The sixth week started very stiffly to say the least. Because of the 75km of cycling the day before I felt like my legs were made of wood and I must also admit that my energy was pretty much drained and for the first time during the entire trip I felt that I would just prefer to stay in and do nothing that day. Lucky for me that wasn’t an option as check out time was at 10am… The hotel had a buffet breakfast included and it was very filling and delicious, but not for those who don’t want to eat a full meal in the morning as it consisted mostly of rice and noodle dishes.
The plan for the day was sightseeing in Imabari, which I quickly noticed was not very time-consuming. The only place that I went to was Imabari castle. A very nice looking castle with an interesting seawater mound, where the tide apparently brings in the water.
After walking back to the train station by the harbour I took the train to Matsuyama where my first ever capsule hotel experience was waiting for me. Yet again Japan delivered! The environment at the hotel was super convenient and the price was very low considering all the amenities included.
For Tuesday and Wednesday I spent sightseeing in Matsuyama with varying degrees of energy and motivation. The weather was really drowning out the last bits of inspiration I had left. On Wednesday evening I finally took the bus back to Osaka. It was a night bus this time, not my first choice but from Willer Express the only one available for this leg of the journey.
Thursday was… sleeping. Just sleeping. To make sure I would be alive for Friday and my last trip to Kyoto, Gion and Kiyomizudera.
Saturday was pretty much a replay of Thursday if anything, but I just couldn’t stay still and indoors with the knowledge of leaving Osaka in just a few days. So I decided to spend the afternoon walking around Otaroad for the last time.
For Sunday I had to do laundry and pack my bags in preparation to leave Osaka to go to Tokyo. And so came the half-way point of my trip in Japan.
As the lack of full days in Osaka finally caught up with me I had to plan properly all the places I still wanted to see so that nothing would be closed when i tried to go there. Half of my week was spent in Osaka and half on the road in Hiroshima prefecture.
On Monday I took the train to Ikeda. Little north of Osaka and mostly visited because of the Momofuku Instant Ramen Museum, it was a nice little city with a relaxed atmosphere. I decided to spend the day walking around the city instead of just visiting the Ramen Museum, which in my opinion was a bit of a let down. Partly because of the lines but also partly because the entire museum was mostly based on the chance of making your own instant ramen, and as I wasn’t too interested in doing that the museum offered very little entertainment and was mostly targeted towards children.Read more
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.
Making my way downtown~
What I will always miss most about America
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.