Christchurch vs. Manhattan
When I tell you that Christchurch is the largest city here on South Island, in New Zealand, you probably picture a city like Manhattan. While it's true there are some similarities, they are very different. The most noticeable is the size. While Manhattan is home to about 8 million people, less than half a million live in Christchurch. In order to accommodate all of those people, Manhattan has many skyscrapers. Christchurch doesn't need to build such tall buildings. There wouldn't be enough people to live and work in all of them!
Here are some pictures from around the city. In the photo above you'll notice there are some tall buildings, although they aren't tall enough to be called skyscrapers. The trolley you see runs on tracks and is touching electric wires overhead. It takes tourists around the city and doesn't cause any pollution since it runs on electricity rather than gasoline.
In the middle of the city is a large, open area. It is often used by buskers. These are people who perform for anyone who is passing by. They ask for donations after their performance. The people decide how much to give depending on how much they enjoyed the show. This juggler has drawn quite a crowd for his performance!
Also in this large courtyard is a large chess set. Anyone who wants to can play. As you can see, the chess pieces are very large, although they are lightweight for easy moving.
While some of the buildings are quite modern looking, like the Art Gallery in this photo, other buildings are very old looking.
The early settlers came from England, Scotland, and Ireland. They missed their homeland when they moved to New Zealand, so they built some buildings that would look similar to the ones they left behind in their own countries.This building, made of stone, looks like it belongs in England, Ireland or Scotland. It used to be a university, but now it's a cultural center for the city. There are specialty shops and restaurants here, as well as movie theaters, and theaters for live shows.
One thing both Christchurch and Manhattan have in common is a large, beautiful park. Instead of Central Park, Christchurch has The Botanical Gardens. It has many lovely gardens, as well as grassy areas for picnics, and a little river for kayaking.
One of my favorite streets in Christchurch is New Regent Street, pictured here. The shops and restaurants are built to look like a street in Spain, with each one a different color. If you enlarge this picture, you can see teddy bears escaping from a shop window!
There are many fountains and gardens around the city to make it look beautiful. One of my favorite fountains is this one outside a restaurant. Does it remind you of dandelions? We went to this restaurant for dinner once. The fountain and pond looked even more beautiful at night all lit up.
The River Avon flows through the city. There are lovely gardens and grassy areas all along it so people can take a relaxing stroll, or sit on its banks and have a picnic lunch. It's very shallow, but it's deep enough for small boats. Some people rent kayaks and go kayaking on the river.
You won't be surprised to learn that the river bank is Chirpy's favorite place in the city. He makes friends wherever he goes!
We're lucky to live so close to this lovely little city, just a 20-minute drive away. There's always something interesting or fun to do: watching a show, looking through a museum, shopping in the New Zealand specialty stores, picnicking in a park, or just walking along the streets looking at all the sights. Do you enjoy going into the city?