As you probably know, my friend Amanda came to visit back in late March and early April. We spent a night in Sydney and then a week in Canberra before heading off to Christchurch, New Zealand for a long weekend.

I am a very lucky person/awful host because Amanda planned our trip to NZ – the flights, the hostel, the rental car. But Amanda’s good at things like that and I am very grateful to be along for the ride because trip planning stresses me out. I was also really glad we went to Christchurch. While it’s probably not quite the city it once was, it’s certainly a resilient community that has stood together to rebuild and renew post-earthquakes. It was amazing to see the city going about it’s business as usual, amongst necessary construction and repair.

One of the most unique things about the city is how they’ve rebuilt their mall, now called Re:START. Stores and food stalls have reopened their doors in colorful shipping containers clustered where the former mall used to stand. It is a heartening sight to see, and a very innovative one as well. It’s a fun area to wander around, grab a coffee, and visit the boutiques and souvenir stores that have reopened.

Amanda and I stayed in the Jailhouse Accommodation – an old jail that closed in 1999 – and the place always seemed to be bustling. We rode on the recently reopened Gondola {pictured above} and got a bird’s eye view of the entire city, including a stunning harbor, but also some of the lingering devastation. Christchurch is still a beautiful city in many ways, but the toll of numerous earthquakes has made it’s mark on the area and as I looked around, it was difficult not to feel sorrow for all that was lost and the pain the region must have endured.

That being said, the people of Christchurch are resilient. It is a friendly community that isn’t wallowing in tragedy. It’s rebuilding, holding improv shows, entertaining tourists, eating and drinking, and moving on. It’s an amazing place to visit, and I think it is only getting better.

.: Delicious sangria at the Flying Burrito Brothers Cantina & Tequileria :.

 

.: Riding the Gondola :.

.: Re: START, the shipping container mall :.

 

.: Quirk amidst construction near the city’s center :.

 

.: Picturesque views from a scenic drive around the moutains :.