End of June- Early August 2016

Christchurch is a fascinating city. A few years ago it was hit by a devastating earthquake that killed almost 200 people. The people have been buried the red tape of insurance rules and many houses still don't function correctly. A lot of money has been put into the mental health of the city and its inhabitants. 

This was our first South Island stop. We took another pet sitting gig while the family (who we think is marvelous) was doing a bit of world traveling of their own. From there we forayed North to Kaikoura, South to Dunedin, West to Tekapo and Mount Sunday. For those of you who aren't devout nerds, Mount Sunday is Edoras in LoTR. 

Since we were there for nearly two months, this album is not small. Oh, and we made a few personal changes, obviously. 

I quickly discovered that my identity is very tied up in being a red head. 


Alex works on TerraGenesis while one little gato protests.

Trump birds.

And the other gato acted as if we were torturing her with the cold, as if Mother Nature is on speed dial. I wish!

The Christchurch gondola gives you a great view of the city...

and of Lyttleton on the other side of the Cashmere hills.

In an effort to keep spirits up, Christchurch officials turned to artists to create murals throughout the city. They've also attempted to save many of the historical facades which are being held up by shipping containers until the building can be reconstructed. And near the center of the city is a memorial to all the people who were lost to the 6.3 quake. The memorial has a chair, donated by each of the affected families, to represent the victim. Each chair is painted white and set up in rows that are reminiscent of pews in a church though they are not treated as sacred. People are invited to wander through the rows, to sit in the seats, to fully inhabit the space. The exhibit is not permanent (as far as I'm aware) but it is moving and emotional.

These are only a handful of the murals that decorate the city. 

A facade being held up by shipping containers.

Another major loss for the city was the Anglican Cathedral. The front came crashing down, bringing the bells with it. Although a few people were inside, no one was hurt. There is a new, temporary church, aptly named The Cardboard Cathedral, which somehow manages to feel holy and inspires reverence even without many of the usual hallmarks of a place of worship.

The Anglican Cathedral in Chch. 

One of the most beautiful alter coverings I've ever seen.

Chch is the largest city on the South Island and as such, there is much to find and explore.

Precautionary use of shipping containers in Sumner.

Sumner beach.

Botanic D'Lights at the Christchurch Botanical Gardens

Botanic D'Lights, an exhibit which lasts 5 days and turns the gardens into a winter wonderland.

IG: The Tannery became one of my very favorite places to visit. 

Grammatically off, philosophically on point.