Oct. 16, 2012 We spent a great part of the morning and an hour of the afternoon walking through the botanical gardens. The azaleas and magnolia trees were all in bloom plus many others that I was not familiar with.
I now know what heather and heath are and can just imagine those on the windy moors of Wales. We ate a lunch of cheese, crackers and apples on the banks of the Avon and then went to the boat sheds to go punting.
Unfortunately, a tour group was due in and all the boats were taken. We will try to go tomorrow. On our way there, we went across a bridge and were quite surprised to look down and see a large black swan sitting on a nest. She (I think?) stood up, revealing at least 4 large white eggs.
What a treat! We stopped by the local YMCA hostel on our way to run errands. It is multistoried and is not only a hostel but a gym and day classes for moms and preschoolers. It also runs a variety of night classes. G and I had checked it out prior to selecting Dorset House. It has over 100 hostel rooms and has the reputation of being noisy. However, it does have a coffee bar which G and I took advantage of as we meandered around the city. One major errand we needed to take care of was currency exchange. At the airport in Australia, both of us had tried to obtain New Zealand dollars from the atm machine. What a pain!!! After many tries and using separate machines, G was able to obtain his currency. After two more machines and four more attempts, I got my N.Z dollars. However, when I went to buy apples at the green grocers in Christchurch, he looked up at me and said in a deprecating voice “I don’t take those.” I had given him an Australian $50 and Kiwis have a history of not liking those from the Australian continent. Sigh! I had not gotten NZ dollars at all! So we had to go to a bank and do a little currency exchange. G and I made tonight date night and went and had Thai food at one of the numerous Thai/Chinese restaurants. It is interesting that on one block you will have stores in business and others will be posted with yellow signs stating they are closed by order of the government due to earthquake damage. There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for the damage of these businesses unlike the older churches and government buildings which I can understand being heavily damage since most were out of stone or bricks. Apparently, wooden structures fared much better.