19
Apr
2013

Shanghai

Posted by beritas
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Finally! i get a little time to write about the last part of our trip: Shanghai!

Well, it was definitely different from Japan.
Chinese people remind of mexicans: the are loud and sometimes really rude (of course not everybody is like that...) and the transportation system is not the best... but it is a nice city, very full of opposites: on one side you have this extremely new, high tech, awesome buildings and on the other side you have completely decayed houses where people still live! 
The best part was that we got company :-) we stayed at a friend's parents place (in Pudong!!!) and he and his girlfriend were also there! If that's not a guaranty for a nice fun time!
Well without much further ado, we visited all that needed to be visited: Pudong, The Bund, Nanjing Road, the French Concession, the Old Town... you can get to the Shanghai Museum for free AND take pictures! and we got way up to 474 m at the World Financial Center!
 
The best part of the trip was as we were at Pudong Airport and noticed that our ticket said Hongqiao International Airport, which is on the  other side of the city! Luckily we were really early and we got to our flight right on time :-)
It was the best trip ever! 
I hope you enjoyed it as much as i did... even if it was from afar through this pictures :-D
I also hope to start posting regularly again. I have had a lot to do lately :-( 
BUT! we finally got our dog and of course i will be posting about her as well!
xo
13
Apr
2013

Japan#7: Tokyo

Posted by beritas
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After 2 weeks of touring Japan we finally arrived in Tokyo!

We went directly to Shibuya, one of Tokyo's busiest railway stations and we were lucky not to be there on rush hour. Next to the station is the famous statue of the dog Hachiko. We walked to Harajuku to see all the teenagers in costumes at the Jingu Bashi  (Cosplay) but sadly there were none :-( We then decided to take a walk through the Meiji jingu garden and visit the shrine located on the north part of the garden. We were not very lucky that day :-( it started to rain and we had to wait like an hour at the Meiji shrine for the rain to stop at least enough to get to the metro station without being completely soaked.

The next day was so much better! It was sunny and warm, the wind was a little strong but it was ok. We went to the Imperial Garden and the Imperial Palace. Of course you can't go inside, since the Imperial Family lives there, but you can take a lot of pictures from the outside ;-)
Afterwards we visited Akihabara. This city part is full of electronic and anime and manga stores. There are a lot of girls dressed in school uniform or maid outfits handing out flyers to diverse shops and cafes.
Our next stop was the Senso Ji, which enshrines a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. To get there you have to battle your way through lots of tourists and small but very well placed souvenir shops.
From Senso Ji you can observe the Tokyo Skytree, Japan's tallest structure (634 m). We wanted to take some pictures of the city from above but it's really expensive! Instead we went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, where you can go up to the 45th floor for free!
And what better way to finish a beautiful day in Tokyo than with a nice picture of Shibuya's Crossing from above!

Actually that was our only full day in Tokyo. On monday we took a little trip to Nikko. The city houses the mausoleum of Ieyasu Tokugawa and the Futasaran Shrine, which dates to the year 767. If Ise was a little bit simple and sterile, Nikko is completely the opposite. It was all very impresive but it was extremely cold and i, wanting to be as fancy as the japanese, wore shorts and dind't take a warm jacket :-(

To celebrate the end of our trip in Japan we went to Tokyo Bay, ate sushi (finally!) and enjoyed the beautiful view over the city of Tokyo! But those pictures will have to wait!
Until next time!
xo
10
Apr
2013

Japan#6: Ise & Hakone

Posted by beritas
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And the adventure continues!

After spending a beautiful time in Kyōto we made our way to one of the most important places in Japan: Ise. This small city is home to the shrine dedicated to Amaterasu ōmikami, the most important deity of the Shintō religion (the emperor of Japan is said to be a direct descendant of Amaterasu).
The shrine consists of two parts: the outer shrine, Gekū and the inner shrine, Naikū.
Every 20 years the shrines have to be rebuilt on adjacent sites and it's happening this year. It was maybe our luck, because we got to glimpse the new buildings, you can't actually see or take pictures of the buildings, you can just see them from afar and we took some pictures from the roofs ;-) The shrines are very simple buildings made out of wood and we are not sure if the roofs are actual gold or just golden painted. 

Afterwards we took the bus to get to Futami, where you can see the Meoto iwa, the wedded rocks.
It was a fun trip, Raul almost forgot his camera at the bus ticket counter, arriving at Futami we wandered around aimlessly, because there were almost no signs where to go to see the rocks and the rocks themselves... well, they are the perfect example of how good photography can give you the wrong impression. It was a nice sight anyway and we got to spend some time at the beach :-D

 

After a restful night at the Ise Guest House Kazami we made our way to our last stop before going to the big city: Hakone. The city is very popular for it's views of Mount Fuji, which we only got to see a little bit from the train because the weather was not so good ( the perfect opportunity came a couple of days later, but that story is yet to come...). The cool part about getting to Hakone is the various tipes of transportation you have to take to get there: Train to the main station, then switchback train, cable car, ropeway and if you decide to go further (which we didn't) you can go aboard a pirate ship :-)
It was a nice trip and we got the opportunity to relax a little bit and enjoy an 8 course dinner!

 

Next time, our last stop in Japan: Tōkyō!

xo

09
Apr
2013

Japan#5: Kyoto

Posted by beritas
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Well, after 5 days of staying just one night at different places, we finally arrived at Kyōto, where we spend 2 whole days :-)

We visited the Imperial Garden an the former Imperial Palace -you need a special permit to visit the Palace, which we didn’t have, because we don’t really plan things ahead- but the garden was very nice!

We spend our 1st whole day outside of Kyoto and visited a Bamboo Forest and the famous Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion of Kyōto. The weather was really bad and it kept raining the whole time and there were really a LOT of tourists! You could not take your time to take pictures and since it was raining, you almost got hit or poked by umbrellas. We tried to make the best of it anyway.

The next day we explored the east side of Kyōto and spend our time wandering around the temples and shops of Higashiyama. It was not a sunny day, but at least it didn’t rain! Kyōto’s Shirakawa Minami Dōri is really the prettiest street in the whole city!
Once again we met a friend of mine and did some night time hanami at the Nijo Castle. I swear to you, that my dreams look exactly like that! 

 

PS. Sorry for my lack of words on this post, but we are on a plane on our way to Shanghai and I’m just exhausted!

Until next time!

xo

 

 

05
Apr
2013

Japan#4: Himeji & Kobe

Posted by beritas
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I’m back and still a tiny little bit behind on this Japan adventure. You have to know that we really do a lot during the day and are completely exhausted at night. I actually do all my writing & picture checking on the train. Then when we get to the hotel/ryokan I upload all, which takes much more longer than you might think. And now that you know it, please don’t mind my grammar, misspelling or any lost train of thoughts. Thank you!

So, back to our trip: after we spend a beautiful day in Miyajima we took the next train to Himeji.
The city in itself is unimpressive, but the Himejijō is one of the most beautiful castles in Japan. Sadly it’s right now in restoration! They built kind of a hall around it and you can take the elevator to the top floor to watch what they are doing to it. It’s actually a very good idea, you get to see the tiling on the roof and the restoration of the walls, BUT it just takes too long! There were sooo many people that it took us almost 2 hours just to get to the elevators. Once you are up there you can’t stop to wonder if it really was worth it. We were outside again in 15 to 20 minutes AND you even have to pay extra for it!
The rest of the premises make up for that lost life time :-) The walls are all white and the tiles are black/gray and on top of it the cherry trees were in full bloom!

After a short meal at the park we went to the Kōkoen, which are beautiful gardens just to the west of Himejijō. Look at those huge Koi in the pond on the 3rd picture! The gardens were a beautiful way of finishing our visit in Himeji :-)

I haven’t told you yet, but that day was Raul’s birthday and to celebrate it with style we made our way to Kōbe to have a very fancy dinner. Japanese have their own breed of cattle: Tajima and in Kōbe you can get THE BEST (yes, all in capital letters!) steak in the world!!! It is really that good! We recommend you the restaurant Moria (2nd floor, there is another on the 3rd floor, but I think is more expensive), Kōbe beef is not cheap, but it’s worth every penny! You decide what kind of meat you want and the cook prepares it in front of you, slowly while you eat so that it doesn’t get cold. It’s AWESOME!!! The meat is soft as butter and tastes delicious!

I hope you had a very nice birthday my love!

On the next post: Kyōto! See you!

xo

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