Well, it took 4 days cycling to make it here from Kobe and 2 days mooching around recovering from various ailments but I’m here in one piece!
The roads been long and the weather pretty rubbish, I’m not going to lie, from the sound of the weather in England I’d of been better back home! I’m such a fair weather cyclist, as soon as the sun left it meant three days moping up and down hills waiting for it to return. Cycling through fishermans villages and winding through mountains is a lot less fun with the wind battering you instead of the sun!… Even though the fishing villages were awesome… Theres always something to be looking at, from the hundreds of platforms to the rusting boats!
But to top off my bad mood with the weather, just after setting off from my break in Kobe I managed to get food poisoning. Sigh. Just my luck, from undon noodles and tofu, of all things! Thankfully I was able to wait for it to pass in a lovely hostel which gave me an extra night and I even stayed in their sister hostel further down the coast in Kurashiki the next day! Favourite hostel group ever. The hostel in Kurashiki was so nice! Run by a host of international volunteers that night they happened to be having a “dumpling party” with all their local friends! All the guests were invited – just me and a Swedish fellow!
…here’s an action shot!
After all the mixture was made we were the manual workmen putting the mix into cases and creating dumplings, and if I was the person in charge… I would of sacked myself! -and the Swedish fella! We were deffinatly sub-standard to the locals whose dumplings were closed with tiny intricate designs done with care while mine just… Well, weren’t.
At least we created endless entertainment while everyone tried to teach us the correct way! The locals were so lovely and on learning what I was up to one of the local girls decided she was coming with me! – much to the outrage of her boyfriend and sister – to who she quickly reassured she was joking! Haha! When she heard id be setting off at 8am she decided she wasn’t meant for this lifestyle! Nevertheless a few of them came to see me off, bless them I’ve never had a morning leaving party! But the hostel owner was insistent he wanted a picture for the wall!
The final day coming into Hiroshima the sun finally began to shine! It brought out the cyclists too, with loads of roadies going past me! Hiroshima lies on the coast which meant I was likely to have a descent into town- it didn’t let me down! I had an epic 10mile or maybe even 15miles coasting down the mountains! Yes I must of annoyed quite a few lorry drivers on the narrow roads but they aren’t exactly the most renowned considerate drivers so I don’t mind blocking their way for five minutes.
Hiroshima itself was an amazing city, to recognise that everything here was built in the last 60years is incredible. It is a hub of international tourists and my hostel was full of them! Families as well, not only backpackers. There was two families both with two kids under ten, one German, one Swedish – of course all the kids running around spoke fluent English as well as their native tongue. God it makes me ashamed sometimes, not that the Americans felt any better!
Hiroshima peace memorial park, and museum was flooded with Japanese school children as well as international visitors. It is a beautiful memorial and tribute to those that died as well as the survivors. The museum was intense to say the least but I think the approach it takes disregarding sides in war and focusing on disarmament on a world scale makes it universally relevant from a unique perspective given that the population in Hiroshima have and still do suffer so much from the affects of nuclear weapons. The city itself is incredible given that original estimations after the bomb had said trees still would not of grown here, even now – the speed at which the people rebuilt is so impressive. I like Hiroshima, the city has a very unique feel, I felt very welcome! Deffinatly hope to come back, but for now I have the final stretch of my Japanese adventure to conclude, it’s onwards to Fukuoka, the final stop for japan!