My 20th birthday involved a lot of delicious food and beers. We started at Smash Palace, which is one of Christchurch’s regeneration-type projects where they take dead space where they tore down buildings and turn it into something cool. This corner they turned into an outdoor bar where there are two busses inside, and you order your drink from the window of the bus. Cool! A blue cheese burger was consumed that day.
After taking advantage of some other drink specials many hours later, we hit up a really good vietnamese restaurant and Lauren had his first pho. The day ended with some live music and some ginger beer. It was a great day with a few great (new but great!) friends. I like to think I saved some money on hostels when I lived in the van, but I probably spent the equivalent amount of money on chai lattes and beer (cafes and bars are the best places to get someone to fill up your 8 2L water bottles).
For the whole time we were in Christchurch, we mostly stayed in Sumner, which is a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Christchurch. It has awesome surf, an awesome beach and is pretty laid back. It was hit really hard by the earthquake but it was a great spot to park (cold shower! ample seating! flush toilets!). It was so good that we actually met other people almost daily who were also parking there.. a couple from France, an Aussie climber, and a surfer dude. Also, the park beside the road had entertainment like bagpipe Sundays (errrggghhh) and kids birthday parties. (That family definitely uses Pinterest) It was quite silly because the van has a bit of a loose fan belt so we got stuck a few times where we couldn’t move the car because the screeching would damage the kids/bagpiper’s ear drums.
Bookme.com had a deal where if you book surfboards in advance you could get a 24 hour rental for $20. DEAL! We did that, but it turned out that there was no surf that day. We fooled around in the waves, but I really need a lesson. Quite badly.
We then realized that it was near impossible to sleep in the van with the surfboards.. oops! I texted Robyn (Kat’s Dal friend that I mentioned earlier) and conveniently she had a house in Sumner AND was coming back that day. Yay hot shower!!! The next day we ended up climbing (as mentioned before) at Castle Hill. Here are some more pictures:
On the way back we also did Cave Stream, which is a 45 minute cave with a.. duh.. stream through it. It was fun!! We still had the wet suits so I was nice and toasty.. too warm even!
They were active days for sure.. in two days I went caving, rock climbing, bouldering and surfing!
The last full two days in Christchurch, after Lauren finished work, we drove up to Hamner Springs Thermal Pools which is basically tourist extreme central. It took us ages to find a place to park the van without a no camping van. We spent the day lounging around in hot pools, which was pretty fun. Too hot though. They had maybe six kinds of pools, and there were a bajillion tourists there. I liked the coolest ones the best and the sulphur pools the worst (smelly and WAY TOO HOT). But I got to wear my flamingo bathing suit so I was happy.
Over the course of this time, more climbing was done.. and I led my first 21! Sloppily, and hanging off each draw, but I DID IT! This is a HUGE progress point from where I started at the beginning of the summer. It was supposed to give me more motivation to stay in shape but I have been a bit of a blobby blob so far.