Tuesday, December 17, 2013

11/24 - 12/09 - A visit to the Garden City

It was planned since I joined my new company that I will make a trip to our branch office in Christchurch, New Zealand and finally I made the trip.

Two days of traveling and flying around the globe via Dubai, Bangkok and Sydney brought me to the Garden City of Christchurch where I should stay in the Chateau on the Park for the next two weeks. Of course I was there for work but I also found some time in the evening and on the weekend for several activities. The visit to the seal colony and the whale watching in Kaikoura will be a separate report as the excursion to the Lake Tekapo and Pukaki.

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The Chateau on the Park

The Chateau on the Park

The Chateau on the Park

End of November, beginning of December... late spring, early summer in New Zealand... the perfect time to escape the arriving winter in Switzerland while staying in a hotel which is located opposite of a wonderful and big park in the middle of Christchurch. So I took the chance for several times to go there for a walk which also took me to Christchurch Downtown. I was aware of the devastement of the 2011 earthquake but I think you have to see it to image what it really did to the town. Whole areas are dead! No people, no cars, no birds. Just dead silence. Empty houses, closed roads. It looks like the destroyed city after a war. Here are some of my impressions that I had during my walk through the more or less empty streets.

Hagley Park

Cathedral of Christchurch


Destroyed buildings

A picture says more than 1000 words

Construction zones and diggers

Closed roads everywhere

A scenery like after a war

The way through the park also brought me to the Botanical Gardens, very nice but also very british... as the whole city of Christchurch.

Botanical garden

Rose garden

Rose garden

One of the undamaged locations is a Whisky bar called "The Last Word", a place which is definitely worth the visit. A nice selection of Single Malt Whiskys (and I am talking not about the standard stuff but also a lot of bottlings from Independents) in a very chilly atmosphere.

The Last Word

Enjoying a tasty Laphroaig from Berry's Own Selection

Unfortunately the city is as smoker-unfriendly as most places around the wold nowadays. No smoking inside but luckily no big issue at this time of the year, therefore I enjoyed my after dinner cigar always outside...

Quintero Favoritos

Partagas Series D No. 4 from 2003

Ramon Allones Allones Extra, EL 2011

Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona from 1998

Xmas and CocaCola... two things which go together since many years in many countries around the world... here in Christchurch is an event called "Christmas in the Park", taking place since 1993, attracting thousands of people which come from all directions to the Hagley Park to enjoy an open air concert and the final fireworks which ends the whole show. Merry Xmas in the summertime, very unusual for me as an European!

Christmas in the Park

A big part of the park is part of a golf course... which was full of people on a Saturday morning while I was enjoying another cigar in the sunshine... it was a lot of fun to watch those people with different skills... ;-)

The way back home gave me two stops, one in Bangkok and another one in Dubai. Both cities had some nice and warm weather, the last chance to enjoy it before returing to cold Switzerland.

I took my chance in Bankgok, where I'd a 14 hour stop over to walk around and get some "rolling food" at the street... tasty stuff for nearly nothing, especially if you are used to our price level.

One night in Bangkok

Rolling food

Breakfast time


Open Air Restaurant

Hey man!

Stop over in Dubai

Cars at night