Route cycled on Kyushu:
Route cycled on Shikoku:
Huis ten Bosch
E-mail of Sunday, April 26th 2013, 21.30 hrs.
You’re cycling through the mountains and suddenly you see the tower of the Utrecht Dom appear! No, it’s not a joke, but a replica in Huis ten Bosch, a theme-park north of Nagasaki,
We went there today and decided it was not really to be recommended but we did enjoy ourselves. The toilets, especially for me, were a real attraction: heated seat, a panel with buttons I just had to try! Sounds of flushing, water-spray, bum-dryer ... To Remy’s disappointment, the gents' toilets had none of these. The rest of the park was quite nice too.
We are now in the north of Kyushu and are enjoying everything this large island has to offer tremendously. We don’t travel long distances because of climbing hills and finding interesting things to see. The surrounding nature is beautiful – many birds, butterflies and, of course, flowers. It’s a pity the cherry blossom, nearly everywhere, is (almost) over.
Up to now, we haven’t spent a penny on an overnight stay. We usually camp ‘in the wild’ but often also on proper camp sites. We usually discover this after thinking it would be a good place to stay. You recognise a site by the lack of facilities usually available which make the site recognisable: no showers or washing facilities and no tents or caravans to be seen. But there are clearly marked camping-spaces, toilets and drinking-water.At the moment we are in a playground (which always have toilets and drinking-water) and have discovered that we can have free WIFI if we register.Till next time ...
E-mail of Thursday, May 2nd 2013, 16.57 hrs.
I’m sitting here on a bench in the sun in Memorial Park in Hiroshima. I was already here in 2008 and am even now still just as impressed by the horrible consequences of the atom bomb that exploded on August 6th, 1945. I therefore had no wish to go to the Memorial Museum again and Remy has gone there alone. So I have time to finish the e-mail I started four days ago.From Nagasaki, we cycled northwards to Hirado in north-west Kyushu, where the Dutch had a trading post in their Golden Age. From there, we went inland through the mountains to the east coast of the island to take the ferry from Beppu (the name alone makes you smile) to Hiroshima. However, the ferry no longer existed, so we had to change our plans. We took the boat to Yawathama on Shikoku, one of the four main islands, and cycled north to Matsuyama in one day to take the ferry to Hiroshima. And here I am, sitting on a bench...
Hiroshima is a real bicycle city – just like Amsterdam, according to Remy. I don’t agree with him but one thing is certain – you’re more likely to be hit by a bike than a car.
Hirado. The Dutch trading House, now a museum
Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome / A-bomb Dome). The only building left standing when the atom-bomb fell
This evening we’re taking the ferry back to Matsuyama in order to cycle straight through Shikoku and take the boat to Osaka to visit Chiaki. All this is too far ahead for us, because one thing is certain; we know nothing for sure, certainly not the route or the sleeping-places.
The following was written on April 29th, the day before we left Kyushu:
And how we enjoy it! Cycling is going well here. The roads are in good condition (better than in Holland), though I must add that I mean the main roads, not the foot/bike paths which we try to avoid. But the drivers are kind to us and sometimes they use their claxons or wave to us. Once in a while, someone calls ‘Gambatte! (keep going, good luck). We are often asked, “Where are you going?” or “Where do you come from?”. Sometimes my mouth drops open in surprise when Remy utters sentences that I don’t understand but the Japanese do. And he hasn’t even been drinking sake! He also makes a sport of trying to read Japanese signs and now recognises the four most important ones: chocolate, cheese, ice cream and coffee ...
Kyushu is a beautiful island and a sea of flowers at present. There are high mountains but they can be tackled and, up to now, no mountain was too high for us. I was prepared for the worst but it wasn’t all that bad. Though if you’ve had two mountain passes in one day, you’ve really had it, especially if you hit the wall. Apparently, Remy was not impressed when I told him that I had not only hit the wall but an entire building. Luckily we always have emergency rations in our bags, the CaloryMate. It’s a chunk of something that is difficult to describe but allows you to carry on for bit.
Sometimes an inclination of 10% is too much of a good thing... but we get there in the end
Some of you ask for photos but these will probably only come when we’re back home, unless we can use a computer somewhere. We don’t have a laptop with us, only a smart-phone and a wireless keyboard. I hear we have been sent text messages but we’ve received none here. Vodafone promised me a working connection and cheap internet, but neither is working.
Remy & Gea
Hachinosu Lake in the middle of Kuyshu
Shikoku & Hiroshima