I can't talk about Christchurch without talking about the devastating earthquake that occurred here last year at this time. They actually had 2 quakes last year, but the last one was so close to the surface and caused so much damage and over 160 deaths. It has really hurt this town, which is known as the "garden city". We drove around on a "ticky tour" on our way out of town, and saw that there is still much to be done. So many old stone cathedrals and buildings were toppled. They cannot be repaired and have to be demolished. It is a beautiful city, but has much to do to repair to it's former glamour. The new earthquake proof buildings did very well, but the oldest majestic structures just fell apart.
After our tour we headed for the vast Canterbury Plains, and on to Aoraki Mount Cook. This was a beautiful drive with spectacular scenery, even though it started to rain. Nancy had gotten up early to make a picnic lunch of quiche,coleslaw, and cookies. As we approached Lake Tekapo, the rain stopped, and we found a picnic table by the lake. Adapting the hearty KiWi stance, we spread out our fare and had a picnic. We were trying to eat light because we knew we would be in the Hermitage Hotel by nightfall. This world renown hotel at Mt. Cook, celebrates one terrific buffet dinner and we were gearing ourselves for a feast.
As we drove to the hotel, the cloud cover was low and it was misty. Our rooms are facing the majesty of 12,000+ Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand. If only we could see it! I am going to bed, and take Linda's mind set that when we awake, Sir Edmund Hillary's mountain will be showing in all it's glory!