New Zealand 2016 – Christchurch

12 h from LA to Fiji, then 4 more hours and here we are in Christchurch. Again. Only this time after big earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 have hit it. Really big ones. The city has changed, the feeling has changed here, people are very much affected. Driving through the residential areas you cant see much damages, but in the very center of the city they are like wounds or devastated empty fields. (Therefore lots of parking space in the center). The earthquakes have opened a can of quarrels and differences in opinions of whether to restore the damaged buildings or to build them new and modern. It reflects the same views in the suburbs – each house is cute, but very different from its neighbor – some are old style like in Europe, mostly, I guess, in England. Some are Art Deco style. Some are very ultra contemporary with clean lines. But all of them have gardens, flowers in abundance.  It can be compared to Portland, OR, or Canadian West, where it is very green and humid, so good for plants! Here are some pics. This is the house we are staying at, the right part is our bedroom:DSCN4213Dave, the retired journalist is our host, we feel very well here, I highly recommend to stay at his place! it is in a quiet neighborhood, Mairehau, and we have a chance to experience a stay in a real ‘Kiwi’s home and hear his stories. We found the place through Air B&B.

DSCN4218One of the very minimalist houses, looked peculiar to me :-). The sides of it have windows.

DSCN4221Andrei is celebrating his birthday.

DSCN4222Regency street in the center:

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DSCN4235This is what is left of their Cathedral…You can look into my old blog from Christchurch in 2009  -there is a picture of this cathedral intact. Now it is fenced and stays like this until authorities decide what to do…
DSCN4239 DSCN4248_9 Here is the municipal building which was very fancy and old…maybe they plan to restore it:DSCN4253

Today we visited the Art center. It has reopened recently after being repaired for 5 years, so they were celebrating – there was a playground for kids in front. The entry is free of charge and there was a booth with free organic ice cream-gelato for everyone! We ate dark chocolate and passion fruit – it was super tasty! The art center has so many windows – they were making terrible noise during the quakes, the employee told me, but none of those windows broke: DSCN4275 DSCN4276 DSCN4278 DSCN4283 Pop art…
DSCN4267 A view from the art center to Worchester street:DSCN4269 DSCN4256Going down Worchester street you reach the Canterbury museum, it looks like a church. but is filled with artifacts about their history and nature, even about expeditions to Antarctica, a very worth to be visited museum. The gate to Botanical gardens is right there and you enter something like paradise, New Zealand nature at its best:DSCN4297 DSCN4290 DSCN4301 DSCN4306DSCN4314Those are real colors, those are hydrangeas…DSCN4324 The begonia greenhouse takes one’s breaths away 🙂DSCN4327 DSCN4331 Dahlias – like in Lithuania (jurginai)…
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And their trees…They are the highlight of every park in NZ, I think, their variety and size has no competition in the world!DSCN4335 DSCN4338This little tree is still young, but is the rarest and oldest tree in the world, therefore is kept under a cage. There are less than 100 specimens left in Australia, and his little guy was raised not from seed but from some tissue in a lab, probably cloned, so that not to bring any bad parasite to New Zealand from Australia. It was growing in the times of dinosaurs,DSCN4344 DSCN4347_8 DSCN4349We spent the second day in Christchurch…It is an amazing city, so why not.Why to drive somewhere far away, while there are so many things to see here. It was a holiday, so again – very few cars on the streets, the center was very empty. Again we noticed big empty fields in the every center – they are cleaned from debris after the earthquakes and are waiting for investors, I guess. Here they brought a lot of ship containers, painted them beautifully, installed window sides and here is a nice shopping mall in one of devastated areas:DSCN4371DSCN4374DSCN4378Then we walked to the Canterbury museum again, checked Leonardo Da Vinci’s exposition – his paintings with descriptions, his engineering constructs, here is his musical instrument made like a head of a dragon:DSCN4389They have a piece of meteorite that fell onto Arizona – in exchange they gave and Arizona museum some Moa bones  -what an interesting exchange is going between museums! Moa was a big bird somewhat similar to ostrich, and which has been extinguished completely as a species before white people came here…DSCN4392There was an exhibit by Jeff Thomson who is doing art from old rippled roof covers:DSCN4397And then there are replicas of  little streets of the city in old times. I liked those glass decors in pharmacist’s window:DSCN4403The rest of the day was parks :-). The Hagley park is like Hyde park in London – a very big green area in the middle of the city and there are golf field, sports fields, etc. Botanical gardens are surrounded by the river loop and are also there. Close by there are many other parks, of which we visited only Mona Vale. But before it – we still walked more in the Botanical gardens and here are some more pics:DSCN4407 DSCN4410 DSCN4415 DSCN4417 DSCN4419It seems this tree has toes and nails 🙂DSCN4424This tree is from Chile and it is not a cactus. but a tree, very peculiar branches-leaves:DSCN4431 DSCN4436 DSCN4440 DSCN4442 DSCN4446 DSCN4451Here are some pics from Mona Vale which also has a mansion, but the earthquake damaged it and it is in repairs, so only the park for visitors:DSCN4467 DSCN4457 DSCN4461 DSCN4464 DSCN4470 DSCN4468Some more long walks through the city:DSCN4472St.Michael’s church:DSCN4369Christ’s college with a theater and two or three churches around the mall:DSCN4483 WP_20160207_20_25_17_ProGovernment:DSCN4489And lots of murals on available walls, especially in the places where houses are gone:WP_20160207_20_32_25_ProDSCN4493 The Carton Cathedral – built after the main one was damaged:DSCN4495At the end of the day we drove to their sea shore  -beautiful, people were bathing! seemed too cold and windy for us.DSCN4504