Following a weekend exploring Christchurch, Methven and Ashburton I drove from Christchurch to Wanaka. Direct driving time for the 430km trip is just over five hours, but in reality it takes all day. Starting out from Christchurch right on 9am, I first stopped at the Cookie Time factory which is located on the outskirts of the city.
After spending an afternoon exploring Christchurch I met a friend at Christchurch airport and drove to Methven for the night. The following morning I slept in and was woken by housekeeping (they were stunned that people were still sleeping on such a beautiful day).
In mid-September I went to New Zealand for ten days for a short holiday. The trip began with a flight from Sydney to Christchurch. This was the first time I’ve visited Christchurch since 2009. After landing, collecting my bags and picking up a rental car I drove into the central city. As I drove through the suburbs I didn’t see any damage from the various earthquakes that have rocked the city over the last five years. However, once I got into the CBD I was surprised by the extent of the still visible damage and empty streets. The rebuilding has produced a number of impressive new buildings but there is still much more to be rebuilt – and even buildings left to be torn down.
My final day in Germany began by being woken to the sound of Worms Cathedral’s bells tolling. After taking a shower in the freezing bathroom of my hotel room (it was more of a B&B) I carefully packed my suitcase and carry-on backpack for one final day of adventure and then the long journey back to Sydney.
Once I had finished breakfast I rugged up as it was a very cold morning and walked through the pedestrian mall of Worms back to the Worms’ Hauptbahnhof to catch a train to Frankfurt. As I walked I discovered a plaque noting the place where Luther had lived during the Diet of Worms.
The Technik Museum Speyer was the biggest surprise of my trip. As stated in my previous post I had not heard about the town of Speyer until the previous evening and I went there on a whim. Visiting the museum was then a last minute decision as I had a few hours spare.
The museum is very large and has an amazing collection of planes, trains and automobiles from all areas of the globe. Seeing the Buran Space Shuttle alone would have satisfied me but also walking through a Boeing 747, Antonov 22 and German U-Boat made this museum the best I’ve ever been to – better than Kennedy Space Center.
Until the previous evening I hadn’t even heard of Speyer and discovering it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip. After spending the morning exploring Worms I jumped on a train for the 35 minute journey to Speyer.
Arriving at Speyer I walked from the Hauptbahnhof along to the Altpörtel and Maximilianstraße, Speyer’s main street. Here the pastel coloured buildings of Speyer felt a lot more like “stereotypical” Germany than Worms or Mainz did. This may be due to it receiving much less damage during WWII than the other two cities.
Finding my way from Worms station to my hotel for the night should have been pretty simple. All I had to do was walk down one road and then turn once and walk down a second but somehow I still managed to get lost. It turned out that my hotel was above a restaurant that was closed over the winter. Once I had figured out how to get into the hotel I put my bags into my room and headed out again to find food for dinner.
Worms was a lot smaller than what I was expecting. Trying to find dinner turned out to be quite a challenge as many of the restaurants and pubs contained people openly smoking inside. In the end I just settled for a hot chocolate at a cafe, planned ideas for things to see the following day and then had an early night.