Farmers Market & Downhills
27.04.2013 - 28.04.2013 16 °C
We were up early and after a quick breakfast drove straight to the farmers market. It was early with the advertised start time of 9 am we expected them still to be setting up but it was already in full swing, and luckily quite quiet. We tucked into hot drinks as we wondered around the stalls, sampling the diverse food available: from breads and chutneys to South African style ribs.
There was a vey busy cheese stand which caught our eye, we wondered over to see what all the fuss was about and a few minutes later walked away with 4 different cheeses, all from New Zealand, which fitted our brief: strong flavours. We even got a taste of home with a sample of Cheshire cheese that the guy running the stall was detailing to another customer in his northern English accent.
We had decided to have the cheese for tea, along with some sourdough bread and smoked salmon all found at the market. We also got some apples and other veg, all in all a successful morning.
Next we wanted to have a look around Christchurch so we parked up next to the park and walked in the beautiful autumnal sunshine into the 'town centre'. Since the earth quake two years ago the central business district (CBD) which was so badly damaged by the quake (the epicentre was 10 km outside of the city and occurred only 5 km down from the earth surface) has been cordoned off whilst repairs, demolition and rebuilds are carried out, progress appears to be quite slow with some buildings still standing, empty shells which from the outside, beyond the fencing which has been erected, look perfectly 'normal' whilst others have been totally flattered. As you walk around the wider city, brick walls to to people's gardens still lye in piles next to the collapsed wall, some facades to houses and buildings are still supported by support structures as they undergo or wait for repairs.
I was quite surprised to see how much rebuilding was still needing to be done, you hear about places on the news but they quickly get replaced by more 'exciting' news articles, the press, guided by the demand for the next sensational headlines, soon forget to cover the 'old stories' and I didn't imagine that work would still be going on to sort out the utilities before the buildings can be sorted out. Apparently the after tremors have also hindered this with them still being felt a year after the initial quake: apparently movement is still going on but is happening out to sea now.
It was strange to see a city and buildings so deserted. It was quite sobering, we were fortunate enough to be just visiting and so were able to escape back through the park, where there were remote controlled boats being raced around a course on the lake soon lifted our spirits whilst I felt a new sense of respect for the resilience of those who call Christchurch home.
We ate lunch on a bench in the park before setting off for our next destination: Akaroa. A beautiful little town set on the edge of the sheltered inlet of Akaroa harbour on the Banks peninsula. There was some fabulous sights en route, again resulting in us pulling over for a quick photo and a closer gawp, one stretch of downhill road gave me a new freewheel record: 6.5 km!
On arrival in Akaroa we sorted out the van and then went for a wander around town, stopping to have a drink at one of the hotels/pubs.
Next stop was the fish and chip shop (as recommended in the LP) where we picked up some sweet potato fries accompanied by home made aioli which we ate sitting on a bench looking out over the water....perfect. These were of course our entree as back at the van we had our market feast to tuck into, washed down with a glass or two of wine from the boutique vineyard in Blenheim it was a wonderful feast of flavours.