My accessible travels: Christchurch, NZ

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Yes, I am posting a lot about New Zealand when I talk about my travels. I circled New Zealand in 2009 on a cruise and stopped in several ports that are all worth mentioning individually. The next stop is Christchurch. As you may recall, there have been several major earthquakes in Christchurch in the last year. These quakes have done tremendous damage to the city and the people. When I was there in 2009, here’s what the cathedral in Cathedral Square looked like this:

Cathedral Square 2009

After the most recent large quake, however, this cathedral looked like this:

After the earthquake

When I was in Christchurch I spent the day going from church to church as a way to get around the city. Unfortunately as the pictures started coming in from the earthquake, I noticed many of the churches I’d photographed in rubble. Here’s another amazing church from Christchurch when I was there:

Catholic church in 2009

And here’s that same church after the earthquake:

After the quake

One of the things about traveling and getting out of your bubble is that you actually start to care about the places and people you visit with a depth much greater than simply those moments of “feeling bad” when you hear news reports. Although the feeling isn’t as strong as those living there are experiencing, there’s a stronger empathy that’s only understood if you’ve ever actually been to the place. It’s an empathy I wish we automatically had towards all places and people on earth.

During my time in Christchurch I cruised about the city on my wheelchair after getting a taxi for myself from the ship into town. It’s actually a bit of a drive from the port to the town and hiring a private taxi is the best way to get there if you use a wheelchair. Just make sure you arrange to be picked up EXACTLY where you got dropped off so there is no confusion. My driver told me to meet him about a block from where I was dropped off and his description of the location was somewhat off! Thankfully I spotted his van just before he was going to leave.

Here are a few more pictures of Christchurch from my trip in 2009. I am not sure how these other buildings and monuments fared in the earthquakes. You can find out here about recovery efforts and donate to the recovery online as well.

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2 Responses to My accessible travels: Christchurch, NZ

  1. Greg says:

    Hi Dan , and Gord. Thanks for the mention.

    I head out on a two month road trip with two strangers in two weeks. It started with the idea of visiting LA and turned in to a cross country venture with many stops, as well trying to raise money for charity.

    I’ll check out more of your blog.

    Cheers,
    Greg

  2. Gord Wallen says:

    Thanks for reminding us that disabled people can travel too. I’ve been following an interesting journey get started in Kitchener, Onatrio. Greg is a quadriplegic and emparking on a two month driving vacation to California. He advertised for two people to join him. Check out his website http://www.rollingjourney.com as he prepares and follow him on his journey. Greg’s sense of humour reminds me of you Dan. (I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad. haha)

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