Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A cold day in Christchurch

Your author on the summit of the 500m Mt Cavendish (cable car)

10C in Christchurch today - boy do you feel that after six months of Australian weather. When I left Sydney it was 25C and almost starting 'winter'. Here it's only autumn and already as cold as the UK. I'm definately a cold-weather person, today was a glorious crisp day - sunny, cold and still. In fact it was so nice I immediately abandoned my plan of wandering the city and went out on a bus to the Mount Cavendish cable car to see what the views were like. Well, they were stupendous. You could see all the way to the Alps I flew over yesterday, the Pacific Ocean, and down into the next valley (behind me in the above picture). There was hardly anybody around, so I walked along the ridge for a bit and had something to eat. The wind was whipping over the summit, but to me the cold was such a novelty it didn't bother me at all.

Back in the city I walked around, looking at the various parts of Christchurch. It's about the size of Edinburgh, and has an interesting mixed feel to it. It really feels like an English city, with the street names (Gloucester, Hereford, Oxford, Cambridge Streets), and the punting on the river (the Avon) - but to me it looks like an American city - the wooden clapboard houses with white fences, the rigid block street system, an outer ring of malls and fast food chains. Plus of course all the trees are turning that impressive New Englandy red/orange colour. It's a cheerful place, everyone seems friendly, tourists are well catered for. I'm not sure what the weather's doing tomorrow, but I did all my outdoor things today so if it's bad I'm off to the Kiwi Aviary...