A Word on Christchurch

I'm backtracking a bit here. The day before the wedding was kind of frantic. Henry had to be in the centre of Christchurch by 9.15 am as he had an appointment at the barbers. Freya and I had an appointment later for a shape and polish of our nails. I had never had a manicure before and Henry had never had a shave at a barbers. Two new experiences - we are not normally the kind of people to go in for this sort of thing but there was a special occasion coming up.

However, parking in Christchurch was a nightmare. When we visited in 2003/2004 we parked by the Botanic Gardens at Hagley Park, where our kids enjoyed the open air pool. The satnav didn't seem to help as Henry missed a couple of turnings and we ended up with a nail-biting finish with on-street parking by a dead-end where construction was going on. Henry raced to the barbers, slightly late. Dare I say it, it was a close shave (sorry!).

Christchurch was like a building site, following the 2011 earthquake. There were cranes everywhere, half-finished buildings, construction noise … and the cathedral! Cathedral Square was unrecognizable. We struggled to get our bearings. The cathedral itself looked like it had been bombed. Half of it remained, the spire in a separate place. There is a temporary Cardboard Cathedral for worship somewhere in the city, (we didn't see it) but it looked as if they were unsure whether to re-build the old one. Was it too much of a risk? Maybe it is just time-consuming.

Saddened, we left. We also had to take the motorhome back to Britz (got lost!) and things were a bit stressful. We thought we could take leftover food back to the depot for other people to use (we had acquired some at Auckland) but there was no area for it here. They wanted you to buy it instead! 
The Omega car rental was right next to the motorhome depot and Henry went to pick up the car.

We were in a car now! A Mazda Premacy that had the indicators and wiper controls round the wrong way for Henry, who kept putting the wipers on! Definitely not needed as the day was a scorcher.

We made it to Akaroa just before sunset, viewing it from the balcony that was off a room Freya immediately decided was hers at the bed and breakfast venue. Henry and I had a downstairs room and our en suite had a spa bath. There were flowers in every single room, even the bathrooms - white lilies, yellow gladioli, and some I didn't recognize. We had bought a few flowers from Christchurch but our host said we could help ourselves to some from the garden, so we went round choosing roses and ferns and adding them to the bouquet I made. Henry made boutonnieres for himself and Joe.
After ironing our clothes we were all set for the next day...