1 December 2008
I set my telephone alarm to wake me up at 04:00 so I could make my call. Through the window of the campervan I had already seen that there was little visibility and it was raining a bit, so when I called the number they gave me I wasn't surprised that they played a tape saying that there was no balloon flight that morning.
Pity but it was beyond my control, so back to bed for some extra hours sleep. At 10:00 I got out of bed, had a nice quiet breakfast and took a long shower. I decided to give it another day so I made another call for the next day balloon flight.
After the call I took the campervan heading for the centre of the beautiful city of Christchurch. After a 30 minute drive I arrived in the centre of Christchurch trying to find a parking place for the campervan. Although I have a small campervan most of the underground carparks don't allow campervans. After 10 minutes I found a carpark under the Arts Centre and left my campervan there.
At streetlevel again I noticed that I was a 5 minute walk from the Oxford Terrace in the neighbourhood of The Bridge Of Remembrance, (a sort of small Arc De Triumph (Paris)), that is dedicated to the New Zealand soldiers that died on the different battlefields. I walked via the City Mall to the Cathedral Square with its dominant Christ Church Cathedral that was built between 1864 and 1904.
Christchurch is known as the most English town outside the United Kingdom. The river Avon with its punts and the old restored trams that drive through the City Centre confirm this image. So Christchurch is as English as an English town can be even on a cloudy day like today. Luckily there is no rain so I repeated the stroll of 5 years ago and had a lot of DeJa Vu moments. On Cathedral Square is a small kiosk with a policestation in it.
I took a photo of a New Zealand Policeman and he started talking to me, where I come from .. .etc. When I told him that I work for the Dutch Police and I prove that to him (not that he asked me to prove it) he took me inside the policestation and he gave me a present in the form of a real New Zealand Police Insignia that they wear on their uniform. Back outside I took another walk and decided to have my hot meal for the day in The Burger King. Some chips and chicken nuggets with a fresh drink and an icecream as dessert. I did enjoy this fast meal. Later that afternoon I visit an Internet cafe and add some information for family and friends.
I return to the Holiday Park after 19:00 and have bread and milk. Early to bed because I have to make my balloonflight call at 04.00 tomorrow.