Last evening we arrived in Christchurch from Hanmer Springs by bus. Stayed overnight in a new (i.e. post-earthquake) hotel with tiny rooms and a view over the many, many free parking lots (where buildings used to stand) and boarded-up buildings (to be demolished or repaired). The awful scars of the devastating quakes 8 years ago are still very much a part of the cityscape.
|View from our room.|
In the morning we walked to the bus terminal to catch our French Connection bus.
|Above are all the things that are illegal to do inside the bus terminal. You can ride a wheelchair, though.|
We rode the bus to Akaroa, a small village in a grand 8-million-years-old volcano setting on Bank's Peninsula, about 85 km southeast of Christchurch.
|En route we had a "comfort stop" at Little River ex-railway station where some of our Chinese fellow travellers engaged in their ubiquitous photo-posture events.|
However, we made it to the top of the old volcano crater and enjoyed this view:
|Akaroa is on the far side of the bay to the right.|
Presently, we are staying in a marvelous B&B in Akaroa with a sublime 2-acre garden.
The weather remains hot and Mediterranean ...
|Clapping Cicada (Amphipsalta cingulata)|
... and the cicadas are singing their high-pitched mating songs as noisy as ever.
The kereru, a huge endemic New Zealand pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) is the biggest native inhabitant of "our" garden.
. . .
Akaroa is a sweet spot on the map with quite a bit of French atmosphere, although it is almost 180 years since 63 French immigrants from Rochefort, France, arrived in Akaroa to plant the Tricolore, create a French colony, settle and get a new life in a new world far away from revolutions. (History tells us that it didn't go according to the French plans). – However, Akaroa isn't far enough away in today's world to avoid US immigration politics.
|The goodnight sky with Orion as seen from our terrace.|