Of all of the New Zealand cities I've visited so far, Christchurch has struck me as a bit of an oddity. A couple of reasons for this really...
- They call it the "most English of cities", and I suppose it is in some ways with its cathedral and lazily meandering river, but beyond that Christchurch strikes me as being quite American. The streets are all laid out in a very American fashion, and the street signs and traffic lights all look American. And then there's the intersections. Yes, I said intersections. Not junctions. Because junctions would be English, and English Christchurch is not.
- In a lot of ways, however, Christchurch does *feel* quite English, even if it doesn't always look it. When I walk into town alongside Hagley Park, or I walk to the South City Mall down Moorhouse Avenue I don't feel like I'm in New Zealand. Perhaps it's abundance of generic British city industrial warehouse buildings, or just the flat Peterborough like nature of it all. Or maybe it's just all of the English accents that I keep hearing. Whatever it is it confuses me because it makes me forget, if only for a moment, that I'm in NZ and not just in Sheffield or the 'Borough and able to pop home for a visit.
- In spite of this being the South Island's premier shopping destination, there are very little in the way of decent shops round here. I'm just saying....
Christchurch is forgiven for being a bit odd, however, when I see the trams running through the city centre. Or when I go to the Arts Centre, or the Botanical Gardens. Because those are good. Yes.