Monday, January 17, 2011

South: Christmas in Christchurch

After recuperating in Nelson, we ventured on to Kaikoura, the whale watching town. This included a really beautiful coastal drive, with such clear turquoise water. The beaches were grey pebbled. When we got to town, we all decided whale watching was too pricy, though now I think we wished we had! So instead, we went to the beach and had a lazy day. Now the water looked nice, but it was freezing. So cold. And even more than that, the pebbles really hurt your feet. So swimming did not really happen. On the way to Kaikoura we stopped at a seal colony, which was pretty cool, but not as sweet as my sea lion buds in Oregon. They are my favourite!
In Kaikoura we spent our first night camping. It was not the most pleasant. But there was a nice sunset. So you win some, you lose some. Onward to Christchurch!

I really, really liked Christchurch. I wish we would have had more time there, earthquakes aside. From this trip, I think I have found that I enjoy being in new cities a lot, using maps to get around them, exploring and just browsing through. Christchurch felt friendly and a nice size. We stayed in a hostel right on the main square which was really awesome too. The square has a massive Anglican cathedral, a few sculptures, a little market, a chess set, and was just kind of a nice hang out.
My favourite sculpture
At first it seemed that there was a ton of construction going on in Christchurch; then I realized they were rebuilding from the earthquake in September. There was a lot of damage. Entire blocks of buildings were closed, which makes you wonder what the owners do for income. Hopefully they have good insurance I guess!
We were a little out of it from camping when we first arrived, so got checked in and took it easy for the day. Andrew and I had a nice lunch in the sun, then we just hung out. We stopped at the i-desk and tried to do some planning. A wonderful, wonderful employee came and took over for us; I think she could see we were lost and just bossed us into shape. Thank you so much! It was such a nice feeling for someone to tell us where we wanted to go, help with all the hostel bookings and just take care of us.
The next day was Christmas Eve, which I’ve shared about a bit. We headed down to the beach to do some surfing. I have never surfed on Christmas Eve before, and I would like to again. However, surfing is not one of my natural talents. One day, one day. Andrew was pretty decent, and I finally get to date/be married to a surfer. Life dream realized.
We had pizza from Pizza Hut that evening in the Enns family tradition and headed to a late night carol singing service and mass at the Anglican cathedral. That was probably the biggest church service I have ever attended.
Christmas day we went back to the beach and just lounged. We bbqed hot dogs and shrimp (yes, put another shrimp on the barbie was said a few times!) and just had a good time.
Too hilarious not to post!
Merry kiwi Christmas in retrospect!
P.S. Boxing day was pretty exciting too!

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