Friday, May 18, 2018

Gardens, Onions, Kobe beef, and getting LOST

                  Our bags are packed again to travel to Kyoto today. Monday 1-22-18

                    I snapped a few photos at the hotel and as we were leaving.

We started the day with a stroll around Ritsurin Garden in Takamatsu.  It is a magical place.  We were fortunate to have it almost all to ourselves.  There was a light rain off and on, otherwise  perfect lighting for photos.  The gardens were meticulously cared for.  We were met by this station for dusting off your shoes.

                         A few other images near the entrance to the Gardens:

There were a few interesting buildings, but we only had time to wander the gardens. 

Follow me there:

It was fascinating to see the way the gardeners supported the heavy branches.  And although we were in a big city, it felt more like fairyland.

Above is my friend Martha, enjoying the sound of the gentle rain dropping on the pond.  I'll let these images speak for themselves.

                             I wanted you to see the size of the bark on this huge pine tree!

This is Janet.  We were grateful for her yellow hat, which made it easier for us not to get separated from the group.  
Grabbed a few last images as I was running for the bus.

So, we're back on the bus, riding, riding, and it's raining harder.  We finally stopped at an interesting place with a BIG bridge, swirling water, and a touristy store that specializes in ONIONS!
And it's COLD!!!

Not a great look for me.

But I had to try it.

We continued on our way to a wonderful restaurant in Kobe, where we climbed to the fourth floor and enjoyed an elegant Kobe beef luncheon.  It was awesome and delicious!

Someone said this portrait looked like me.  Much better than the onion wig, I think. 

          Our server was not happy, but he did a fantastic job grilling our lunch!

And then, we were back out in the rain.  We were given an hour and a half to shop. 

           I ventured down a covered shopping area in Chinatown,  that went on and on and on.

We were due back at the bus (in front of Starbucks) at 4:00.  At 3:30, I decided to head back.  However, I had already seen all the shops in the covered area, so I decided to take what I thought was a parallel route out on the street.  As 4:00 got closer and closer, I realized that I had somehow gotten turned around and pretty well lost.  In a very
big city.  In the cold and rain.  Where I couldn't speak Japanese.   I began trying to ask for help.  I asked young people where Starbucks was.  I went into stores and asked for directions.  I began to panic, as we had been told that the buses can't stay parked on the street for very long or they will be ticketed.  Nobody seemed to understand what I was asking, or knew how to help.  I finally started saying, " I am in trouble here!  I need to get back to my bus!" They just smiled at me.  At ten after 4, someone suggested that I go to the light and turn right.  I went to the light, and looked left instead, and saw two buses.  I walked that way, and very gratefully spotted two of our tour guides, who had been looking for me.  It took me a while to calm down, as I was pretty upset about holding everyone up.    After that, I always made sure I knew where I was and how to get back. 

It was another mostly wonderful day, but by 9pm I was ready for bed.  Stress makes one exhausted!