Why I Love Christchurch

It’s Labour Weekend here in New Zealand this weekend.  Time to get in to the garden and have some downtime before the rush of Christmas.  The weather can be a bit changeable, and all week I’d been watching the forecast as my sister and her partner were flying in on Friday night for the weekend.  Well, we’ve had fine weather, but yesterday that easterly blew and boy it blew cold.  So taking Lance around the city was a rather cold walk!

We went to Strange’s Lane – the new “cool” venue in town.  Remember, we have few of these still.  I hadn’t had a chance to go and as you can’t book in the restaurants, I thought a lunch time visit on a holiday weekend may be quicker and not require such a wait.  Tucked in around tiny lanes around the bottom of the rather well designed Leigh’s Construction triangular office block, Strange’s Lane incorporates Vespa Bar, Strange & Co, Lower 9th Diner and Orleans.  We chose to try and eat at Orleans, and as it was only 12.30 we were seated straight away, offered drinks and given menus.  Fabulous place with recycling you wouldn’t dream of from the street frontage, this rather cool jazzy bar offered a tapas style menu and we were very happy with the offerings.

Blackened Chicken Po Boy

Blackened Chicken Po Boy

My sister and I both had Po Boy’s (Sandwich) – mine the chicken, she had the beef.  Lance had Chicken Waffles.  We had a wee taste of each others and the chicken waffle idea is quite simply brilliant.  Very tasty food, accompanied with curly fries and a hot chipotle mayo…. yum!

We did indulge and share a dessert, Lance had baked cheesecake and Miriam and I shared the Beignets (with peanut caramel sauce).  Light and delicious – this is a place you could happily eat dessert and not feel full from.

We ventured home for a bit of a feet up, re-gather ourselves and I cooked some chicken and salad for dinner before we headed out again!

In Christchurch, since the earthquakes, we often make our own fun!  There are still very few venues.  For the last three years, at Labour weekend, we have been lucky to have the FESTA events.  Festa is a Festival of Transitional Architecture.  The first year we had Lux City (lights), last year was the Canterbury Tales, and this year there was City Ups.  While these aren’t the only features of the festival (it includes things like walks, talks, cinema, theatre, art installations) City Ups was the “headline act” so to speak.  For one night only, two blocks around High Street, Manchester Street and Lichfield Street are taken over.  The event included night markets, and interesting transitional architecture.  While I did hear someone say “if this is the future of Christchurch, God help us” in reference to outdoor dance parties and glowing tubes, my personal opinion is FESTA is brilliant.  The transitional architecture is just that – transitional.  The whole area was full of people of all ages, with great dance music pumping from various installations and lots of good natured people wandering around, eating, drinking, browsing stalls and mingling.  It was a community in action.  I myself think this is a great event.  It’s just a shame that the easterly meant it was a freezing cold night to wander around.  It didn’t stop us having some fun though!  We finished up with a hot chocolate at one of Christchurch’s mainstays – C1 cafe.


For the rest of the weekend we have no plans – today we’ve done the traditional “gardening” with Lance and Miriam helping me tidy up the slightly overgrown shabby trees.  We’re enjoying a quiet drink in the sunshine and have no plans but to now take stock and chill out.  After all… Christmas is coming.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are some of my shots from FESTA.

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One response to “Why I Love Christchurch

  1. I love the sound of FESTA. So much creativity seems to have come out of the destruction involved in the earthquakes. A side point but the ‘gallery’ photos are fantastic!! (it works really well this end to see photos like that – I love the auto transition and captions.)

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