ende
ende
menu
ende

You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Kiwi Christmas & Creative Sailing Experience in Christchurch, New Zealand

Peace. Comfort. A family Christmas down under … My second summer Christmas, that is! Having lived, worked & travelled in beautiful Aotearoa New Zealand for well over a year, returning to this special place on Earth always feels a bit like coming home. And more so this time, what with Christmas & the start of the Kiwi holiday season there to greet me! Four years after Christchurch’s devastating earthquakes, I am happy indeed to find that the spirit of “my lovely Kiwi family“, including delightful Simon, Alison, Max, Katie & Toby Rutherford, hasn’t changed – in contrast to New Zealand’s second-largest city itself. “Thousands of people have moved, entire communities – schools, sport clubs – have shifted. Recently though, Christchurch has seen many people return”, they tell me after welcoming me at Christchurch City Airport. Like a family, really. My heart beats fast as I move through immigration, rushing towards them, hugging each other on Christmas, all of us so happy … I feel like coming home.

“Tena koe Elena. We are so looking forward to having you with us on Christmas day. Safe flying and see you soon. We have booked for dinner at a local eatery. Food and wine will be plenty I think. Simon.”

And plenty is an understatement, what with all the warmth & love I have received here by the Rutherford family during this visit of mine! “Your mum is a true force of nature, Alison!”, I laugh, smiling warmly at Waveney, Alison’s mum, who at 82 is going strong as ever, talkative, active, open-minded, you name it. “I want to be just like her one day”, I think to myself, smiling next to her in the car as we are going out for a summer road trip with the Kiwi family on Christmas day.

Let me share with you how Christmas gets celebrated down under!

Christmas morning in Christchurch, New Zealand: Fresh strawberries & home-made pancakes fill the air with a sweet smell of ... summer! Strange to me as a European still, but LOVELY that's for sure!

Christmas morning in Christchurch, New Zealand: Fresh strawberries & home-made pancakes fill the air with a sweet smell of … summer! Strange to me as a European still, but LOVELY that’s for sure!

 

Christmas being all about the family, we first have my folks from Austria on Skype, then Toby Rutherford who lives in Australia. ...

Christmas being all about the family, we first Skype with my family from Austria, then Toby Rutherford, Max’ older brother here, who lives in Australia. …

 

Present time: Thank you so much, dear Waveney, for this wonderful gift for 2015!

Present time: Thank you so much, dear Waveney, for this wonderful gift for 2015!

 

I must say I have fallen head over heels for this lovely lady here !!!

I must say I have fallen head over heels for this lovely lady !!!

 

Very happy to be sharing this special summer's day picnicking in the park, that is.!

Very happy to be sharing this special summer Christmas day picnicking in the park!

 

:)

Oh, life … 🙂

 

Heading out of Christchurch towards the Inland Scenic Route, we come upon St John's First Settlers' Church ...

Heading out of Christchurch towards the Inland Scenic Route, we come upon St John’s First Settlers’ Church …

 

... a place connected to the family history as much as to the settlement history of Aotearoa New Zealand: Again, I am reminded of how young a country New Zealand really is!

… a place connected to the Rutherford family history as much as to the settlement history of Aotearoa New Zealand: Again, I am reminded of how young a country New Zealand really is! Impressive.

 

Just before getting back home for the family Christmas dinner, Simon offers to take me for a drive around “post-quake Christchurch”. Brace, brace Elena, I remember thinking to myself before heading into what was once, the city centre of a place I thought myself familiar with. Well, no longer. Four years after the 7.1 earthquake that struck Christchurch in 2010/2011, entire building blocks have “shifted”, being either demolished, repaired, rebuilt and/or having had to go completely. As we drive through the streets, I gasp as the only actual memory are the “familiar street signs” – but the modern-day vision betrays the memory of what used to be there. I grow silent, as Simon drives me around neighbourhoods whose houses have vanished completely, leaving nothing but bumpy roads, fenced-off areas and wildly growing vegetation. “Things go wrong when you shake up a swamp“, Simon quietly says next to me in the car. “And that is essentially what happened to Christchurch: ‘Liquefaction’, with grounds slumping from the impact of the quakes & aftershocks, leaving houses & buildings at an angle that still now, several years after, continue to be taken down …” Dear me. It really gets to me, sensing not only the actual but also the emotional upheaval that has struck people and places ever since. A drive around Christchurch …

... several years later starts looking like this.

… several years after the devastating 2010/2011 earthquakes starts looking like this: New spaces as well as unfamiliar, new buildings, many of which now feature street art graffiti, have popped up everywhere.

 

Controversy continues to linger over Christchurch's half-demolished Cathedral: Should it be taken down completely, or rebuilt?

Controversy continues to linger over Christchurch’s half-demolished Cathedral: Should it be taken down completely, should it be rebuilt?

 

A view upon the "Christchurch Transitional Cathedral" here.

Meanwhile, a view upon the “Christchurch Transitional Cathedral” here.

 

Thank God this wonderful family lets me forget the disheartening sights of central Christchurch soon ...

Thank God this wonderful family makes me forget the disheartening sights of central Christchurch soon enough …

 

... as we carry on with our delightful family Christmas time - and nice New Zealand food, that is!

… as we carry on with our delightful family Christmas time – and nice New Zealand food, that is!

 

Including strawberries and, ah, green jelly ...!

Including strawberries and, ah, green jelly …! Like? “LOVE!”, Max proclaims. 😀

 

I love it: Thank you so much everyone, for such a beautiful and memorable Christmas experience here in Aotearoa New Zealand!

I love it: Thank you so much everyone, for such a beautiful and memorable Christmas experience here in Aotearoa New Zealand!

 

KORE Kiwi Sailing, Simon & Alison’s Outdoor Education Business, has me learn how to sail in no time, really. “It’s the most fun you can have going slow”, Simon says about sailing, laughing happily. A creative travel experience of a kind!

I love it. It is being surrounded by people who just love what they do, that you cannot help but fall in love yourself as well – “even if it is something exotic as learning how to sail in Christchurch, New Zealand”, I remember thinking when I visited Christchurch all these years ago and Simon offered me a first go at sailing. Me? Sailing ?? Yes, baby.!

“So are you ready for another lesson? We teach you how to sail in just one afternoon, with the aim of getting overseas visitors such as yourself to the stage of sailing on your own in virtually no time really …!”, Simon tells me enthusiastically, and full of confidence. He beams at me with delight, as “going out on Lake Pegasus with the kids & adults we teach here in Christchurch is the most fun you can have!” Going slow, that is … And soon, as I am taking my first official creative Kiwi sailing lesson, I can totally see why. Have a look at this – creative travel reloaded, I would say!

Lake Pegasus, just north of Christchurch, near Kaiapoi & Woodend districts ...

Lake Pegasus, just north of Christchurch, near Kaiapoi & Woodend districts …

 

... is home to Simon & Alison Rutherford's KORE - Kiwi Outdoor Resilience Education - Sailing Business ...

… is home to Simon & Alison Rutherford’s KORE – Kiwi Outdoor Resilience Education – Sailing Business.

 

This lake provides perfect opportunities for beginners and more advanced sailors alike, besides nice recreation grounds ...

This lake provides perfect opportunities for beginners and more advanced sailors alike, besides offering nice recreation grounds including a nearby café and some shops …

 

... and who would not want to have a try with as happy and friendly an instructor as Simon here?

… and who would not want to have a go at sailing here with as happy and friendly an instructor as Simon?

 

A little later, I am off on the lake with if you ask me quite a big boat - and Simon's dear son Max as my instructor for the day!

A little later, I am off on the lake myself – it is Simon’s dear son Max who serves as my instructor for the day!

 

... thank you for all your patience Max! :D

… thank you for all your patience & efforts Max! 😀

 

More, please! That is the feeling I am left with after completing my first hour of sailing, actually managing to go across the lake on my own. Yes.!

More, please! That is the feeling I am left with after completing my first hour of sailing, actually managing to go across the lake on my own. Yes.!

 

All this adventure makes me hungry ... fortunately for a world traveller from Austria, there is dark rye bread & wine waiting for us, essentially recreating "home away from home" !

All this adventure makes me hungry … fortunately for a world traveller from Austria, there is dark rye bread & wine, essentially recreating “home away from home”  … yay!

 

... and me cooking Schnitzel, that is.! Merry Christmas & a happy New Year once more, my dear Kiwi family !!!

And me cooking Schnitzel with rice & peas, that is – just like granny always used to do! Merry Christmas & a happy New Year once more, my dear Kiwi family !!!

 

Spread the love

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Dream Destination Diaries: Sweet sandy beaches & mystical Moai meditations on Easter Island
Creative Travel in Kiwi Country: Bone Carving Workshop in Nelson

0 Comments

Leave a Reply


Follow me on my travels: