pub across the road to take advantage of happy hour. A real travellers treat.
Tonight was our night off from cooking so we walked around till we found a nice restaurant that matched our budget. We settled for Italian and had a great dinner.
Next day the skies were miraculously clear and any trace of rain had vanished, so we headed off for a scenic drive around Christchurch before heading up the coast. Many of the views were spectacular and as usual we wished we could have spent more time in Christchurch.  Just another city we'll have to add to our Re-Visit list.
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