Paradise Found

Originally published on Blogger on 25th March 2015

Well, I missed my first day of my blog. Bugger. Too much going on, too busy, and too tired. But, planning to make up for it…..

Yesterday we went to Nara. The first permanent capital of Japan, this town is spectacularly pretty. Lots of old wooden shops line the main street with traditional curtains over the entrances. The city boasts 8 UNESCO listed sites. We visited only a few of them, but walking through Nara-koen (garden) where deer roam free and wild, (and very well fed) was delightful. The temples we visited were mind blowing, in particular, Todo-Ji, which houses the Daibutsu, a GIANT, 437kg of bronze plus 130kg of gold Buddha. Magnificent… The temple in which he is housed is the largest wooden building on the planet. So immense it was hard to get your head around, let alone your camera lens. The photos of the kids squishing through the wooden pole are a 50cm hole in a very old wooden beam, which, apparently is the same size as the Buddha’s nostril, and, it is said, if you can squeeze through this hole, you will attain enlightenment. Kofuku-Ji, another temple, which has a five story pagoda, was a chance for Mya to have a photo taken with some young girls in kimonos. They all thought Mya was very kawaii (cute) and she was enamoured with their beautiful kimono.

Our meal, somewhere between dinner and lunch, in a very old fashioned Japanese kind of cafe, was scrumy. Finn had unagi don (eel, his favourite), Mya had rice and tempura vegetables and I had kitsune udon, tofu noodle soup, as suggested by an old friend, who is half Japanese. It was freezing in Nara, and it was so nice to sit by the heater and slurp hot soup.

On our way back to the station, Mya and I stopped for coffee and cake. I had a Sakura latte (cherry blossom) and Sakura cheesecake. Seriously yummy. The Japanese do sweet better than anyone!!

I think Nara may well be a highlight of the trip. Such a serene, peaceful place, after the madness of Osaka and Tokyo. It was a really great day.

This morning saw us leave Osaka, not too sadly, and head to Kyoto. After sitting in a cafe in Osaka station talking to Sandy and Mum on Skype, we took 3 trains, a cab and a walk up a big hill, to find paradise. Guesthouse Soi is amazing. Very comfortable, warm and well set up, with breakfast on site, western one day, Japanese the next, we are appreciating the small things. Heating, laundry and a real bed!!!!

Because the guesthouse was so comfy, we sat around all afternoon, lazing, catching up on stuff with their super fast internet and enjoying sitting in 22 degree warmth. Yum. We went downstairs to organise our breakfast, and Mya met Chelsea, who is also 9, whose parents own the guesthouse. There might be some Nintendo Wii action tomorrow afternoon? Eventually pushed out the door by hunger, we wandered down the street and found a lovely little restaurant in the Hyatt. Sooooo nice to sit and feel like you are at home. It’s funny, I love travelling, but the things you miss are the small things. And…. It’s amazing how quickly you develop routines.

Well, I’m gonna go sit in the bath and read my book, then jump into my lovely bed. Looking forward to exploring Kyoto tomorrow. Miss you all. Mwah x x

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