A Travellerspoint blog

Quick update

35 °C

We’re leaving Bikaner today for the Thar desert so won’t be able to get more pics up for a few days probably. Destination India have done us proud with some incredible haveli accommodation so far. Here in Bikaner our room must have been the Haveli’s reception room – we have 7(!) deer heads, a tigerskin on the wall and a four poster bed. If we keep being spoilt in this way it will be quite a shock to get back to our budget accommodation in Delhi. It doesn’t have wifi though, so pics will have to wait.

Posted by scurried 20:36 Archived in India Comments (0)

Second day in Kyoto

sunny 26 °C
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Day 2 in Kyoto started with a lazy morning and a trip to Sanjusangen-do temple, which has 1001 Budda’s all lined up in one long hallway (where they perform archery once a year). A spectacular sight.

We then met up with Nick and Miki for an afternoon trip to Arashiyama to see Tenryuji Temple and the atmospheric Bamboo forest. Delicious green tea’s and sweets followed. Later that evening Nick and Miki invited us to their apartment for a Japanese banquet of traditional food. We at the end of our stay in Kyoto we felt so spoilt thanks to Nick and Miki’s generousity. We were very sad to say goodbye.

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Posted by scurried 17:51 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Setting off from Japan

sunny 24 °C
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Sadly we packed up our things and prepared for our journey over to Korea. Japan was completely magical and a wonderful place to begin our trip. We have put lots of pictures up from our last day in Japan on the photo gallery. Must get off to explore Korea now!

Posted by scurried 01:46 Comments (0)

Kyoto is hot hot hot

sunny 26 °C
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The humidity hits us at the beautiful city, where old meets new near the fast flowing Kamo River. Kyoto is laid out on a grid system so easy to navigate, however we still couldn’t find the rendezvous point to meet Nick and Mikki, residents and wonderful guides to all the city has to offer. It has been so much fun travelling around with friends who can explain and answer all our questions about Japanese culture and traditions.

The temples just out of town are amazing, set in beautiful gardens.
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We also sampled tradition tea making near Kyoto’s antique shops, squid balls in the market and a selection of tasty Japanese sweets.
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Mikki told us that the beautiful kimono girls liked me asking for their photo, and we also spotted an elusive Maiko (an apprentice geisha).
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The blog on Tokyo is still to come...

Posted by scurried 19:31 Archived in Japan Comments (2)

Sendai to Matsushimi

semi-overcast 22 °C
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Off to the seaside – matsushimi bay of islands (one of the top three sites in japan apparently). Speedy train with many other Japanese visitors. Wandered off against the flow of Japanese and got a friendly wave and toot from a log trucker(!) Before reaching Oshima Island - v calm and beautiful - many carved standing stones & a small shrine.
Another island, Godaido, was home to a slightly disappointing botanical garden island, teeming with tourists. V impressed by it’s spiders and a squashed cicada we found though. Went in search of the ‘live oyster shop’s marked on the map but found some old people’s homes and a dead end harbour & lots of haunting buildings (have been reminded of when they went through the hatch on Lost several times!).

Managed to find our way back onto the beaten track in time to meet hoards of Japanese daytrippers at the seafood market. Matsushima is famous for it’s oysters & sendai for it’s ox tongue. We managed to kill two birds with one stone as it were with the throngs & tried both. Both nice, but didn’t seem v Japanese! We arked back by the Zuiganji Temple first built 828, rebuilt in 1609. Were lucky to get a personal guide keen to practice her English.
Also explored caves & shrine to the protector of unborn children before returning to sendai for a long hike up the wrong hill (we were expecting a city view, got instead a v good view of the driving training facility), stocking up on dinner from the 99yen store, enjoying the hotel onsen & then doing battle with the net trying to book Tokyo accommodation at the v v last minute!

Posted by scurried 17:14 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Harajuka Girls

rain 24 °C
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Not much sleep due to booking accommodation for the next few days in Tokyo, but made the Bullet Train in good time. Paul slept, Sarah read. Got a little lost finding the Ryoken. Saw a few Harajuka girls in the district of the same name. There was also a festival with traditional dress dancers and singers. Highlight of the day were the dancing Elvis’. They took it all very seriously.

Finished the day off at the Government twin towers observatory. There was limited view on the 45 floor due to the cloud/rain, but still impressive. When walking back to the hotel, the relentless rain made it feel like a scene from Bladerunner.

Finished the day with a noodle meal in the Ryoken and booking 4 nights in Pushkar, India for the camel fair (oh, and Sarah nearly flooded the room).

Posted by scurried 17:07 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

haring on through honsu

sunny 33 °C

Friday, 04 September 2009
Early train from Takayama to Kyoto & on to Nara (4min window between shinkansen in and local train out – cinched it!). From one beautiful and strange Japanese city to another. Japan continues to completely surprise us. Takayama is famous for it’s Edo buildings which are still in use. They’re very beautiful. There’s an unnerving feeling about being in such an ancient space with postman pat’s van seeming to be driving in from every direction. Apparently our cars follow japan’s lead, so Jeremy Clarkson will have to learn to like the postman pat van.
On our miraculous arrival we managed to drop our bags and step on to the tourist superhighway. I’m glad we began our Japan adventure in the North, I don’t think I could have coped with Tokyo at the first & here in the South there are so many tourists, it has a completely different feel. There are many more tourist faces – in Takayama many Japanese and here many and Western and Japanese. The main tourist sites were flooded with schoolkids, some of whom were happy to try out their hellos. We hiked on through and past the world’s largest wood structure (it turns out that many of the shrines burn down, which part explains their 20yr Shinto renewal cycle) & saw one of the world’s largest bronze statues. It has suffered from previous earthquakes etc & now the head is a different colour to the body. I had hoped to try my luck at squeezing through Buddha’s nostril, as it were. Behind the statue one of the wood columns has a cavity the same size as the Buddha’s nostril channelled through. Apparently if you can put yourself through you’re almost guaranteed enlightenment, but I already did enlightenment today!
Forgot to mention that our stay in Takayama Temple Inn Tenjkōji was the most incredible so far. IHave never felt so relaxed. Was perplexed about the integrity of it when ‘woody’ replied to our email. He’s from Colorado, and mainly quite gruff. It turned out though that he was a great charge, and he had also managed to arrange us a beautiful garden room. It was really nice to talk with other travellers as well in the communal kitchen

Posted by scurried 07:14 Comments (0)

Happy Hazy Hakodate

rain 27 °C
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Up with the lark for train to Hakodate. 82DSC03685.jpg

Train system slightly (!) different to home... struck again by the contrast between the ultra modern and extremely traditional. The lady bring the snack service/trolley dolly & ticket inspectors bow on entering the carriage, when they greet you (as many people do) & on leaving the carriage.

Reached Hakodate 3hrs40mins after our prompt departure. Hot and rainy, we bowed to the backpack's pressure and took the tram with the school children to our hotel.

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Enjoyed a great stroll through the town - a funny juxtposition of touristy port town (hakodate factory - fantastic if touristy food shop - wish there was one on our corner, had fresh bbq'd scallop for 300yen - less than £2. :)) ), and something like an american backwater town. Enjoyed a great hike up in the drizzle and saw some fantastic shrines.
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Curry & squidballs for dinner - a great way to round of the day. We followed our noses to find the curry restaurant, tucked down a little side street. The other customers were mainly businessmen, who promptly ordered, scoffed their choice & were off again within 15mins or so. Fast food, but not as we know it.squidballs.jpg
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we're gradually working our way through the foods here: http://howtojapan.blogspot.com/2005/10/what-food-should-i-try-in-japan.html

Posted by scurried 16:08 Archived in Japan Comments (4)

v important update

V. important message for Miss Josephine Fernau

Posted by scurried 16:07 Comments (0)

We made it

sunny

Even though everyone said all the stress would fall away once we got to the airport I didn't believe it until it happened. Went from the exhausted state to the hyper excited state to the comatose state (as predicted) to quite grumpy in hong kong & back to excited when i eventually was made to wake up as we were about to land in sapporo.

Mind will be filled with wierd images from plane movies (I tried not to watch them but expect there to be elements of Star Trek, Wolverine & Adventureland being processed tonight). Also the flashing lights of Sapporo, talking trees and billboards, the most amazing ramen. V magical, v other. can't wait to explore more tmrw.

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Posted by scurried 07:13 Comments (3)

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