We started the day in Kaikoura with a quick stop at the local patchwork shop. A Patch of Country is a cute little house packed with quilting fabric and supplies, yarn and knitting patterns and handmade children’s clothing. I was picking through the New Zealand designed fat quarters, then decided what the heck and bought the full Kiwiana kit with all the fabrics.

I got the green and black kit

The road to Christchurch was filled with more beautiful beaches and countryside, but you’re probably getting tired of hearing how beautiful it is here, so here are some fun photos of a semi driving through a little tiny one-lane tunnel.

And one more cute church because they’re everywhere

We arrived in Christchurch too late for lunch and too early for dinner, but we stumbled upon Pedro’s House of Lamb Takeaway. They weren’t officially open but were nice enough to put a meal together for us. Pedro’s is a trailer in a liquor store parking lot and they have one selection on their menu: whole baked lamb shoulder with rosemary and garlic and scalloped potatoes. $40 NZD ($26 USD), perfect for two! I asked the two gentlemen working the counter which was Pedro. Turns out Pedro is their uncle. He had a restaurant in Christchurch for 35 years, but it fell in the 2011 earthquake, so now they have the takeaway. Super friendly guys and the lamb and potatoes were fantastic.

Properly fortified, we started off on a self-designed 4-hour walking tour of Christchurch. Stop #1: Two Thumb Brewing. We arrived just as the manager Ned was opening for the day (the day being 3:00-6:00 PM). He offered us a tour and tasting, but as we could see the whole brewery from the counter we opted for tasting only. Ned served us their Kolsch, pale ale, oatmeal stout, and Steamwork. These are some of the best beers we’ve tried in New Zealand, and I was particularly fond of the stout. They do small batch brewing and sell mainly to local bars and restaurants. They also fill growlers and plastic liter bottles on site. Ned was full of information and explained that the excise tax makes it very expensive to produce beer here. (Connor, we were going to get you one of their cool shirts, but they only had mediums…sorry.)

Have I mentioned the cicadas?

Next ,we walked along the Avon River into the city center. There is a lot of rebuilding going on and the skyline is filled with cranes. The cathedral was fenced off and many other stone buildings were also under reconstruction.

The Rose window was a complete loss

Interesting plant covered building for April

Shawn checking out a chess game (the pylon is the red queen)

There is a transitional cathedral, also known as the Cardboard Cathedral. A few weeks after the earthquake, one of the cathedral staff saw an article in an NZ design magazine about a Japanese “emergency architect” that designed a cardboard church after the Kobe quake. Shigeru Ban designed the cardboard cathedral. It is made of cardboard, local wood, and steel with a polished concrete floor and a polycarbonate roof. It is built to 130% of the current NZ earthquake code and is designed to last at least 50 years. Choir practice was underway when we walked in. The acoustics were impressive for a ceiling made of cardboard tubes.

I have always liked graffiti for its bold lines, graphic designs and bright colors. It amazes me the art someone can make with cans of spray paint. While there is a lot of bad tagging on many of the condemned buildings, there is also some fabulous graffiti art. Here are a few samples.

After all that walking and sightseeing, we needed to rest our tired dogs and quench our thirst, so we stopped at Pomeroy’s Pub for a sampling of local brews. I must admit my draw to the place was the associated Beer Baroness Brewing Company because cool chicks brew their own beer. We sampled the following:

  • Twisted Hop Oatmeal Stout (Cask)
  • Beer Baroness Unite 2.0 Stout
  • Two Thumb Amber Ale (Cask)
  • Raindogs Deadwood IPA (Cask)
  • 8 Wired Hopwired
  • Sprig & Fern Berry Cider

I was partial to the Baroness’ stout and Shawn liked the Hopwired. Feeling rejuvenated, we hoofed it back to our room at the Bellano Motel Suites. As we were voraciously consuming the free wi-fi, the room started shaking with a 4.3 aftershock. The adventure never ends…

Daily ratings:
A Patch of Country – 4 Kiwis
Pedro’s House of Lamb – 5 Kiwis
Two Thumb Brewing – 4.5 Kiwis
Pomeroy’s Pub – 4 Kiwis
Bellamo Motel Suites – 4 Kiwis

Steps taken = 14,692 (all in flip-flops, yes I’m still bitter about the loss of my Keens)

(p.s. between the slow Internet and lousy iPad Blogger interface I cannot spell check, so please pardon my typos)