24 April 2016
Our room at the Heritage Hotel in Christchurch exceeded our expectations, it was fabulous. Our second floor suite had a washer and dryer, a full (if small) kitchen, plush robes, a desk, a living room and dining area and most importantly, really good mattresses! The room was light and open and the hotel is located right on Cathedral Square!
The hotel occupies what was once a government building of the Italian Renaissance style. Built in 1909 it was reinforced with earthquake protection in 1990 when it was converted to a hotel, which is why is stands while so much of the surrounding area is damaged and held up with scaffolding.
The large earthquake of 2011 did tremendous damage to the city and they are still trying to get repairs done. There is controversy about whether or not they will spend the money to repair the Cathedral which is very badly damaged. It is easy to understand both points of view, particularly considering the number of earthquakes in this region, the most recent was in February of this year!
To give the worshipers a new church one was constructed and opened a few years after the 2011 earthquake a few blocks from the Cathedral. Named the Cardboard Cathedral it is constructed from shipping containers and cardboard tubes. (Pictured at the top of this blog post.)
Once beautiful and vibrant Christchurch is still trying to recover from the earthquake. We took the trolley around the city center and visited the botanical gardens and the Canterbury Museum.
We spend two days in Christchurch before our grueling trip home. We upgraded to business class because we couldn’t bear the thought of the long trip home in such discomfort. It was worth every cent. While waiting (a very long wait – in fact we could have driven home in the time we spent waiting) in LAX I vowed never to fly again. It’s too bad that greed has made traveling so cramped and uncomfortable. Alas, it is the way it is! It took me about two days home to start thinking about my next trip!