Hiking Boots A-ready! (Well...Converse...)
03.10.2012 - 03.10.2012 -25 °C
The early birds caught the worm this morning and we were up and at them by 6:00am. We were up early enough to engage in a fairly disastrous attempt to wash our clothes in the sink. We soaked all of our wash tabs and have to hope they dry out for later usage.
A brief wait at the bus stop to Kagoshima Port allowed Emma to make some acute Kagoshima based observations, namely that there is NO litter ANYWHERE! But also, we can't find any bins to put rubbish in! Go figure.
We took a ride on the Cherry Queen ferry over to Sakurajima to see the active volcano there. We set sail with the wind in our hair and excitement in our bellies.
Luckily for us a kindly gent pointed us in the correct direction for the Sakurajima attractions. We learned on more than one occasion on this trip, that our map reading skills left a little to be desired!
After a brief educational stop in the Sakurajima Information Centre, we headed to the Yogan Nagisa Trail. There were scarcely any people about and it was a peaceful walk beside the picturesque bay, looking across at Kagoshima City. The trail itself was like stepping back into the Jurrasic period: intense heat, black volcanic rocks and cacti looking plants in abundance. This was all pleasant until a hoard of gigantic dragon flies was released upon us. Sure, they weren't going to hurt us but we like our nature in small doses. Flapping like mad, we left the trail after 2km.
On the brink of hysteria and back on the main road, we were passed by a gaggle of Japanese school girls who, despite us looking less than cool, were very excited to ask us where we were from. This sort of ecstatic reaction is probably the closest we're ever going to get to knowing what it's like to be famous.
From here, we managed to pick up a bus that took us to the main observatory points on the island. The air conditioned bus was an oasis in a desert for sweaty walkers like us, who could barely see out of our condensation smeared sunglasses.
The main obeservation point is 330m above sea level and commanded exceptional views of the volcano and the bay. Here's a little sample of 2 amateur photographers snapshots:
On a high (pun intended) from the observatory, we headed back into town. Some minor misinterpretations of the map led us off the beaten track and it took us almost 3X as long to find the Rest Stop. It's fair to say we'd had enough of walking by this point! The restaurant at least was really good fun and we tried out the unconventional ticket machine ordering device, which gave you small pictures of dishes of food and the price. Vegetarian dish dilemma strikes again! That aside, we enjoyed a traditional Japanese dining experience sitting on tatami mats.
For 2 tired travellers, there was nothing better than hitting up the outdoor foot spas overlooking the bay. Relax to the max.
Unofficially, today became 'what's in the vending machine' day. There are about 5 vending machines on every street, mostly with cigarettes and drinks. After the success of a canned cafe latte in the morning, we went on to try out some grape fanta (tasted like hubba bubba) and topped off the day with a 2nd coffee can from the ferry vending machine as a little pick me up. To our surprise, this one came out hot! We approached it with some trepidation but you'll be pleased to know it went down a treat in the end!