Athens took me a little by surprise or maybe just occupied a void of imagination. It doesn't fit into the pattern of London, Paris, Rome etc. It's a much smaller, intimate city which has much more in common with likes of Leeds and Manchester. Sure, for the most part it's not an architectural wonder, it's … Continue reading Athens, Greece; October 2016
An old town near the coast with a heritage of Gold, Geishas and Samurai. Another place for wandering through streets, getting lost in parks and graveyards; being lost without purpose and not worrying what a guidebook tells you to be doing.
A great few days here walking and climbing. The hiking season was still a little way off as they get a lot of snow here. So it was ice axe and crampons and cutting steps which is very tiring, but it was worth getting onto one of the Norikura peaks for some great views. The … Continue reading Norikura-Dake & Around, Japanese Alps.
A few hours on the way to the Alps gave time to visit Matusmoto Castle.
We were lucky enough to have timed a visit to coincide with a festival and the streets were packed with parades and festivities. Later on we repaired to our hostel, got drunk on craft beer and frequented a Izakaya for more food and beer. Good times.
A great little town for relaxing with a castle and quaint wooden streets full of local crafts and produce. There's also a great covered market with some excellent food and old arcade machines. I really enjoyed it here - it was nice to get away from the bigger cities.
I didn't have very long in these places, they were stopovers to break up long train journeys. I did manage to fit in a trip to the Sapporo Beer Museum. It was here that my tolerance for the Japanese using the word premium pretty much everywhere snapped when I was given a pretty poor dairylea cheese … Continue reading A few shots around Aomori and Sapporo, Japan
My friend is a primate keeper and really wanted to go and see the Snow Monkeys (Macaca fuscata) and who was I to argue? Monkeys are amazing after all. We spent a long time amongst them watching them knock about, feed, fight and play. They are endlessly fascinating. There was a brief moment when I thought one … Continue reading Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park, Nagano; Japan
Okay - doesn't sound exciting, but one of the highlights of a trip to Japan is using the transport. I've travelled in Japan from Nagasaki in the south to Rishiri in the North and always enjoy the journey. The Shinkansen are ,of course, great and they were the only place I was sleeping properly last … Continue reading Trains and Tracks, Japan
This is a small island off the North West of Hokkaido. My friend and I rented mountain bikes and cycled round the island (Roughly 50 miles or so I think) and I also cycled up a HEP service track until it turned into boulders which my non elite skills didn't allow me to surpass. It's … Continue reading Rishiri Island, Hokkaido; Japan