On Sunday morning, before we headed to the airport and our flight back to Wellington, we took a walk along the river Avon, which flows through the city. It was a bit dull, but not cold, so rather nice for an early morning stroll.
We spotted this statue in the river by Antony Gormley (of Angel of the North fame if you are from the UK). This piece, from 2015/16 is called Stay, and comprises two identical pieces, one here in the river and one at the Arts Centre. There is something about it that makes you want to stop, look, think, and take a moment.
Walking along, we turned to the left and could see the ruins of the cathedral in the distance. As some of you may know, the February 2011 earthquake destroyed the spire and the upper portion of the tower, and severely damaged the rest of the building. Part of the tower was demolished at the time, and the remainder in 2012. The badly damaged west wall, which contained the rose window, also collapsed. It was finally decided to restore the building rather than demolish it and rebuild. The cathedral was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who was also the architect of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow that I used to go to when I lived in that city. I always love these little connections to things we see and do in life.
Turning to the right, The Bridge of Remembrance, one of the two main war memorials in the city, is a striking archway spanning the river. The bridge was repaired and strengthened following the earthquakes and was reopened in 2016 on Anzac Day.
We finally came to one of the main reasons for our walk, Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, built to remember those who died, were injured and survived the quakes. It is a lovely, contemplative area, and should be top of anyone’s list visiting Christchurch.
We walked back to the hotel via The Commons, an area that has been home to various community projects, post earthquake. A lot of organisations who were here have now moved on, but some remain.
So our weekend away came to an end. It was lovely to meet family, eat some good food, see some sunshine and how Christchurch has moved on since we were last there.
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