We decided to spend five nights in Christchurch so we could enjoy some of our favorite restaurants, the warm weather and just relax for a few days before the long trip back to the States. We found a lot of new things in Christchurch since we flew to McMurdo last August. Of them was the Pallet Pavilion. This is a community gathering space which sits on the lot where the Crown Plaza used to be. The Crown Plaza is the hotel we used to stay in before the Earthquakes, which has since been demolished. Here are some photos of the Pallet Pavilion. It's such a simple concept, but looks really neat and really catches your eye as you walk down the street.
These signs are at one of the entrances. They read "No Heels", "No Smoking", "No Climbing" and "Uneven Surface, Please Take Care".
There's a stage for live performances, a bar, free Wifi and various vendors selling things.
On Friday February 22nd, we gathered with hundreds of other people in the Cashel Street Container Mall for a service commemorating the 185 people who lost their lives in the Earthquake. Everyone observed two minutes of silence at 12:51 which was two years ago to the minute that the earthquake struck.
Although 90% of the damaged buildings in the central business district have now been demolished, it was good to actually see a crane that was being used to build a new building.
On Saturday the 23rd we spent the afternoon in Hagley Park enjoying the Great Kiwi Beer Festival.
Here are Kelly & Susie.
Dave & Kelly at the Beer Festival.
Dave & Susie
There were 40 different breweries and just as many food vendors to chose from as well as live music. It was the perfect way to spend our first weekend back from Antarctica.
After the Beer Fest we stopped off at one of our favorite new places, the Revival Container Bar. This is one of the many bars that have sprung up on vacant lots in the city.
The whole bar is made out of shipping containers and is a popular spot on a summer afternoon.
On Sunday we walked through the Botanical Gardens to enjoy the smells and colors of the flowers.
A multitude of color
Kelly posing with these penguin topiary's.
Kelly surrounded by dahlias
A beautiful New Year Rose
Dave taking time to smell the roses
An interesting sculpture in the gardens
Later that afternoon we spent a little time relaxing by the pool at our hotel. The following day we awoke at 2:45 am, left for the airport at 4:00 and caught the first of our 4 flights (totaling 36 hours) back to Yakima, WA where we are now staying with Kelly's parents.