Early in organising this trip I was eager to visit CERN. I knew they had guided tours of the facility, and they were free, you just needed to book them. Each day at about 4:30PM AEDT / 08:30AM CET they open up spots on the tours to book 2 weeks in advance. At the sametime they also open up spots for tours for that same day if they have any spots free.
Within minutes all the tours are booked out.
I set a reminder on my phone, and took my laptop to work – not trusting the incredibly expensive corporate internet connection, instead relying on my phone’s 4G. As with most work days I got distracted by something around 4:28PM and by the time I had refreshed the CERN website to see what tours were available all the spots were taken.
Despite this I was determined, and logged in most days to keep an eye on the numbers.
I like trains. I’ve mentioned this before, severaltimes. 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.
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.