Christchurch … A Walk Back In Time

After four days in Queenstown it was finally time to say goodbye to this completely perfect place. While we’ve seen some pretty amazing places on this trip there is no doubt that Queenstown is the most beautiful place we’ve visited so far. It will take quite a lot for any place else to even come close to being this amazing Today we’ve got to keep moving so we’re off to Christchurch. If you’re counting…we’re on Day 12 of this adventure. And by the time we reach Christchurch we will have traveled 2188 kilometers (1360 miles).

Once again we are treated to some amazing views along the way from mountains to beaches to beautiful vineyards we saw a bit of everything. One thing about New Zealand, and especially the South Island, is that it has some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever find on earth!

We arrived in Christchurch just about rush hour. It definitely is a pretty busy place and the traffic was awful but we finally made it to Maison Rouge, our Air B&B for the next couple of days. This place is absolutely awesome! Danielle, our host, has thought of everything. The house is close to all the things we hopped to see on our trip and it was very comfortable. The two bedrooms are upstairs and each has its own balcony where you can stand and enjoy the view of the fabulously large backyard and its very cool statues. There’s a claw footed tub in one of the bathrooms and everything is neat and clean. The décor is a bit eclectic but very interesting. There’s even a knight! 

On the first day here we had an early morning appointment to meet a lovely young lady, Emily, at the Gandharva Loka Music Store. The story behind this is really quite something and rather touching to me. You see I had found them on the internet before we left on our trip. They carry all sorts of musical instruments from around the world. You know, things you don’t find in a typical store. I was looking for a tin whistle because I want to learn to play one and it’s a small instrument that works well on the boat. After all, Dan has his ukulele and I wanted my own instrument. Anyway, I had contacted them to see if they had tin whistles and the owner, Vajin Armstrong, emailed back saying they did and provided me with the store hours. He said that during the time we would be in Christchurch they had odd hours because he was going to some conference or something like that. Unfortunately it turned out that their store hours during our visit would not allow us to see them. I was pretty bummed but what can you do?

Well, I’ll tell you what Vajin did. He arranged to have his friend, Emily, come to the store before she went to her regular job and open it just for us. Now THAT is true customer service! I was so touched by his desire to make my wish come true that it literally brought tears to my eyes. How many store owners do you know who would go out of their way to open their store for someone to purchase something as simple as a tin whistle? I mean, this is not an expensive item.  Yes, it was quite a treat and I’m very grateful. My only regret is that I didn’t get to meet Vajin.

We were up bright and early to make our appointment. Mary, Dan and I headed out to Gandharva Loka to see what they had to offer. Emily is a charming young lady and was extremely prompt and the store, well it is absolutely phenomenal. They have so many interesting instruments that I could have purchased several. Unfortunately we just don’t have room on the boat for a lot of extra stuff. I did purchase my tin whistle and Mary picked up a couple of items as well. Before you ask, I haven’t really had time to practice with it. I’m waiting until we start cruising again. I’ll keep you updated.

After our visit to the store we picked up Jack and headed to a place called Ferrymead Heritage Park. This was not something we had planned to do but I found it while surfing the net the evening before and it looked like a neat place. It turns out that it was a wonderful place to spend a few hours.

This place is like a museum and a town rolled into one. The entire place resembles a 1900s Edwardian township. There’s a church, jail, several cottages and an old time store. There’s a print shop that is still printing using the old time printing methods and they even have a working streetcar that cruises around so you can hop on and off to view the place because it’s rather large. At the far end of the township there are several large hangars. One houses model trains, one has airplanes, including a B3 Bomber and the other has the Hall of Flame. What’s that you ask? This is one of the largest fire museums in the world! They have over 80 firefighting machines ranging from an 1860 manual pump to a 1991 Dennis. Other cool things include a leather fire hose that’s held together by rivets, glass extinguisher grenades that were thrown into fires and wooden water mains. It was very interesting to see all of this stuff. And, we just lucked out because this place wasn’t actually open on the day we arrived however one of the main keepers of this part of the museum had come in to do a couple of things and allowed us in. He gave us all sorts of information on the history of firefighting. This was certainly a great treat for us.

Yes, finding this little gem was wonderful and we enjoyed several hours walking the old town streets and imagining what it was like to live in Christchurch in the early 1900s. If you like history and you’re ever in this area we highly recommend stopping by. You won’t be disappointed.

It was a wonderful afternoon here but we’re tired so it’s time to head back to the house and make a little dinner. Looking forward to exploring more of the city tomorrow and then having dinner on the Christchurch Tram. This is sure to be the highlight of our trip to this historic town. 


Captain Dan & Jilly

Author: Dan & Jilly

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