Zalie and I shared a room the previous day and decided to get up early to explore a little of Yuasa before heading off for the commencement of our walking tour. At 6:30 am there was very little happening in the “thriving metropolis” of Yuasa , but it was interesting to wander around as the town came to life.
After another wonderful meal, albeit a little different to what we would normally have for breakfast (fish again anyone?!) it was off to the station again to catch the train to the first drop off point. Did I mention that we have to carry our cases up and then down numerous flights of stairs and yet again I have packed too much???
After being ushered into our allocated seats after making ourselves comfortable in the wrong carriage, we arrived in 50 minutes later.
On arrival, we all agreed it would be a good idea to get extra cash from the ATM within the 7-Eleven. Whilst trying to find the English translation, I accidently hit the red duress button (I now know that if you are being robbed at an ATM, this button will alert staff and call the police!). Staff were running around madly trying to turn it off whilst calling the cops to tell them it was a false alarm. Oh my, if looks could kill!
At this point I need to mention that one person in our group has been a little “backed up” and decided some affirmative action was needed.
After visiting the Information Centre and getting the correct Japanese translation for “laxative”, she proceeded to show our driver the piece of paper requesting that we visit a Pharmacy prior to arriving at the being of Kumano. Obviously the written request wasn’t very clear and he didn’t understand our request. What followed was very expressive charades, complete with sounds, in the main street. Needless to say, the rest of us walked away with our heads down, leaving her to continue.
Although I didn’t go into the pharmacy, I understand that the same pantomime was reinacted inside! While all this was happening, our driver rang his mate to advise why we would be a little late – he was on his phone in hysterics explaining what was going on; no translation needed!
We finally reached the beginning of the Kumano trail and left our bags to be transferred to our Ryokan some 4.5km away. Now, remember, this is supposed to be the easy introduction, only 4.5 km. Leaving the car, the path started to meander up wards… and got steeper, and steeper and steeper. OMG, what had I got myself into???
If this is supposed to be a pilgrim walk, full of enlightenment, I think I have been enlightened – this was a hell of a lot harder than I had anticipated!!
Dripping with perspiration, we made it to the Ryokan around 4:30 and immediately headed to the onsen to soak our weary bodies. We were experts with the way things work now so no issues running down the corridor wrapped in a towel.
Funny thing about onsens; when you are totally buggered and feeling so grotty, you don’t give a damn about who sees you doing your bathing. We totally embraced sitting on a little stool in front of a mirror with a hand held shower, washing our hair and bodies before entering the onsen. Did I mention this is all naked, all in together? Of course one member of our group was enjoying it so much, washing her hair et al, that she managed to wash all the walls as well!
Dinner was more to the liking of half of our group, with a beef “Japanese BBQ”, assorted vegetables, some sashimi (more for me again, whoo hoo!) and WINE!!
Its another early night (like 8:30pm, I’m exhausted!) ready for a slightly bigger day of 15 km (before the big one!!). Anti inflammatory tablets taken, wine consumed… I’m ready!