Our first day in France we spent in Nîmes. We caught a local bus from the hotel into town. There was some disagreement on what we could or could not buy in terms of tickets from the driver, so this ended up costing us nothing.
Since visiting Paris for the first time in 2009 I haven’t been much of a fan. I enjoyed a lot of it, the museums mainly, but there was a lot that didn’t enjoy. When I went back in 2015 I was determined to like it, but Paris fought back, and I figured I didn’t need to go to Paris again.
I was looking forward to going to somewhere in France other than Paris on this trip.
A couple of years ago I was fortunate to be in the same country as The Tour de France at the same time. We were in Belgium, staying a short train ride away from where the race would wind through a small town and up a decent hill. The plan then was to catch a train and walk up the hill.
This day didn’t go exactly to plan, with the race being neutralised after a number of crashes.
The plan this year was to rent a car from Lausanne and just pop over the border into France and see the race not too far from the end of the stage. That was about all the planning I did.
This trip to Europe like the last ones started with a conversation with dad along the lines of:
“Tim, I’m going to a conference in <European Country> in about 12 months, mum is going to come, would you like to go to Europe as well?”
“Sure, can we also go to <small European country / principality / micro-state>?”
or about 16km of walking…
The next day I had breakfast in the hotel and waited for Alex and his wife, Lyn, to meet me before we headed out for the day. I got a message saying they were going to be a bit late, so I should head out in the morning first and they’ll meet me a little later at the hotel, so I went for a wander.
I had an early start today, a very early start. I had to catch the first train out of Shinjuku going to the airport for my whirlwind trip to Seoul, Korea. To make getting around easier I arranged to leave my suitcase at the hotel in Tokyo, and just take a backpack with me.
I like trains. I’ve mentioned this before, several times. I don’t like buses. Buses were part of my commute to high school for several years, but I never enjoyed them and after a while I just started walking from the train station to school. Today, armed with a transit map and a rough bus timetable we headed out into Kyoto, on the buses.
After the morning, that turned into most of the day, trip to Nara we caught the train back to Kyoto Central. Mum headed back to the hotel, dad and I caught another local train just a few stops to visit Fushimi Inari Taisha. It is a very popular place in Kyoto to visit for locals and tourists. Again, there were people everywhere. There were a lot of people walking around in traditional kimonos, some were locals having what appeared to be graduation photos taken (mortar board, certificate), others were tourists (speaking Chinese, or American). Dad and I joined the throngs people on the walk up the hill through the torii gates.
The day started with the standard can of coffee and random rice spicy rice thing for breakfast from a convenient convenience store on the way to the station. We caught a local train from Kyoto to Nara, just over an hours trip. I hadn’t previously been to Nara, on my last trip I had stayed in Osaka with a day trip to Kyoto, but not to Nara.