Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

I'm just a girl who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

This is my attempt to keep my friends and family updated, to keep track of my experiences, and to serve as an inspirational resource for all those travel addicts like me out there.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kyoto


Fushimi Inari was an obvious first stop considering the little amount of time I had to spend in this fantastic city. So much to do, there was no way I was going to be able to see as much of it as I wanted. This place, however, I was happy to spend hours carelessly wandering and taking detours to see every torri gate and every fox I could feast my eyes on.


I love being able to take my time somewhere. Traveling alone is nice for that reason. I don't ever feel like I am inconveniencing someone. I can take a 10 different pictures of the same thing until I get the right shot. I can buy a bag of Japanese cracker treats and snuggle into a corner of shrines and eat until my hearts content. When posed with the question of following the path or taking a bit of the detour, I usually choose the latter.


I managed to get away from the majority of the masses of tourists during my hike around the top of Mount Inari.  I cut away from the path here and there, seeing what trouble I could get into. Towards the point where I was about to make a full loop there was a sign advertising an alternative exit which lead to another temple. It was easy to decide which way to go. There wasn't a soul on this path. The only people I encountered were locals. A lovely little woman who I had a very limited conversation with about her cats and a man riding his motorbike. Other than that, it was me and the wild wilderness.  I found a beautiful shrine which spent a bit of time at.


The path led me to Tofukuji Temple. I wandered the grounds for a bit before deciding I was starving and heading to an area of town where I knew I could get delicious sushi and pop over to a market/shopping area I was itching to visit. One really wonderful thing about this trip was that I actually had money to do things like EAT. When I was in Europe last summer I was on a very, very limited budget so I wasn't able to indulge myself eating mass amounts of food and treats - like I did at conveyer belt sushi. It was packed to the brim and I had to wait a bit to get a seat, but it was well worth it. Somewhere on the internet told me this is the place to eat, and they were right. I could have easily sat in there for hours gorging myself with loads of different kinds of sushi. You can read more about it here.


After sushi I made my way around the numerous shopping areas that were near the restaurant, Teramachi, Shin Kyogoku and the Nishiki Market. I was searching for a silk kimono style robe, it was one of the only things I really wanted to take home with me. I was happy to find loads and it didn't take me long to decide on one. I was trying to kill time, waiting for my lovely couchsurfing host, Tara, to get off of work. After getting my fill of shopping I took a look at a map and found a park/temple up the road a ways. I spent an hour or so here drinking blood orange juice, people watching, and listening to a man play his guitar. I met up with Tara and after chatting and having a shower she took m down to the river to shoe me around and have a few drinks. There was a light up festival type thing going on, the river was lined with loads of lanterns and silly drunk Japanese youth who were climbing down into the water making fools of themselves. It was a blast to watch them get in trouble and then get right back in the water.


The next morning I headed to the Arashiyama area of Kyoto. I asked Tara what there was to do other that visit temples and she sent me here, I was so thankful. She said something about a bamboo forest... which I don't think I ever found - but I did find loads of other cool things. I had the most amazing experience walking around a park right on the river. It was sprinkling all morning and at one point it started absolutely pouring rain. I just so happened to be at the highest point of the park overlooking a view that was just unreal. After I got my fill of the park I decided I wanted to play with monkeys. There was an extensive hike up to one of the top of the mountains to reach the "Monkey Park" where there were monkeys of all shapes and sizes wandering freely. At one point I was caught in the path of a monkey brawl. One monkey was chasing another making this horrible screeching noise. Then, his monkey friends came and had his back. I was a bit scared, not gonna lie. They sounded like they were actually having a heated argument.