Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Signs Seen @ Wellington Ferry Terminal

Make of them what you will.

Through The Park And Into Christchurch

On Tuesday we fortified ourselves with the help of a great little motel kitchen before walking back through the park and botanic gardens into Christchurch.

Look at these beauties, like paintings in the wild.

This otherworldly plant turns out to be a verbena variant from western China.

The scale is difficult to capture. We have a plant like this, given to us 26 years ago by Chris and Lisa as a housewarming gift for Division Street. It's been cut back repeatedly but continues to sprout new growth. If it keeps up, we may have to move somewhere with an open-air roof.

Out of the park and into the city.

We head for re:START, clever means of re-establishing the CBD while a city is rebuilt after a crippling earthquake. Via The Guardian (Jan 2014)...
The most violent quake, on 22 February 2011, killed 181 people. Thousands more were made homeless, and an area more than four times the size of London's Hyde Park was deemed uninhabitable. 

Food courts and retail in boxes

Bookshop tender, lovely guy (aren't they all?). I picked up All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction.

Selling nicotine liquid for e-cigs is apparently not legal for shop owners in NZ (uh oh). Only chemists are legally permitted to sell it, and they don't. This despite the fact that a good friend of mine purchased some at the hemp shop in Auckland. Hmmm.

In its former location

More city vistas.

Tiny street library

Did you know?

More from The Guardian.
Until recently, you could look through the dusty windows of a closed down cafe and still see an untouched 22 February 2011 edition of the local newspaper. And while creative novelties such as a retail mall made entirely out of steel shipping containers draw increasing numbers of visitors, the city's other main attraction is the battered and broken cathedral in the middle of the main square – a monument to what was endured.

Alongside the cathedral on the square, a small hopeful structure.

Much dissent over the cathedral.

In spite of the wreckage (and there is much more, not pictured because it's a vast heartbreak), Christchurch is a graceful city, with walkways of generous proportion as well as tiny side streets to explore.

These homes are right downtown.

I spy an urgent left turn.

The real thing, on a miniature side street.

Yes, please. Sourdough bread, olive oil-based herb spread, and pate. Anyone sensing a return-trip homemade train sandwich?

Apologies for the abbreviated backstory of the Christchurch earthquake, which left so much of this city in ruins (we're having serious internet challenges). It's sobering, especially in the wake of the Nepal quake, to walk in a still-struggling city four years after the fact.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hagley Park + Christchurch Botanic Gardens

The Christchurch Botanic Gardens, located in the central city of Christchurch, New Zealand, were founded in 1863[1] when an English oak was planted to commemorate the solemnisation of the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

 51 acres of bliss

On our walk toward the gardens, we stumbled on this:

Watch out, players, these courts have an edge. Are the rules different?

Sister Holly won the US Easter tourney (well, the family Easter tourney, though truth be told they can get a bit competitive).

 Art for scale...

An elegant conservatory stands at the head of...

...the Central Rose Garden

Walking its paths was dreamy, autumn roses the sweetest in my book.

Noble support

Rosa Absolutely Fabulous

Art liked the density of the surrounding hedge, which he could lean on.

What an inspiring walk. Time for a flat white at the visitor center cafe, perfectly sited near, but not too near, the edge of the park where it meets the city.

The cafe

Chocolate mint mousse jar. Hmmm.

Looks just right and tastes even better. Art's the best mousse-maker I know, and it rivaled his.

A portion of the visitor center/cafe is occupied by the plant nursery, with automatic shades that drop down on sunny days to protect tender starts.

Aflame in autumn. Excuse me, please. I'm having a hydrangea moment.

It's raining, it's pouring. After crossing into the city and glimpsing some art on the YMCA we scurry back to our motel laundry.