I am so glad we got the opportunity to spend some time in Christchurch. It has now been almost two years since the earthquake and I am so impressed with how they are re-building. There is still so much to do and everywhere you look there are construction sites, but the people there are amazing, and everyone we spoke to had such a positive attitude towards the future of Christchurch, it was an incredibly uplifting experience.
I didn't actually take a lot of photos in Christchurch, I feel that the city is still very much a work in progress at the moment and it kind of felt a little disrespectful, I definitely didn't think the photos would showcase the amazing city that it is, but I have no doubt that I will be back in Christchurch again and will hopefully be taking many photos of the inspirational new city that it is becoming. I also think that they are doing a great job of trying to conserve as much of the old Christchurch as they can. Along with new buildings, there was a lot of restoration happening to beautiful older buildings, and the new city is going to be such an interesting mix of Christchurch's history and the new beginning that they have all worked so hard to achieve.
Along with the construction sites there are many signs around the city outlining the future plans, there has been a lot of research and surveys done in order to determine what people are looking for in their city and the new design looks incredible. Read more about it here.
We did spend a little time in the Botanical Gardens which, although parts are still under construction, seems to be well on the way to recovery from the damage. It was here that I discovered a love for Dahlias, they are beautiful and bright and happy! What's not to love?
One of the highlights for me was the Re:START mall, and not just because I am a shopper! Nestled among the construction sites there is a mall that seemed to be growing by the day, part shops, part market stalls, and part makeshift stores in shipping containers, the Re:START mall is the small insight that you get into the future of Christchurch, and it is great! We decided what better way to boost the Christchurch economy than to do a little shopping?
Another highlight for me was a restaurant that we went to on our last night called Strawberry Fare. This restaurant was divine. Their philosophy is all about fresh ingredients cooked well, and they deliver! They use organic and local produce and their desserts, in particular, are absolutely delicious. The highlight for me was this amazing Pecan Pie, a must try if you are in the area...
I think my experience in Christchurch was the perfect way to end my holiday. I knew that I would feel sad being there, and what happened was an absolute tragedy. But I was not really prepared for the overwhelming sense of hope and determination I felt from the people of Christchurch. In the window of a completely gutted kitchen showroom there was a sign that said "Our Showroom is broken, but our Canterbury spirit is not" and to me this absolutely summed up my experience in Christchurch. If you get an opportunity to go, I would highly recommend it. I will most definitely be returning.