Monday, January 18, 2010

Japan - Day 14 (second half)

It turns out that the port of Hiroshima is a long way from the downtown area where the Memorial Park is, so we had to pedal for nearly an hour before we got there. Bitching and moaning from my traveling companion. But we made in time to catch the ferry that was to transport us across the Inland Sea toward Matsuyama in the island of Shikoku. It was a very beautiful boat ride, weaving as it went through dozens of small islets and narrow canals.

Alas, the port of Matsuyama is also a good 4 km from the city, and the area where we were heading was another 6 km inland. So there goes another hour pedaling. Chris started to say something, and I retorted something like this is what happens when you choose to travel instead of staying at home laying down on the couch. There were no further complaints.

Actually, we did quite well riding straight as an arrow to the Dogo area, which is the old center of Matsuyama, and after a bit of searching we found the Masuyama Youth Hostel perched atop a hill. I am sure they built it here to provide the visitors with a breathtaking view of Matsuyama, but to the tired traveler the slug up the hill is the coup de grace.

Quickly recovering from the exhaustion, I went down the hill to the Dogo Onsen, recognized to be the oldest hot springs bath in all of Japan (3,000 years old). It is a grand old building, and I duly enjoyed my bath. Later I wandered around the area, passed the red light district, and eventually came back to a well-deserved supper of octopus, dumplings, and tempura. Very nice indeed!

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