When planning our trip one attraction we did want to see was Mount Fuji. We read up on the best places to go and visit, I checked with a friend from work, and it definitely sounded like the best idea was to go to somewhere where we could see Mount Fuji, and get a good view of it, not Mount Fuji itself. There were options for a guided tour, or a bus trip from Tokyo, but we were confident we’d be able to do it on our own on the the trains. Mum wasn’t feeling the best in the morning, so dad and I set off with our JR passes on our own. Continue reading “Looking for Mount Fuji and Confusing Americans”
One of my favourite things to do travelling is walking around cities, and Tokyo is a great city to walk around in. There are so many subway and local train stations that you can walk in almost any direction and just end up at another station and catch a train back. When I visit Melbourne or Sydney I enjoy walking around the cities. I tried it once in Canberra, but the city area isn’t an overly interesting place to walk around.
There are quite a few museums in Tokyo, we only made it to two on different days. The first was visited was the Tokyo National Museum. We took the train into town using our JR passes. At the station we managed to spot a desk with helpful people selling tickets to all the museums in the area. I pointed my phone at the handwritten signs to work out exactly what they were selling. We then walked through the park in the rain to the museum armed with our tickets. My Hong Kong umbrella served me well.
There was a small confusion with our rooms when we checked into the hotel in Kyoto, I didn’t pay for the hotel breakfast, and dad accidentally booked for one person in a smoking room. Mum and dad ended up with a nice non-smoking room, and I was quite happy to get breakfast from 7-Eleven, there were three convenience stores within a convenient walk.
There were two day trips we planned to do from Tokyo while we were there. One to see Mt Fuji (but not go to Mt Fuji) and one to the north to Nikko National park. We thought that we should be able to do the Mt Fuji trip ourselves on the trains, but the Nikko one would have been a little more complicated, and decided to get a guided coach tour for that. The tour group did hotel pickups from Shinjuku, but not ours. I’m not surprised I wouldn’t want to try and get a coach through the tiny street it was on. I rang them up to confirm the pickup location at Shinjuku Station, the hotel phones didn’t dial external numbers so I used Hangouts on my phone.
The probable with going to eat with more than one person is the endless procession from place to place because no one is willing to commit. Those that know this know you eat at the first place no one has any strong feelings against. A “Yeah, I guess” should be considered a roaring endorsement and the location settled.
Before I had even gotten through immigration I managed to pick up SIM card with unlimited* data and was back online. I grabbed my bag from the carousel and headed towards the train. There is a customer service centre just after customs with a big sign that says “There are more places to buy your ticket, including the destination station.” or something like that. I bought a ticket anyway and head to the platform. Exiting the customs area and into the arrivals hall they have giant TV screens showing the other exits passengers can come out, just in case people waiting for you are at the wrong one they can see you.
During our last night in Interlaken I had been very unwell. More unwell that I had been in a very long time. I was dehydrated, and had issues keeping any food or drink in me. In the morning we set off to find a doctor. He kept apologising for his English, which was perfectly acceptable. Partway through the examination he jumped on the phone, switched to German and had a conversation with a gastro specialist at the hospital. He apologised again, this time for not being a gastro specialist and only being a neurosurgeon. I assured him I was quite comfortable in his competency to treat me either way. He gave me some probiotics and instructed me eat bananas, bread, and chocolate. Mum wasn’t sure about the chocolate, but I reminded her the doctor meant proper chocolate, proper dark Swiss chocolate.
Our second day in Switzerland started quite early. We had booked on the train to travel to Jungfrau the highest train station in Europe, up in the alps. The tickets we bought meant we had to head up early in the morning, and head back well before the last train. We drove the car down to Interlaken Ost station and got there way too early. The platforms weren’t open yet. There were a few other people in the car park getting their gear together, climbing harnesses, ropes, toe clips. I had my camera bag with all my lenses, a couple of lenses, and a jumper.
We had a couple of trips out of Interlaken planned for the time we were there, but the first order of business was a Swiss SIM card. Having done the appropriate research ahead of time I headed into town to find a friendly Swisscom store. Another tourist was trying to purchase a SIM but had not brought the requisite paperwork, his passport. It is easy to get a prepaid SIM in Switzerland, they have a handy form for it, but you do need a passport and a local address – your hotel.