So, see ya round Taks!
It seems that each place we’ve been so far, it has rained on the day we’re leaving. Perhaps symbolising that the place agrees it’s time for us to go. Sort of like a wet Big Brother eviction or a rainy rose ceremony.
Well this morning she was bucketing down. We only had a 4 minute walk to the station, but in that time our suitcases and our bodies from the elbow down were pretty much sodden.
Luckily the Japanese don’t like to you to be too cold for too long and the train station waiting room had no less than 6 bar heaters dotted around the walls, which when coupled with 4000 people all trying to organise their travel arrangements makes for quite a warm and cosy environment.
Jenny and I nearly had to strip down to our underwear it was so hot!
To make matters that little bit more chaotic, because of high winds the train going in the opposite direction to where we were going had been delayed/cancelled leaving people struggling to know what to do. There were lines forming all over the place. We watched a lady run in from the rain and take her place behind a man who just happened to be standing there with his bag. He wasn’t lining up for anything, but the lady who joined him was eagerly looking over his shoulder to see if the line was moving. Not sure how long it took her to realise.
Then they finally called our train and a sea of people moved en masse through the gates. The ticket checking man tried his best to check all the tickets as the people surged, but it was just too much for him to punch a hole through everyone’s ticket as they flew past.
Reserving seats is totally the way to go if you are happy to be on a schedule. After the sniffing incident in the non reserved car a few days ago, I don’t think I could go back. That may sound snobby, but I can guarantee you that it is mainly for the safety of the other passengers. However, my comfort comes a very close second!
Saying goodbye to the unpronounceable hotel we have called home for the last 3 nights was pretty easy. It wasn’t the beige, North Korean military style lounge suits that we objected to, quite the contrary, they got the wearing of their lives!
(although, side note – in your rooms, you are presented with the most neatly folded set of lounge suits in size M. Jenny tried hers on and as we didn’t think they were meant to fit like jeggings, we popped up to the 7th floor to change over the size to something a little more relaxed.
Each day, when our room was made up the suits were removed and replaced with another fresh set in size M. So off we would trundle to the 7th floor again to change the size….. now, wouldn’t you think you’d check the size of the ones you are removing? Each day, you are also given a new pair of socks to wear with said lounge suit. I’m coming home with more socks than I imagine I’ll ever need)
It wasn’t because you had to take your shoes on and off in the foyer and it wasn’t even the mattress beds on the floor.
It was the food! Can you believe it?
The chefs there must have been so incredibly bored as they made the exact same dishes every single day and night. Some were still as much a mystery to us on the last night as they were on the first.
On the first night we were so excited to be sampling some of Takayama’s finest dishes and trialling our skills on the special cooking equipment, but after three days of exactly the same thing, we’d had enough – time to move on. And the worst part about is that I’m not sure how long it will take for me to be able to stomach another tempura prawn!
So we said our goodbyes and we pulled away from the station. On our way to Nagoya we passed some of the prettiest countryside – rivers, rapids, waterfalls, little villages and sakura! Just a shame we viewed it all like this…
The pretty sakura.
We pulled into Gero station who had a lovely cherry blossom right there at the station. When the announcement came over the speaker as to where we were, they pronounced Gero with a soft G as in ‘garden’ rather than G as in ‘Geraldton’. (*Geraldton [aka Gero], for those who are not in the know, is the town where I grew up). I thought about getting my google translate app out to explain their error, but it all became a little too difficult. Probably best that there is a point of difference, otherwise people would get totally confused!
I mean, it looks similar, right?
So one little change of train in Nagoya to the bullet train – you don’t want to dilly dally here people. We had a full 17 minutes to get off our first train, find our second train and get on. We probably only needed 5 of those minutes, but you never know.
She was pretty chilly on the platform which was great as it gave me a change to actually wear some of the cold weather items that I had brought along with the promise of cold weather! So I had this scarf on for about 12 minutes.
Then, the train arrived. On time. And left. Right on time.
It was still raining when we got to Osaka, so we popped out of the station and found the taxi pick up line. There were about 20 people in the line when we arrived and it was the fastest taxi line I have ever been in! It totally beats the line outside the Flinders Street Station in Melbourne – I’ve waited literally hours there before (as have many others, I’m sure)
Check out how many taxis were there, ready and willing to pick you up. There was even a tiny lady there calling the cabs in and signalling them to pop the boot and she was hauling the suitcases into the boot, then signalling you in the taxi, then waving you off and waving the next one in. It was done with such precision.
The taxis, just by the way are the cleanest I have ever seen (that would go for the trains too, while I’m at it) The taxi drivers all where white gloves and are extremely polite and helpful.
So here we are….. Konichiwa Osaka.