From the snowy Hanmer mountains we drove Southeast, through the Canterbury Plains, on to Christchurch.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island, with just under 400k inhabitants.
The scars from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes are still visible in the city center:
The ChristChurch Cathedral, erected in the beginning of the last century, was one of the historical buildings severely affected by the tremors:
While a long-term replacement is defined, a transitional facility was built across Latimer Square:
Commonly known as “The Cardboard Cathedral” (the official name being “Transitional Cathedral”), it was built in a clever, mechanically efficient structure, using tubes made of – you guessed it – cardboard (dully treated for strength and durability):
The mosaic in the front was built with modern translucid material, based on images from the original cathedral’s main one:
Raquel, with her like for keyboards, was particularly interested in the Cathedral’s organ – a recent model which probably speaks closer to her heart:
From there, we walked along Latimer Square – one of the many within and around downtown …
… on to a large open-air, public playground …
… which the kids enjoyed thoroughly:
The walk went on, taking us to Cathedral Square (where the old Cathedral is located), where the prominent Chalice – a sculpture installed in 2010 and which resisted the earthquakes – represents 42 of the main plants of New Zealand:
There, a large-scale chess game drew the kids’ attention for a while …
Whereas ours (the adults’ attention) was oriented towards the many huge murals which adorn some of the building’s facades:
Christchurch is an artsy town, and even the pattern of the tram’s rail against the block paving seems to have been made with attention to aesthetics:
The tram is mostly for touristic purposes, circling the city center from the modern buildings of High Street …
… and the heritage shop houses of New Regent Street …
… highlighting the contrasts between the Modern and Incumbent on this historic city, a contrast forced by nature and which forged the strong character and personality of this place.
Two days was not enough, and we left Christchurch with a craving to see and enjoy more of its charm.
But for the time being, we had more places to go.