Danielle and our Welsh friend, Cerieann, took me to Sumner Beach. I was so excited to swim, but I was even more thrilled when I saw that there was a guy parked near the beach who was renting surfboards out of his van! He gave me a good price for the rental board, and let me borrow a rashie (rash guard) for free. All of the Kiwis (New Zealanders) were using wetsuits, which I found funny as the water wasn't very cold, but apparently locals almost always use them for swimming. I was happy to find that I've improved since Australia, and I had so much fun in the water!
...And the not-so-fun part of surfing... wipeouts... :/
Spectrum Street Art Festival
This is a really cool street art festival held for free at the local YMCA. The exhibit was pretty small, but featured various styles of really interesting art.
Addington Coffee Co-Op
Danielle, our German friend Niklas, and I came to this coffee shop one afternoon during our stay in Christchurch. I really liked this place because it values fair and ethical ways of doing business - 70% of the profits generate back to the local community and to some of the producers and communities overseas that create the products sold. The other 30% is reinvested into the business. This coffee shop felt so cozy, and one thing I loved is that they had country flags instead of numbers for when the waiters brought your order to your table. The coffee and food was all delicious as well!
This is a shopping center built from shipping containers in central Christchurch. We found many artsy shops and yummy food!
This is a park where Danielle, Cerieann, and I came to watch the sunset one evening.
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens were founded in 1863 when an English oak was planted to celebrate the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Danielle and I enjoyed a nice walk through these gardens.
Effects of the Earthquakes
Christchurch is a city being rebuilt, after the devastating effects of a bad earthquake in early 2011. Even though 5 years have passed, the city is still filled with construction workers, scaffolding, and orange cones on every corner. Neighborhoods, churches, public buildings, and streets are all still in the process of being repaired. This was really eye-opening for me, as I have never witnessed the effects of a natural disaster first-hand. It was incredible to me that even 5 years later, it is still so evident. Earthquakes are common here; several occurred the week before we arrived to the city, and one more happened during our stay, as we were driving through a tunnel leaving the bay after jet-skiing. Thankfully, these were not as devastating to the city as others in the past have been.
-- The best stories are found between the pages of a passport --