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Christchurch Again

by Pamela Blalock and John Bayley

We stopped in Oamaru, which is famous for its white stone and its Penny Farthing Championships, coming up in less than a months time. We'd definitely have to find our way back here. Victorian architecture abounds in the city, and it also seemed like a grand place to settle. But we continued on to Christchurch. We arrived too late to visit the cats, but planned to go the next morning. We checked back into the hostel where we had stayed before. I liked the nice heated rooms with private baths!

We paid a visit to the kitties who seemed to still be doing fine, although after initially seeming happy to see us, Echo returned to cranky mode. Hopefully we would find a home soon, and he would forgive us. We planned to do a bit more cycling, this time checking out the Port Hills area. It was lovely and warm here, and I was back in more summer like clothing. Weather was definitely starting to sway my thoughts on where to live. We headed out of the city up to the summit road and down into Littleton, where we had a fabulous lunch and coffee. Just as we were preparing to leave 4 other cyclists rolled in. We had a great chat with them about jobs, riding opportunities and weather. We were back to thinking Christchurch might be the place to settle! We headed back over the hills, met up with an Irish ex-pat and rode along with him a while.

We really loved the abundance of great reasonably priced restaurants in Christchurch, not to mention the great coffee shops. One of the lads we met at lunch had recommended a place called C1 for late night coffees. We'd had no problem finding breakfast and midday coffees, and every restaurant had an espresso machine, so getting cappuccino after dinner was easy to do. But we were really thrilled to find a dedicated coffee shop that was open late!

We started looking at houses again. We'd stumbled upon some townhouses right in the city that seemed great - fairly modern construction, very convenient and not outrageously priced. We started poring over maps and real estate listings and trying to figure out where various properties were. But I had another contact. We had the name of a randonneur - a long distance cyclotourist - if you will. I'd gotten Les' name and contact info from a brevet organiser in Australia. He thought this fellow was in Christchurch. Well, when I called, I found out he was actually in Nelson. He recommended Nelson over Christchurch for cycling, and said to look him up when we came to Nelson.

We knew that Nelson claimed to have the best weather in the country, but it also had the reputation of a retirement area, so John had dismissed it as being expensive and not having many jobs. After my conversation with Les, I decided I had to see it for myself before eliminating it as a choice. So we planned to head north up the coast and then over to Nelson.

Dunedin