I woke up early to head to the airport for a work trip to Christchurch. I was excited because:
- I have never been to Christchurch
- I was finally getting to meet team members with whom I have only worked remotely
The mood for my epic day trip was set upon arriving at Wellington Airport where I was greeted by Gandalf on his giant eagle. I quickly took some photos, although this was difficult as people were now pouring in to the food court from arrivals.
Thankfully Air New Zealand provided an actual plane, and not a giant eagle for the trip to Christchurch. This was far less exciting, especially when we had to wait for nearly an hour while they did safety checks and cleared out "a significant amount of grass" from the engine.
We finally got underway and the view was spectacular.
Landing in Christchurch, it was a grey overcast day:
Re-building a City
As many buildings in the city centre have had to be demolished, there are now large open areas which will in time be filled with new buildings. In the meantime, they become makeshift carparks and spaces for art installations.
Art is Everywhere.
The first thing I noticed in the city centre is that there are sculptures and street art everywhere. Most of these works, such as the 'Stand Tall' giraffes have been erected after the earthquake.
I also loved this little bronze dog nosing a dropped ice cream cone - he was part of a group of three, but I only got the chance to snap one photo!
In some cases the destruction of one building has revealed hidden art or signage on the side of another - I loved this vintage advertisement revealed on the side of this building:
Our team met at EPIC (Enterprise Precinct Innovation Centre) Christchurch:
After a morning of coffee and brain-storming, we went on a quick walking tour of the city centre.
Lunch was delicious, a souvlaki from the famous Christchurch Dimitri's Greek Food, now set up in the container mall.
After lunch we walked to Cathedral Square to see Christchurch Cathedral. The cathedral is surrounded by barriers to prevent people getting too close, but you can walk inside the Planted Whare to view the front of the Cathedral.
Just as I was turning around to leave the whare, I happened to look up and saw this sign taped to the roof inside:
We walked back through the city centre to Epic stopping for coffee on the way.
One thing that I think is very hard to convey is the complete lack of buldings in some areas, these two panoramas give a better idea of what it is like:
There is also an effort to preserve heritage building facades. Packing containers are being put to good use propping up the front of these buildings while work is done to restore the facade.
I wish we could have stopped longer at the cafe. The sliders and other food items are delivered directly to your table by pneumatic tubes on the ceiling!
By the end of the day we had drunk a lot of coffee and were ready for a break.
On the way back to the car there were yet more art installations!
Luckily Air New Zealand moved my flight home due to the delay of my morning flight. I was able to spend more time hanging out with my work-mates and not be in a rush to get to the airport.
After a long day I headed home on a tiny plane to Wellington.
I had a really great day in Christchurch and I hope to be back again soon when I have more time to explore!