Monday started of with a real nasty typhoon. With no concrete plans for the day I thought it best to just stay indoors and have a rest day with a weather like that. Also having been awake half the night because of my new neighbours, I really had no energy to go anywhere to begin with. Luckily by Tuesday the weather had calmed down considerably and I was ready to venture out. Read more
The week started with Sumiyoshi Matsuri. The last of the season in Osaka and my (final) chance to wear my yukata. I was honestly quite nervous about it. Putting it on by myself with no proper mirror to work with and going out attracting even more attention that I normally would. But my mind was made up, this was my only chance. And I did it! I put on my yukata, double checking to do it the right way, tied my obi, added the obijime and put up my hair. I opted to leave with my flip-flops instead of my geta to make sure I could actually walk. I met up with a fellow Couchsurfer and we went to the matsuri together. We participated in the ritual of walking through the circle of straw and had some shaved ice. Read more
The second week in Japan was filled with unexpected last-minute plans that I would usually just turn down or postpone, but this time I decided to just accept them and see how it goes. Well, I can’t complain too much. This ‘why the hell not’ attitude does tend to lead to more surprises but also very memorable experiences. Read more
After an eventful journey from Qingdao to Osaka, I was finally in Japan. I had quite high expectations and I can’t say I’ve been disappointed so far. Everyone is super nice and polite, the streets are clean and safe, and the food! The food is just simply delicious, no matter what and where I eat. And yes, there are vending machines absolutely everywhere… But what’s up with the lack of free WiFi at restaurants or even et McDonald’s and Starbucks?
It was the last day of our road-trip and we wanted to end it on a high note. So instead of venturing back in to the heart of the city where none of us felt comfortable, we decided to pack our bags and head out of the city. To the nearby Bear Mountain State Park.
When I think about a city, I think about New York. But if this is what a city is, I never want to live in one. A town is the best I can do. Today was the first day to really explore New York and I can’t say I liked it too much. I don’t regret coming or staying for two more days. I mean it’s definitely one of a kind and worth seeing, but not worth returning to. It’s simply too crowded, too hot, too humid, too expensive and overrated.
The day itself started nicely when we took the East River Ferry from Queens to Downtown. We were able to enjoy the cool breeze, beautiful skyline, all the bridges and plenty of space. After departing from the first ferry we went straight for the next one, The Staten Island Ferry. We took that one back and forth and saw the Statue of Liberty from as close as we were going to get.
The day was here, the day to drive to New York City. We knew it was going to be the hardest one yet but we had no idea just how difficult. The traffic was crazy. There were firetrucks, taxis, pedestrians, trucks and bikes. All mixed in together too tightly.
It was the day to explore Philadelphia. First target on our list was The Liberty Bell and The Independence Hall. We got the car parked in the visitor center and headed for the Bell. I wasn’t expecting to be waiting in line to see the bell but I should have known better. Luckily it was free admission and a few minutes of waiting. A good time to catch some Pokemon while waiting.
Most of the day was spent in the car, driving from Washington DC to Philadelphia. We drove through Lancaster and the Amish countryside and stopped for some dinner there. A great salad bar and buffet selection all together.
The most interesting thing that day however ended up being the doughnut shop we stopped at for a coffee break. Fractured Prune was the name that took me quite a few tries to get right. We walked in and were a bit lost as there were no doughnuts anywhere to be seen. Luckily the helpful cashier noticed just how lost we were and explained we had to choose from the menu.
Starting another unbelievably hot day we head back to the city to take another chance on the sights that were closed on Sunday. The first stop was The Library of Congress.And as it happens, the doors were open today! Going through the security check we enter the lobby wich is already more than I expected. The building is amazingly detailed and beautiful as well as clean and in great condition all over. In addition to the lobby we checked out the Thomas Jefferson’s library, the main reading room and of course the gift shop.