This year I was still undecided where to go next, I gave it a though and the decision was easy to make. I owed some friends of mine a visit for more than a year, this was the right opportunity to pay my debt. That’s how I decided to add another European country to my list of visited countries, Romania.
I’m going to start a new kind of posts, posts where I’ll share how I did pack for Romania and how wise or not I’ve been. Romania was my last trip, I arrived back home last Wednesday, and I think I learned a few things with that trip and how to pack.
That feeling that things are getting back to normal, when I wake up at 8am and I know that I finally beat jet lag!! I meant to use this day for the waterfalls, but at the hotel they were quite convincing to avoid any where near the mountains, and mostly if traveling alone… Ok, time to improvise! Osaka is a big city, not much of history left due the Second World War, but for sure they have interesting stuff to see. So I ended up going to the Osaka Aquarium.
My initial plan for my last day in Koyasan? Wake up really early and go and see the monks praying.
What have I done instead? I woke up really early (for my usual time), and I went to the onsen one last time!
It sounds odd when I tell someone I spend a full afternoon at a graveyard taking photos, more strange when I say that I went to a remote place mostly because of that same graveyard, but yeah, that’s what happened!
After a restless night, people snoring, packing during the night, etc, it was my turn to wake up early and even a few minutes before the alarm went of. I packed everything and I double checked if I hadn’t left anything behind, and back to the train station! It was time to visit Koyasan, in the middle of the mountains!
Kōfuku-ji is another millenary temple in Nara and one of the eight Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The site of the temple consisted of more than 50 buildings, though today just a few remain, one of them is the Five Story Pagoda that is also the second tallest in Japan and considered as a symbol of Nara.
Another day, and again, time to move! It was nice to stay a few nights without having to pack again, but it was time to move to the next city. Kyoto indeed it is a fantastic city, with a lot of history, cosmopolitan, a very good connection with nature! It was a strange first impact, but I fell in love and I honestly think I could live there for a while. But it was time to move, time for Nara!
Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Temple
Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Temple, the temple was initially a villa until one of his owners passed away and by his wish it was then transformed into a Zen Temple. The temple that we can see nowadays is a reconstruction of the original temple, that in 1950 was burned down by a novice monk.
Nine days since my arrival at the land of the rising sun, I was still jet-lagged! Honestly, I am not sure anymore if it was jet-lag, or if it was just tiredness forcing me to sleep earlier and therefore waking up earlier as well. Again, 6:30 and I was wide awake! I did my morning routine, and then I went to the living room to take a look at my still unplanned days. The transportation was mostly the issue, I wanted something central that I could take a option B and that I still had chance to do what I wanted to do. Though, the Nijo Castle was one of my priorities in Kyoto to visit!
I used to be a planning-freak, I had to prepare all the details, plan A, B and even a “When everything fails” plan. A friend of mine changed my mind when I did my inter-rail (PT), and almost everything failed! After that I became the opposite, the guy that never prepares nor plans anything! Like everything in life, extremes are not way to go… So I have to readjust (yes, I am using the present tense here).
It isn’t surprising that I woke up really early, after a long night resting, this was kind of expected. So, why not use that in my favor? If you want to enjoy properly a touristic place, the best is to go really early so that you can be there with fewer people around you. Jet lag can also be a good friend if one knows how to use it properly, and so I did it. My first destination was Inari, to explore the shrines hill almost all by myself!
I have done these reviews and goals for a while, it is nice as a self-slap in the face and / or to see how things went good. Not that I try to follow my goals religiously, but I like to think of them as a path to follow, that some times it decides to take one or two unexpected turns. So, refreshing my last year’s post, these were my goals for 2013: