Had a good night’s sleep. Finally got warmed up after a shower. I’ve discovered that my light down jacket is really not warm enough even with my down vest underneath. Today I sought a really warm jacket since it’ll be colder than here later in the trip. I was warned that it was going to be colder than I expected and thought I had bought a jacket that was light but warm. Nope. Need something really warmer. Even though it’s 35-50 degrees, it is chilly!

Met group at 9:00 and we went to Blax nearby for a wonderful breakfast and espresso (doppio – double espresso). Went out walking and taking pix around 11:00. And to look for a jacket.

We headed toward town centre and Cathedral Square. Lots of new buildings all around. And, except for the fence around the cathedral itself, we could walk about anywhere. In 2012, I couldn’t get within a block of this area – all fenced off. Seems as if there is no decision on whether to rebuild the cathedral or just take it down and put a new cathedral in its place. Where Jeff and I had stayed in 2005 on this square fully collapsed and there is a car park where it once stood. Interesting to see all of this comparing 2005, 2012, and now.

Walked nearby and found a Macpac store where everything was half-off as end-of-season sale. Got their warmest down jacket for $145USD. Nice deal. Then walked to the container city area and around there. Next we went by the Christchurch Art Gallery, which is just reopening all these years after the big quake. It was pretty much unharmed but was used as the recovery center for the city. From there, we went down to a math craft display in a large hall at University of Canterbury. Jeff and I ate lunch at a café here on our last day in NZ in 2005. Lots of the university is still under reconstruction from the quake(s).

While Susan and Liz went back to the motel, J, D, and I stopped at a coffee/sandwich shop so I could get some lunch. Then we walked back to the motel arriving around 2:30. Downloaded images from day so far, read emails. And, as soon as the Sun goes down, it gets cold fast. It’s about 5:45 and now 45 degrees. Had to turn up heater in the room. Oh, and I learned there is a heating pad on the mattress under the sheets! Will be toasty tonight!

Van came to pick us up around 6:30 for group welcoming dinner. Went to Fiddlesticks and had a lovely set menu. The lamb shoulder and the steak were cooked sous vide, so I have nice time explaining this to those at my table. The whole contingent is now here and all luggage has arrived. Tomorrow we’re having breakfast nearby at 9:00 and then leaving at 10:00 in the van for the whole day.

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