After flying ontop of the glacier we packed up and headed out of town. The intention was to find somewhere to stay in Arthurs Pass for the night and then drive the rest of the way to Christchurch. However, after getting over the 1 lane bridge that is used for both directions of traffic and the train (and today – workman), stopping a few times to admire the view (and trying to see the giant rock but ended up just seeing huge piles of them created by the former gold miners), before finally arriving in Arthurs Pass we decided it was boring, had some munchies, Craig (of course) had a swim in the freezing cold water (seriously, Bill & Kelly had their drinks in it to keep them icy cold), we finally decided to keep on going to Christchurch which we discovered was onloy another 2 hours drive away.
We arrived in Christchurch (which is a city we quite liked) and spent a long while looking for suitable accommodation. Our first stop was a backpackers set up in an old hotel, and it stank – literaly! The beds where awful, the place was dingy and I hated it, so we left. We ended up staying the night in a brand new hotel, (much better). The next day was loads of fun. We left our hotel, stowed our luggage at the airport and returned our car (all in preperation for the shuttle bus to Canterbury Fair), but before the bus arrived we had to fill several hours so we went off to explore the Antarctic, well the training centre any way. If you have several hours to pass near Christchurch airport, go and visit the Antarctic Centre, it was fun and educational (make sure you where pants!). We had a ride on the vehicles they use to move around on the antarctic, got to experience the freezing cold temperatures and harsh winds of a mild storm. Kelly and I actually waited out the storm inside an igloo but even then we got some of the wind, and of course we were sitting on ice and snow. I (stupidly) had on only a short skirt so tried very hard to pull me legs up under my wind jacket, it didn’t really help. The Antarctic Centre was the kind of place you would expect to go on a school excursion, but we all really enjoyed it.
After leaving the centre we then spent a few more hours laying around the airport waiting for our ride to Canterbury Fair. Craig, of course, insisted on getting changed at the airport so he could arrive at the fair in garb. Finally we arrived at Canterbury fair where we were to stay for the next 5 days.
I spent a lot of the even sleeping, or sitting around the Mangy Mong (outdoor tavern) drinking hot chocolate, turkish coffee (thick and sweet and the first coffee I have really drunk). Craig managed to borrow a bow, Bill managed to borrow some armour and thus the boys got to fight and play to their hearts content. Their was feasting and crafts, entertainment and court. Bill managed to win and archery award and Craig managed to win the wrestling competition (my hero) (video footage to come at some point hehe). But alas, all good things must end and so the 7th of Feb arrived and we departed from the Middleages and returned once more the the 21st century and headed to Hanmar Springs for a night of luxury.
We stayed at a really delightful B&B, lovely decour, beautiful gardens and a pleasing view, (and ducks). It was pure luxery, we spoilt ourselves compleatly for the night, topping off the B&B with a visit to the Springs (a bit smelly but still really nice – don’t expect Hepburn Springs-like facilities or you will be disapointed).