giovedì 5 aprile 2018

Day 16: The house at the bottom of the mountain range

After a good night of rest we wake up together with the landlady, who is getting ready to get to work. The sky is clear and promises a sunny day, and while we get our breakfast we thank the woman for the hospitality, give her our most sincere appreciation for the nice house and a small osettai.
When we get on the bikes the roads are pretty much deserted: just some old man slowly reaching the coast to spend some hours fishing and some farmers reaching their orchards. For the rest the island looks pretty sleepy, and we have yet another way to enjoy it.

Being on a route we already know makes that the first part of the trip feel shorter, but looking at every spot from a different perspective and with a different light adds a pleasant variation to the landscape. In the sea among the islands a lot of boats paint waves on the surface of the water, and the sound of the motors propelling them gets easily lost in the wind.
When we reach the last bridge we meet the daily crowd of cyclists ready to travel the route. They probably got up early and are now starting their trip, the same way as us.

We stop at small shop, where the vending machine refills our bottles with sport drink. The place must be a recommended spot for cyclists, as we see a lot of them around it and also dedicated parking racks out on the road.

At a short distance from the shop the statue of Kobo Daishi seems to be patiently waiting for us before we cross the bridge.

Namu Daishi henjo kongo and we are on the ramps climbing to the bridge level. Once we reach the top, a fierce head wind makes us struggle to complete the crossing, but we manage to reach the other side in a short time.
The roads of Imabari are now busy with traffic, and the transition from the calm of the island to the noise of the city road is somehow traumatic. We take a first stop and change the reservation for the day, as we have noticed we are pretty ahead of schedule: we have already booked a henro house and we want to cancel that booking for another one, and the way to do it is by calling a number specified in the reservation mail.

The person on the other side of the telephone insists that we have to directly call the minshuku, but at the end we manage to convince him to cancel the reservation.

Few kilometers ahead we stop to visit temple 55, and there we enjoy the relaxing view of the colorful carps swimming in the koi pond.
From there we continue along the coast, trying whenever it is possible to get away from the busy main road and use secondary routes.
We stop for lunch in a park where several schools are gathering for sport activities. For all the students present there it is hard to hide the curiosity about two cycling gaijin, but they are politely not intruding into our break. We, on our side, sit at a distance looking at the various attitudes these young people exhibit during the exercises.

The heat of the afternoon catches us while we are cycling across Saijo city, and we stop for some time in the refreshing shadow of a convenience store, drinking some sport drink to recover.

As the sun starts setting we manage to reach our lodging, where we discover that this morning the person we called made some confusion, and canceled the reservation we had made here. The moment of panic quickly vanishes as the woman tells us that she has no other guests for the night, so it is not really a problem. We then explain her the misunderstanding and ask her if she can call the other minshuku and explain the situation.
We then get our room and, after the shower, we can properly enjoy the house: it is wonderfully decorated with antique objects all related to the Ohenro-san, and even in our room we have, among others, an old looking scroll which looks pretty impressive.

When we look out from the window of our room, we enjoy view of the house small back garden with on the background the inland mountain range.
We get out for dinner for our third visit to Joyful in this trip. The dinner is as usual delicious, and when we get back to our lodging we take the chance of having some talk with the landlady. She shows us her photos from when she did the Camino, and goes with us along the memories she has about it.

We then share with her our experience about Japan and Japanese culture, and it is really nice for us to have this long conversation with her.

We go to our room feeling really recharged, and when we make the plan for the next day we realize that tomorrow we will close the loop and get back to Zentsuji, where we started 16 days ago.

Unfortunately when we contact Kaze no Kuguro we find it is fully booked, but we arrange the pickup of our bags for the end of the day, and then we also manage to find another accommodation for us.

We then go to sleep looking forward for our last day.

 Where we slept:

Nihama, henro house Yokoya,  via

Nessun commento: