Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tales of Kyoto, part one

It was a grey and dreary day as we eagerly awaited the arrival of our benefactor (read Deirdre) who arrived looking even more grey and dreary than the day itself… But given she was about to take over “börn og ” as we’d say in Icelandic [1] she appeared as a ray of bountiful energy and light (I’m soooo going to get hit on the head when she reads this, in the most affectionate of manners of course ;-) So having ascertained she did indeed seem have an inkling as to what she was getting herself into we skipped along our merry way to the train station. First stop Tokyo then Kyoto! Once we made it to the correct train station (hey one wrong off when one’s got plenty of time don’t count!) it was shinkansen luxury all the way. Gorgeous view of Fuji san across the expanses of pollution spuming turrets as well as fun views of a very sleepy partner.
Once in Kyoto first stop was GAP! Where I bought what was to save my life during our two day sojourn there….a brightly coloured (yes me) humongous scarf to ward off the cold. It’s been so warm and springlike here in Tokyo we were seriously unprepared for the cold and heavy rain of Kyoto. But minor inconveniences like that were far from enough to detract from the bounce in my step as I approached these first two days alone with Halldor since…. Since…. Ahh yes since August last year when I sneaked off to Edinburgh on an impulse buying fit, but that’s altogether a different story.

Needless to say Kyoto was amazing! Dreary, colourful, cold, humid, mystical, buoyant, and had more great restaurants and temples than Rome has churches!! Our ryokan[2] was a very nice wee[3] place just by the river Kamo across which is the famed Gion quarter. So instead of doing the whole panicky touristy thing we did the lazy “couple away for a weekend thing in a culturally amazing place and two cameras” i.e. ate and pottered around aimlessly ;-) After having checked in and warmed somewhat we searched for a city bank[4] or a post office, the only two places one can safely withdraw cash from foreign credit cards in japan (beware of this should you plan on visiting) and finally found one on the top floor of a local department store. Now department stores here aren’t the seedy places one would assume from their brotherly counterparts elsewhere, but instead a haven for the rich and affluent (o.k. so it means the same but it had a nice ring to it) jewelry, imported shoes and…. The one place where you can always count on finding the, or nearly the, most expensive restaurants around… so guess what… well..we decided to reward ourselves and went in for an exorbitantly priced steak and Shabu shabu dinner. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but steaks here far surpass steaks in any other country, not merely in price but also in the fact that a bite will literally melt on your tongue…exquisite!

More travel tales tomorrow, along with some photos but now I had better drag my hard working man off to bed for some Dresden ;-) [5]
[1] children and home, still sounds better in Icelandic
[2] Japanese style hotel, with futon laid on the tatami straw matted floor and a low table.
[3] Scottish colloquialism, indicating smallness in an affectionate manner ;-)
[4] Pronounced “Shitty bank” not kidding

[5] Soon to be cult tv show based on the books by Jim Butcher about a wizard PI ;-) What’s there not to like?


At 7:13 am, Blogger Rose said...

We have shitty banks in Richmond, too! ;-)

At 10:13 am, Anonymous Auður said...

Þú tekur okkur Betu í svona ferð þegar við komum í heimsókn, er það ekki?:)

At 11:25 am, Blogger Gunnella said...

Rose: he he an epidemy ;-)
Auður: But of course!! Hvernig er það sleppurðu frá Kanadainu einhverntíman bráðlega???

At 2:55 am, Anonymous Auður said...

Þessu er að ljúka og ég fæ bráðum ferðafrelsi aftur... þarf að hringja í Betu og fara að plana ferðina;)


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