Monday, 15 March 2010

Cycling a go-go

On Sunday, I visited the island of Shodoshima (小豆島)with Yumi, Ed and Sean. It was such a beautiful day, so we rented some bicycles and set off on the biggest bicycle ride I have ever been on. We cycled over thirty kilometres and a lot of it was uphill. It was all worth it for the not so gruelling return journey where we whizzed down hills without having to peddle at all. Cycling is the simplest of pleasures, I love it.

Shodoshima smelt beautiful.I couldn't quite pinpoint the smell but olives are grown there, so perhaps it was that. Whatever it was, it was lovely.

Little olive house, big olive trees

We cycled to Kankakei Ropeway where we took the cable car through the gorge. Ahh, it was lovely. My favourite part was when one of the elderly passengers in the cable car spotted a deer on the mountain. Within seconds, news of the deer had spread throughout the small cable car. Cameras were a-clicking and there were shrieks of excitment, with everyone clambering to the windows of the car. I never knew deer were so popular here...

Here we are at the top of the gorge.

The bicycle ride back to the port in the early evening sunshine was so beautiful. I liked feeling the wind blowing through my hair! We stopped off at the beach, missed the curfew for returning our bicycles (the owner of the shop was not so impressed but we said a quick sayonara and made a quick getaway before he could fine us) and fell asleep on the boat ride back to Takamatsu.

My name in hiragana, by Yumi.

It was such a lovely day. In April, we plan to cycle the Shimanami Kaido bridge - a forty kilometre bridge that connects Shikoku to Hiroshima.

I'm feeling both apprehensive and wildly excited about my solo jaunt to Vietnam in a couple of weeks time. I also feel a deep sense of relief after having made the decision to finish up here in Japan in August. I am enjoying myself, but I feel curious to see more of the world. Recently, I have been devoting less time to worrying about my classes, in favour of planning the next part of my adventure; my head has been stuck in various Lonely Planets for the past couple of weeks. Last week, I read loads about Angkor and the Khmer Empire in medieval Cambodia. Researchers have concluded that Angkor was the largest preindustrial city in the world. Its decline is both mysterious and fascinating - I want to go there so much.

Five months is not a lot of time, but it will force me to squeeze in all of the things left on my list that I want to see and do before I leave.


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