E-mail of Monday, May 20th 2013, 22.23 hrs.
That is what the Japanese respectfully call Mount Fuji, with its 3776 metres the highest in Japan. This active volcano last erupted in 1708 and we hope that was the last one, at least for our remaining days here...
Today we tickled the toes of this volcano and are now on a camp-site at the “Kawaguchi-ko” (ko = lake) at an altitude of a little more than 800 metres. Tomorrow, we leave our tent and the rest of our stuff behind to cycle to the 5th station on Mount Fuji at 2300 metres high. We really wanted to walk from there to the summit but heard from Eriko that this last bit is closed until June 1st.
Yesterday morning we saw Mount Fuji far away when we were cycling along the coast and in the course of the day, it got ever bigger and more impressive until, at the end of the afternoon it became cloudy and began to rain. Fuji disappeared. Today, too, it was rainy and cloudy, but luckily better weather is promised for tomorrow.
We’ve been really lucky with the weather. The first week, on Okinawa, we had a lot of rain but after that, only one rainy day a week on average. The temperature is ideal. Till we arrived at Eriko’s, it was about 20 – 25 degrees and after that, 25 – 30.
Last week was another memorable one during this holiday. We climbed mountains in more than 30 degrees, we’ve stood in the sea, and we’ve met some wonderful people.
The racing cyclist, Masahiro, with whom we talked for an hour about cycling in Japan;
Mijo with her dog, Momo, who gave us a little private tea-ceremony on the banks of a canal. It was 8 o’clock in the morning and she had a hangover from here to Tokyo, but we enjoyed it very much;
At 7 AM, we had already taken part in the local keep fit session for the over 80s in Ise;
And Teppei, who has himself cycled round half of Asia, and who took us to an exclusive bicycle shop;
There was also a bike repairer who was so impressed by the size of our bikes that he took a measuring tape to determine the height and came to the conclusion that such big bikes were really not sold in Japan. His wife gave us two rag pussies.
We are being overloaded with ‘presento ’: cycle maps, lanterns, a fan, biscuits, lollies... Nothing is too much.
Till next time!
Remy and Gea
The photos below:
- The only colleagues we met on this trip: Peter and Sally from America
- Mashahiro with his beautiful folding racing-bike
- The gym club for the elderly (80+) who invited us to join them
- Tea ceremony with Mijo
- The bike repairer in Fujieda
- Teppei Bamba
In the clouds
E-mail of Wednesday, May 22nd 2013, 8.54 hrs.
Flying above the clouds is impressive, but cycling above the clouds ... Words fail me in the attempt to describe this wonderful experience!
Fuji is a beautiful mountain to climb, and I don’t only mean the views. It’s not that tough, just a bit, with an almost constant inclination of 6% over a length of 32 kilometres. And the surrounding nature... Until halfway, it is deciduous forest, where you hear birds, frogs and crickets. Then it becomes coniferous and quiet. A cool wind blew but is was still very hot. Just before reaching our destination, there was snow. Fancy throwing snowballs in a temperature of 25 degrees!
Posts at the side of the road, showing the distance to the fifth station and the incline / Snow just before reaching our destination
Only 500 metres before the end, it suddenly grew cold and we were literally cycling in the clouds. Once there, we had to put on our warm clothes. We were at an altitude of 2305 metres!
Remy couldn’t understand that people go up in cars and coaches. “It’s like buying a Buddha statuette for yourself”, he said. (One is supposed to be given one, not to buy it oneself). But maybe they have a good reason for doing so. We’re lucky to be in good health and to have plenty of time. Or maybe it just never occurred to them to go by bike.
But there’s nothing like feeling the sun on your skin, the wind on your cheeks, the smell of the flowers and trees and the singing of the birds. You don’t get that, sitting behind the windscreen of a car...
Now we say goodbye to Fuji-san. Off to Tokyo!
Remy & Gea
We had a view of Mount Fuji from our tent
“Kawaguchi Lake” where the camp-site was
Click here for more photos of climbing Mount Fuji