Here comes the rain again…

It was a day of rain and sunshine.

Day 5

We did admire the persistence of this family – it was raining at the time!

Day 5

But there were times when we saw blue sky

Day 5

While in the fish market it poured.

Day 5
the best plan of the day was to leave the poncho on regardless of presence of rain!

You keep asking…

Our holiday started based around one restaurant booking, Faviken.

Faviken

Why did we want to go? It was about passion, and the desire of the chef to promote and maintain the culture and heritage of Nordic cuisine.  We had watched Chefs Table… and since then had wanted to visit and experience it for ourselves.  

Faviken

Booking for us was smooth, the computer was on, and the moment it ticked over 8:30am we booked the restaurant reservation and then accomodation. I recognise not everyone has this experience, so obviously it was meant to be.  Once booked (and paid), the rest of our holiday was planned around the booking.  Simple eh?

Faviken

It was a long way to get to Faviken, overnight train from Stockholm to Åre and a taxi there.  We learnt it is the largest hunting lodge in Sweden.  The small section of the grounds we saw were picturesque.

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Accomodation was very comfy. You could take a sauna if you wanted…. we elected to go for a walk and explore what we could.

Faviken

We walked to the garden… this hut was heated and had a bucket full of drinks on ice!  Perfect in winter… thankfully it was not raining.

Faviken

While inside and perusing the gardening books, a chef/gardener came along and we were given freshly made raspberry gelato and lettuce leaves with cream. So, so good – and what a place to enjoy the tastes.

Faviken

Faviken

We were taken on a tour of the garden.

Faviken

Faviken

Some things are easier to grow than others…

Faviken

They grow the vegetables (treat them, pickle or otherwise) and store them in the root cellar. They have a large garden – not just the small one guests see

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

We met some Australian’s (surprisingly enough).  We had a great time talking to them about food and restaurants we had been to and going to on holiday.

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

The meal itself was amazing – and I’m not just saying that…!  What follows are pictures of the food we enjoyed that evening….

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Oyster was so tasty….

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

The taste of these eggs…

Faviken

The spinach was Kym’s highlight!

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

The homemade alcoholic drinks were delightful…

Faviken

Faviken

Love a seasonal berry!

Faviken

We went to bed – very satisfied and full!  Here is a copy of what we ate that night – the first few courses are presented at speed, so I’m pleased to have this list:

Faviken, Sweden

Thankfully, the next morning we also was able to enjoy breakfast.  

The milk/butter was provided by a local farmer who is in her 80’s – it’s what she has done for all her life.  It was truely devine. Can you see yourself doing what you are doing now for the rest of your life? It’s hard to imagine….

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Faviken

Ah… great experience. Worth it – yes!

Faviken

Sorry to all those people who have asked about the experience and our explainations have been a little average – hopefully this post goes some way in sharing with you our experience.

Japanese language… pt 2

Toyosu library - Tokyo

Some of you know I work in a public library.  But the system in the Toyosu library leaves me slightly confused… 

Toyosu library - Tokyo

Very clear signage!

Toyosu library - Tokyo

Toyosu library - Tokyo

Just like every library around the world –  I know people don’t follow written requests, or so I was told!  To be fair I was in a local library, where no tourists venture – so I feel very fortunate to be taken there by our friends – arigatou!

At least with other signage, we get the idea what you are not allowed

Kanazawa - Japan

Wish our signage was like the below one!

Kanazawa - Japan

There has to be more to this sign

Inland sea bike ride - Japan

…. and to finish, this was cute! Still love Japan, despite a lack of understanding.

Inland sea bike ride - Japan

Japanese language…

Kanazawa

Learning a language is not easy – especially Japanese.  I really enjoy learning the language, but I do have trouble remembering. 

Tokyo

There are three character sets, hiragana (????), katakana, and kanji. I think perhaps I just need to do more repetition…. practice, practice and practice!

Kanazawa

Although I will say when in Japan, I think it is probably better to go to places where you are less likely to use English.  At least that way I would be forced into it!  While waiting for Kym in a restaurant (don’t ask), I did manage to have a broken couple of sentence about how long we were in Kanazawa and where we were going, and how many days we were in Japan.  When listening to people I could understand parts of sentences,  and numbers when paying for items in shops.  Let’s not forget the railway station announcements. Although it doesn’t sound so magical now compared to the first holiday. At least there is some recognition!

Inland sea bike ride - Japan

While on trains I did find myself attempting to sound out the words on the signs… not that I have the vocabulary to know what it meant – but it is a good feeling in at least recognising the characters.

Train

However, when buying coffee the language is generally English!  I’m just going to have to persist…. 

Kanazawa

I should also thank our Japanese friends for speaking English with us.  Otherwise the conversation would of taken longer, and more google translation use! Arigatougozimasu!

Only a couple more posts to do – one on the food we enjoyed, and a couple of highlights – so stay tuned!

Brompton in Palace… Tokyo 

One of our goals while on holiday was attending the “Brompton in Palace” meet and ride, which falls on the second Sunday every two months. While booking our flights we were careful to ensure we were in Tokyo the right day. Thankfully we were as over 100 Brompton owners & their bikes turned up for the event.

Brompton in Palace - Tokyo

It was very impressive, seeing all the modifications and adjustments individuals had made to their bike.  From customised parts to personal creative designs for different fittings.  Impressive passionate owners!

Brompton in Palace - Tokyo

Brompton in Palace - Tokyo

Brompton in Palace - Tokyo

Once everyone had turned up after the appointed time, the number was counted – in Japanese of course, which I understood.  The bikes were then placed in order of colour.

Brompton in Palace - Tokyo

…and they certainly looked impressive 

Tokyo

Every Sunday between 10-3 the road in front of the Imperial Palace is closed for cycling.  A cycling group provides lessons for younger kids to have a go. You also see a wide range of cyclists – roadies, families, tandem, and tourists. Not everyone wears helmets either- it’s up to the individual.

Brompton in Palace - Tokyo

Brompton in Palace - Tokyo

Brompton in Palace - Tokyo

Afterwards a large number of people had a pasta meal, which was enjoyable.

Sadly, it was the last meet. A permit has to be obtained prior to each meeting, and the organiser has been told they group are not able to meet there anymore.  It will be interesting to see what they continue to do as there are a number of passionate owners in Japan who meet and talk bikes. 

Tokyo

The person is this photo is Mayumi, leader of Brompton in Palace, and she initiated the meets starting.  Full credit to her, as it’s not easy to arrange something voluntarily for people to attend.  The numbers on Sunday certainly demonstrate support for the event. We had a really great time and grateful and appreciative of the kindness showed by everyone we’ve met associated with Brompton bikes in Japan. We look forward to seeing what develops with the group- but hopeful we will cycle with them again!

Cycling Tokyo…!

Cycling is a great way to see a city and understand how al the different parts connect to one another.  You begin to realise how close places are when you are cycling instead of using the underground/metro systems.  Many years ago on one of our first trips in Tokyo we spent 30 minutes by train to get to a block around the corner from where we were! At the time our friend laughed when explaining we just had to walk!  Still it makes for a good story.

This time round, on Saturday we spent time cycling with our Brompton bicycle friends.

Cycling Tokyo

I will acknowledge it was great to just follow someone else and not read a map.

Cycling Tokyo

We stopped off at a shop which sold pickled goods (sorry if I’m explaining it correctly).  The owner enables you to try the product before you buy – so enjoyable & tasty!

Cycling Tokyo

Great looking public toilets!

Cycling Tokyo

Underground bike parking..

We were also taken to a monja restaurant – well truthfully a whole street full of them! Amazing! The best part is we didn’t have to worry about attempting to order as our friends did this for us – so wonderful, thank you!

Cycling Tokyo

Cycling Tokyo

Let’s not mention the notice on the bikes after when we went to unlock them!

Cycling Tokyo

Cycling Tokyo

Yes… everyone taking photos!

Cycling Tokyo

It truely was a great day on the bike – we loved it! 

Cycling Tokyo

Cycling Tokyo

Cycling Tokyo

Hedgehogs…

On holiday when travelling with others it’s important to do a mix of what each other wants.  Today it was my choice to go to the Harry the hedgehog cafe! I booked it online (very simple).

It was pretty easy to find… as we had parked our bikes near-by by chance.

Hedgehog cafe Tokyo
Naturally, Kym mastered the art of picking them up and then placing them in the ball position.

Hedgehog cafe Tokyo

The cafe also sells them as pets, as it is allowed in Japan.

Hedgehog cafe Tokyo

We must have caught the off peak time (between 1-2), as not many people were present.

Hedgehog cafe Tokyo

This one is a year old. He eats a lot, and should do more exercise on his wheel… but he doesn’t!

Hedgehog cafe Tokyo

Staff were friendly and had good English, and answered questions about the hedgehogs. It was pretty good fun!

Hedgehog cafe Tokyo