CHRISTCHURCH IS REBOUNDING from 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that devastated the city, destroying 80 percent of the downtown Central Business District and killing 185 citizens. When I visited in 2012, the ruins of the central city were cordoned off — I recall peering through barriers to see the fallen tower of the stately cathedral and then driving by the temporary Cardboard Cathedral built of cardboard tubes, timber and steel. As that temporary church continues to hold services, the church spire is displayed at the Quake City Museum, and plans to rebuild — not replace — the cathedral are in discussion.
In the rest of the CBD Red Zone, recovery is well underway. Guided tours pass the new Convention Centre rising on Cathedral Square; the rebuilt Town Hall of Performing Arts; and the Memorial Wall, with a spray fountain where visitors wet their hands in the Māori tradition of cleansing after visiting a grave. Street art walking tours focus on many colorful outdoor murals. The bustling new Riverside Market attracts visitors to galleries, restaurants, bars and nightclubs of The Terrace.
Christchurch serves as a base camp for active exploring. Chill Bike Tours rents vintage bicycles for pedaling past heritage sites. Flat-bottomed punts offer rides on the river, and a gondola rises up to the Port Hills. A hop-on, hop-off Tram Tour passes 17 stops with commentary showcasing the Botanic Gardens, the Gothic Revival-style Arts Centre, the Canterbury Museum and visits to affluent coastal suburbs. Even adults acclaim Margaret Mahy Playground, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
In “the city of pioneering women,” the mayor and CEO are female, and you can find lists of workshops, performances and other activities for women online. Efficient guides listed on the ToursBy Locals website help make arrangements for specialty activities. One guide features visits to privately owned gardens, including one with a forest of sacred, native, giant kauri trees. Another takes visitors to the merino sheep farm his family has owned since 1884 to interact with neighbors, feed the chickens and watch dogs herding the sheep. Guests dine on local produce — mutton, yogurt, cabbage, pears, peaches — and taste Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and other wines from nearby vineyards such as Greystone, Pyramid Valley and Waipara Springs.
If you haven’t started planning for next year’s total solar eclipse viewing, you have some serious work to do. Next year’s total eclipse will only be visible from Antarctica and won’t happen again for 75 years.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
Alaska Airlines and American Airlines announced intentions to create an alliance. Benefits to passengers include access to more international destinations after Alaska joins the oneworld alliance in 2021, new service on American between Seattle (SEA) and Bangalore (BLR), new service on American between Seattle and London (LHR), a domestic codeshare expansion to include international routes from Los Angeles (LAX) and Seattle, and loyalty member benefits across both airlines. Loyalty members with additional lounge membership enjoy access to nearly 50 American Admirals Club lounges worldwide and seven Alaska lounges in the United States for same-day travel on American or Alaska flights.
Ethiopian Airlines announced plans to build a $5 billion airport south of Addis Ababa. The airline’s CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said the airport would be able to handle 100 million passengers a year.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle recently unveiled a new stand-alone menu designed for travelers living a plant-based lifestyle. The wellness-focused, wholesome and altogether appetizing menu includes 10 new dishes.
Delta Air Lines showed off several new technology initiatives at CES, the world’s largest electronics show, in Las Vegas last month.
Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
New luxury adventure cruise line Atlas Ocean Voyages continues to add ships to its fleet. The line’s first ship, World Navigator, is currently under construction and Atlas Ocean Voyages just purchased four additional ships — World Traveller, World Seeker, World Adventurer and World Discoverer — to follow. World Navigator is schedule to sail in 2021, with two more ships following in 2022, and the last two following in 2023.