City of recovery

Christchurch is a city that’s recovering from the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. We are a few years further now, but the damage is still visible throughout the city. It is strange to see empty plots where once there’d been buildings. Some buildings still stand, but have obvious damage. You can see they were attached to another building that has been demolished. Some buildings have thick wires sticking out of the concrete. Some roofs have fallen down.

The most famous monument, Christchurch Cathedral, on Cathedral Square, is left for everyone to see what the quakes have done. I find myself staring at the cathedral through the fence that surrounds it. I see a big part of the roof has collapsed and birds are sitting where stained glass windows are supposed to be. You can still see that the church was beautiful, but its beauty is overshadowed by the decay.

I try to imagine what the city must have looked like just after the earthquakes. I try to imagine what it must have been like. I can’t. I see some evidence, but it is surrounded by life, by art, by beauty. Christchurch has been working on a new city. There is a mall made out of shipping containers. There are temporary bars and shops everywhere. It’s a work in progress. The city is dressed in fences, diggers and orange pylons.

Walking around the city I find many interesting things. There is a lot of graffiti, from full size wall-art to funny drawings on a parking garage. There is a new cathedral that is made out of cardboard tube, hence the name cardboard cathedral. I have an awesome burger at a funky looking restaurant called Burgers and Beers. In the RE:start mall they sell ice cream made from fresh berries.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. A stroll through the city and the botanical gardens is free. The interesting sites are well signposted throughout the city. Bordering the botanical gardens is the Canterbury museum, which has entry by donation. The museum has some cool dioramas and shops in old-school style. It is definitely worth a visit.

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