Christchurch is about 20 minutes away from Lincoln, which is where Lincoln University is! We decided to have a weekend in Christchurch instead of trying to get a bigger trip planned, so the weekend started out with a rugby game!
The game was Christchurch Crusaders vs. Wellington Hurricanes. Luckily we had a guy with us who plays rugby for Cornell and is trying out for the team at Lincoln Uni, so he was able to keep us informed about everything that went on. The game started with horses and crusaders running around the field (although we were just entering the stadium when this happened, so we didn't actually get to see them) and then a helicopter came touched down on the field and 2 people ran out of it; one was a crusader player and the other was some woman who ran the other direction. Rugby games are only 80 minutes long and consist of scrums,
picking players up to catch the ball when it is thrown in, and tries, which are basically touchdowns.
On Saturday, we had breakfast in the dining hall and grabbed our sack lunches (made by the dining hall) and took the Chariot into Christchurch. The Chariot belongs to Jennifer, one of the girls from Missouri who's staying at Lincoln for the whole year, and is a white, squat, 7-seater, 1989, van. It's beautiful. We spent most of the early afternoon walking around the city and stopping in tourist shops and such. We ate our sack lunches on the square, watched the people walk by, fed the birds, and walked through the market that's set up most days of the week.
We drove to the edge of town to the Gondola and met some friends at 2pm. After contemplating whether we should gondola up or gondola down, we decided to hike up the mountain to the cafe and then take the gondola ride down as a reward for our hard work on the way up! However, this was a terrible idea. As soon as we started our hike up the mountain, it started raining, and the incline was ridiculously steep. We would walk about 10 steps and then pause, take a picture of the scenery, take a sip of water, and keep going. The steepness finally let up and we came across a little gazebo and a beautiful view of Lyttleton Harbor down the other side of the mountain.
Someone thought it'd be a good idea to take the road up to the cafe instead of a trail, so we started walking along the street and saw some random sheep over the ledge (they are everywhere!) and finally decided we should have taken a trail, so we took some sweet photos and turned back.
As we climbed the trail, the rain got harder and the scenery slowly disappeared due to the fact that we were climbing into a cloud, hmph. We stumbled into the building, kissed the floor of civilization (figuratively), looked through the souvenir shop, and went to the cafe. The building has a 360 degree view but we inconveniently chose to go to the gondola on a rainy day (because it always rains when we hike on the weekends!) so we could only see white all around us. I ordered a hot chocolate, which was by far the best I've ever had. They put a delicious layer of foam on the top and sprinkle the top with chocolate powder after placing regular and berry marshmallows on the side! Mmmm my mouth is watering just thinking about it! We ended the rainy day with a gondola ride down the mountain!
I walked to Lincoln Baptist Church on Sunday with some people from CF (Christian Fellowship at Lincoln Uni) in the sunshine! This was the first full day of sunshine I had since I arrived in New Zealand! I went to their flat after church for nachos. It's really nice getting to spend relaxing afternoons in a real house with entertaining and conversational kiwis, and good food!
I hopped on the bus after lunch and went back to Christchurch to look for a bike shop and to tour through the Botanic Gardens! There is a flower show coming up soon, so there is beautiful floral art all around the city!
I didn't find a used bike shop, and hardly touched the gardens, but I could seriously spend a week in there! There are enormous climbing trees,
a little river with people being punted around by 18th century dressed punters,
afternoon concerts, and neat garden decor.