arriving in christchurch after midnight, there was little else to do after assembling the bicycle then to get some hours of sleep in the designated rest area. bicycle touring seems to be so popular in new zealand that they even have a bicycle assembly area with a bike stand to assist while piecing the bike together again. after a sunny week in melbourne it was considerable colder and the sunshine was replaced by a constant drizzle.
i’d already heard about the earthquake which hit the city in february but was still surprised about how much of the city center is still closed. some streets look like a part of a ghost town or movie set.
others are busy with workers and heavy machinery to stabilize buildings or tear those down which are beyond repair. after the earthquake the city council invited citizens to contribute with their ideas to the rebuilding process. it is still to be seen how many of these ideas see the light of reality but it already helped the spirit in christchurch despite the growing number of people leaving the city or even the country.
once again i found a host here to stay for the first two days. so i had some time to get accustomed to the new country, people and currency, to organize maps, a new zealand phone number and some supplies. since i fly out of christchurch as well i was able to leave some gear at my hosts place to lose weight before starting over the highest pass of the south island, the arthur’s pass.