Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Nine

cant-drown-if-you-dont-swim.jpgToday I was coming back to our apartment after an early morning walk and was waiting for the pedestrian light to change green when an older Japanese man came up to me.
“American?” he said with a thick accent. “No Australian” I said.
All of a sudden his eyes lit up and he started saying “Australian, swimming, swimming” and he was doing a swimming action with his hands. He was so cute! He ran back to his friends, pointed to me and was saying “Australia, swimming” to them.
I’m assuming it was all complimentary and I hope he didn’t think I personally was a swimmer (because I can barely float let alone move in the water) although I’m happy to take whatever adulation he felt on behalf of my country.

31zftk.jpgThis morning we went to Shin Osaka station to find out about tickets for the Shinkansen (The bullet train).
We wanted to go to Hiroshima and found prices around 9710 yen to get there by bullet train. That works out to be about $128 AUD. Hubby thought that was a round trip ticket but turns out, that was a one way ride. When the lady put the sale through for the two of us, the price was 38840 yen. That works out to be about $512 AUD. For some reason, hubby looked at the price wrong and thought he was being charged 3840 yen which would only be about $50 AUD. We’re walking away and he’s grinning to himself and all I can think is shit, that’s a lot of money for a trip to Hiroshima.

When I said “Did you know it was going to be that much?” he replied “What do you mean? it’s way cheaper than I thought”.
“Over $500 is cheaper???”

And then the penny dropped for him. He went to another Shinkansen ticket office and the lady was kind but explained that was the cheapest price. We left and were walking down the station corridor with everyone else. We were about 400 metres away when we hear someone trying to get our attention and it was the lady from the ticket office. She brought us back into the store and said we could purchase a JR pass which would be way cheaper (available for tourists) and we could use it on other JR lines.
How stupid are we. Our fifth time in Japan and we’re only just finding out about the JR pass.
Anyway how nice was that lady? To come after us and hunt us down like that! So sweet.

So she refunded the original tickets and got us the pass for 29000 yen or about $380 AUD. We can use that ticket for the rest of our time here in Osaka on any JR line including the bullet train so guess what we will be doing over the next few days…


I could not believe how fast that train went!!! We had barely blinked and we were already in Kobe.

IMG_0878It actually took just under 90 minutes to get to Hiroshima. Our passes allowed us to get on the red sight seeing busses so we hopped on one and went right to Peace Memorial Park.

The first thing we saw was the Atomic Bomb Dome.
I could go into all the history but I’ll be way over my word limit. I DO encourage you all to learn about the history if you don’t already know.
It was a very sombre experience. Hubby and I mostly didn’t even talk. We were very emotional.

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We then moved through the grounds to the museum.


Some of the scenes in the Museum we really very graphic. There were tons of groups of school kids going through and I wondered whether they should be looking at what was being shown.

We went back past Hiroshima Castle and here’s a few pics of that. Our mood was still really heavy.

It didn’t help our mood that it was now almost 4pm and we still hadn’t eaten lunch.
We walked up and down malls and nothing much caught our eye. There seems to be less English here I thought.
Finally we saw a Saizeriya restaurant. This is supposed to be an Italian restaurant and is a fairly large chain in Japan. Hubby didn’t even want me to write that we ate here because it’s cheap and nasty and gives small serves. It’s not really “italian” either.
For some reason I like it. I love their Doria dish.
We ordered a few little things and needless to say, hubby was more than disappointed when it came out.


If we’re arguing over where to eat next time, I don’t think I’m going to win it.

And after a little more shopping and sight seeing, it was time to get back on the bullet train for Osaka.


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Oh before I finish I want to show you a pic of how big the alcohol bottles can be here! And I think these were only about $20 AUD each!

That just doesn’t sound right to me so I’m not sure about that.

downloadI also had a can of Asahi Beer today! I’m not a beer drinker but I do find this one pretty refreshing.

Lastly, it’s now a very sensitive subject, but I know you’re wondering. Yes, the television is still on mute.

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Oyasuminasai and sweet, silent dreams!

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Greece is the Word – Day Ten

It was so good to sleep-in this morning. Sleeping in for us is waking up at 7am.
It makes me feel so much better.

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Hubby and I have a room to ourselves so we got up and had a coffee and some breakfast on our balcony.

This room is advertised with a “sea view” so, here it is. (left)

Not what we expected either but our room is nice and the owners here are so accommodating. In any case, we’re only spending the one night here, tonight we will be in a different location on Naxos.

Most of our party wanted beach, swimming and relaxing today. Hubby and I aren’t really the relaxing by the beach type so we left them to enjoy the sun and headed into the town of Naxos. I don’t know if I could ever get used to these small streets and the way these people drive!

We stopped at a couple of stores to get some supplies and the workers are always so nice and wanting to chat if they’re able. There really is such a relaxed atmosphere on this island.

We went for a walk along the coast before driving into Naxos itself. It’s pretty warm here!

We then drove into Naxos and found this cute little place for lunch.

We wanted something authentic however were told that some things on the menu weren’t available. This included the spanokopita which is what we wanted to order.
The waiter then recommended the club sandwich. Not authentic at all but it was pretty huge, tasty and filling. Everything on there was seasoned so nice!
We also got a Greek Salad and this is the first time since we’ve been here that a Greek salad has come with the block of feta already broken up.

The salad also had a lot of seasoning. It was so delicious!

I love that often, when I ask a server a question like “Do you have bathrooms here” or, “May we have some water for the table” the answer isn’t just “yes” it’s “of course”. I’ve heard that so many times.

After lunch hubby and I walked down to the water and checked out some of the shops. There are so many tourists here!! And gorgeous views wherever you look. I think we walked through an older part of Naxos on the way there.

After a couple of hours we headed back. We were a bit excited because we’ve changed hotel rooms and our new location is in a fantastic area. Lots of restaurants and beaches full of people and umbrellas.

Hubby and I walked around and I snapped some photos. We stopped for a drink and watched the rest of the world go by. Very relaxing!

And I’m sure you’ll agree that the view from this room is way better than our last place!
“Sea View” or not!

Oh, and when we got into our new hotel room, we noticed there was only a sheet on the bed – no cover. So I went down to the desk and asked if we could have a cover. She looked at me as if I’d asked the most ridiculous question. “But it’s hot” she said.
We left with mo cover.
I’m going to trust her judgement.

The sun was just starting to set as we began thinking about dinner.

Our group went back into Naxos for dinner and we were just checking out different restaurants along the port area. As we were going past one, an older woman came out and said “just look at the menu, just look” It was such low pressure we had to look right?

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And as we were looking she was telling us the history of the restaurant and a bit about their menu. She then said she’d just made a fresh batch of moussaka and I know I said I was all moussaka’d out but I just HAD to have some after I heard her talking about it! She said it would be the best moussaka we’ve ever had and you now what, she was right!
It was so creamy and so full of flavour. Hubby said the only thing wrong with it was that there wasn’t enough of it in the plate! haha. It really was so good.

So interesting to walk along the coast watching people enjoying this place.
I’m going to be so sorry to leave tomorrow.

 

Greece is the Word – Day Four

This morning we woke up to cloudy skies and a wet ground but it was still fairly warm.
The plan was to drive along the coast to Sounio, and to see The Temple of Poseidon while we were there.

There are lots of beggars trying to get money from motorists by either selling something, offering to “wash” your windscreen, or simply by holding out a cup.
Here was one guy (above)  we encountered who was washing windscreens.
It’s a sad situation. There are so many that do it though so you’d have to think there are people that give them money? Otherwise why would they persist?

It was a beautiful drive down the coast.
There does seem to be a lot of graffiti about, no matter what part of the city we are in.

The weather cleared as we neared The Temple of Poseidon and it was even a little humid as we walked around there.
The Temple of Poseidon was rebuilt in 440BC. It’s just amazing to think this structure has been here for so many years!!

Here are a few photos we took of the Temple and views of the surrounding area.


That bird in the last picture is a “rock partridge”. At least, that’s what one of the guides told us! Noisy little things they are! The guide also said they’re considered the guardians of the Temple.

After an hour or so there we headed back towards an area just outside of Sounio where there were a whole lot of restaurants along the waterfront. The views were just gorgeous. This is Greece to me! Enjoying a beautiful meal, by the clear blue water with good company. It was such a lovely atmosphere.

As there were a few restaurants, we walked past quite a few but not before checking out their menu. We wanted to be sure we ate at the right place!
The owners would come out and try to entice us to come in. When we said we were just thinking about which one to go to, and they saw us leave, they actually got quite pushy and aggressive with one guy actually “suggesting” we move our cars (They were parked on the road almost in front of his restaurant.)

One person in our group has a severe seafood allergy so when we picked a place we thought we would eat at, we informed the server and explained that whatever was eaten could not even be cooked in the same oil that any seafood was cooked in.
He assured us that it was fine and that we had nothing to worry about. “You have nothing to fear” he stated.
Hubby, who was still looking over his shoulder at the owner from the last place we checked out whispered under his breath “the only thing we have to fear are the other owners if they see we’ve come in here”

Here are a few pics from inside the restaurant, and the water that we could see from our table. How clear and pristine is that!!


Oh and I should add that I tried to order moussaka again as I wanted to compare it to the other one I had here but guess what… although it was on the menu, it wasn’t available as they were still preparing it and it was going to take another 45 minutes!!! I swear this Moussaka curse is never going to be lifted!!

I ordered a bean dish instead and it was just so delicious!! Every dish I’ve had so far since we’ve been here has had so much oil! That has surprised me a bit. Maybe it just has to do with the food I’m ordering.

After lunch we stopped by a beach and enjoyed the sunshine. Such a picturesque little spot.

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We wanted to do a bit of shopping so we stopped at a mall  in the afternoon.

It was so like home that we almost forgot we were in Greece!!

So many familiar name brands wherever we looked…
Of course, that all changed when we went outside and tried to cross the road. Crazy drivers everywhere.

IMG_6397I had a double Greek coffee while I was there. I can say I’m a fan!

Our plan for dinner was to go back to Glifada seeing as we’re so close and it’s so beautiful there. I won’t post anymore pictures of it. It will only make you jealous!

I will share some pics of a 24 hour bakery we visited down there. I would have taken more but we were told “no pictures, it’s the policy” so I had to put my camera away

Hungry yet?

I’ll sleep tonight and dream of dodging traffic and going the wrong way on one way streets.

It’s all Greek to me!!