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25.03.2020 Refuge in Christchurch. With New Zealand moving into national lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we essentially had to choose between cutting our journey short and trying to make a hasty departure for Germany, or finding a place here where we could stay put for at least four weeks. While essential businesses like supermarkets are staying open, from midnight today and for four weeks or more most places are going to be closed and everyone is supposed to stay at home and avoid physical contact with anyone outside that social bubble.  For several reasons, trying to catch a flight (or rather, several connecting flights) back to Germany was never really an option. Instead, we decided not to leave and find shelter here. Luckily, we got plenty of helpful response to our urgent request for a place to stay – several scout groups offered us their campground facilities, and Paul, our scout friend from Christchurch, invited us to stay with him. We gladly accepted, and only needed to figure out how to travel 600 kilometres north (and, as a nice side-effect, into warmer climate – it is autumn now and it was getting quite chilly around Invercargill) and ideally take our bikes with us. Only one solution seemed truly feasible: We decided against flying or taking a bus, but managed to find one of the last operating car rental companies and hired a car. Before loading it with our bikes and bags, we quickly drove down to Bluff yesterday. We had actually been looking forward to cycling down the last 22 km to the southernmost town of the island, but unfortunately our priorities have changed now. Today we are driving up to what will be our home for the next few weeks. Shouts to our fellow cyclists Clarisse and Adrien, who have just done exactly the same – rented a car and driven up to Christchurch, and Marie from our hometown, who wanted to fly back to Germany yesterday but will also have to stay in Christchurch for a bit longer. It is a pity we cannot meet in person right now, but as for everyone, it is good to know that we are all in this together. #scoutbound #newzealand #nz #corona #covid_19 #bluff #invercargill #cycling #stirlingpoint #stayhome

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