20/02/16, Day 23, Hanmer Springs to Christchurch

I slept quite poorly last night. Probably a combination of too much happening yesterday morning and being lazy in the afternoon. I really shouldn’t sleep during the day 🙂 But sometimes I just can’t help myself…

I got up around 0700 and was on my bike some 30 minutes later. What followed was a very nice downhill ride, with the winds of a former tropical typhoon at my tale 🙂 It was quite to not have to fight for every kilometer, but finally get some free milage instead. I rode a 160k, climbed some 850 meters and reached my destination without feeling completely exhausted for a change 🙂

Scenery was not too stunning though… The first bit out of the mountains was nice, but then the landscape soon turned into farmlands again. There is too much farmland in this country. I do think they should plant some extra trees here… 

Right before riding into Christchurch I decided I wanted to see the sea again, so I took a slight detour along the coast. After that I made my way into town, found my hostel, changed clothes and then went exploring.

It is very clear that the city still has some wounds after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. There are many big parking lots in the city center, where ones stood buildings. There are no tall buildings left in the city either. The highest buildings, resp 26 and 21 layers high, have been demolished after the 2011 earthquake. Many older buildings are still damaged, among which the Anglican Church Cathedral. The Anglican church originally wanted to demolish it, but after a lot of lobbying, restoration works will finally start around easter. Expected duration is 10 years! And it will take two years alone to stabilize the soil underneath the cathedral!

Simultaneously a lot of work has been done. A lot of new buildings have been built, and the city has clearly invested in public space. So while at places the city feels soulless and a bit sad, other areas simultaneously have a nice buzz. So even though I never planned on coming here, it was quite nice to see how a city can recover from a cataclysmic event like a destructing earthquake, even though they still got some work to do.

During diner I investigated whether heading back to the west coast still was an option. Time wise it seems feasible, but  the weather seems to stay quite poor until next weekend. And unfortunately i’m not so pure that I would voluntarily opt to cycle through rain and wind. I must say that it annoyed me a bit, because everyone I talked to said that the west coast is stunning. And after today I felt a bit afraid that I would just be cycling through farmland for the rest of my time here. My brother and parents said that I had nothing to worry about, so I won’t. Lets see what the next few days have in stock. 

Scenery started quite well!

Very well!

Hope to see much more of this!

Farmland. And bad weather over the alps, all the way to the west coast 😦

Always nice to reach the sea again 🙂

Proper waves…

Christchurch Cathedral still in ruins…

Quite fascinating actually…

There is still a lot of damage…

Even more modern structures took quite a beating…

But there is optimism 🙂

And some places got a real nice buzz to it 🙂

Very nice!

Good to see they are getting on top of things…

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