Summer in Japan

On Thursday we travelled from Matsumoto to Toyama.  The easy route on the new Shinkansen from Nagano to Toyama taking 46 minutes was an option, but we decided to take the scenic route which took eight hours+.  Crazy?…. No.  Japan is all about endless discovery.

Long way to Toyama

Prior to our holiday we thought, ah this will have fantastic views of the Japanese Alps… It’s summer the weather will be warmer and the skies clear – perfect! Well not quite. As you can see from the picture below, it was a little foggy…

Alpine route

The other feature of the journey is the eight different types of transport you take along the route. But I will leave that to Kym.

The below photo of the Kurobe Dam (after climbing 220+ stairs) was just before the rain pour down and our ponchos being used. We couldn’t see the mountains, but the view of the dam was pretty impressive, as it is in the time of high pressure discharge.  

Alpine route

As you can see it as a little rainy…

Alpine route

When we got to Murodo, it wasn’t raining (hooray!) so we knew we needed to take advantage of the weather, and did the Mikurigaike pond loop walk.  Here is Kym enjoying the walk- 

Alpine route

… And here is Kym towards the end of the walk. Yes as you can see it is wet, and cold! Endless discovery, regardless of weather!

Alpine route

Enemy of the tourist

Today it is raining…


Our original plans of going to the soccer match today were cancelled due to the match being a “super Classico” between two home town rivals, and members angry about not being able to get seats. I don’t blame them – I would feel the same! On the plus side it is pouring with rain… and forecast to rain all day, so it’s probably a good thing for us not to be standing in the rain watching soccer with 70,000+ people. So we have our day back… Still lots to do and see.. and Kym is planning.

Weather in Vermont

Around these parts it hasn’t rained for 17 days – at least until we arrived. This seems to be a record in these parts – whichis understandable given the green landscape. On the first day it was a little overcast, and threatened rained. Rain it did around lunch time, heavy enough to require rain jackets well before we got to Orwell to eat.

Today we set out from Middlebury, and it is 54F – which is darn cold. Fingers crossed no rain.

Heavy cloud

Lunch view from Orwell through the rain

Mission Accomplished

Riding Bikes in Shanghai, originally uploaded by kdt.

A proud owner of a wool and cashmere tailored suit is writing this post! It was one of my goals of this trip to buy a tailored suit. It is quite an experience, not because of the flourish but rather the ruthless efficiency. We arrived there sweaty (long and some times lost walk from the Metro station) and within 15 minutes I had selected my fabric and been measured up. That was Sunday, they had three days to finish the suit because it need to be ready by Wednesday. So another fitting was booked in for Tuesday and with pickup on Wednesday.

I am impressed, Dave’s Custom Tailoring managed it. The two subsequent visits were also less than 15 minutes.

Our second visit involved us riding our bikes from our B&B to the shop through the centre of Shanghai. I suspect we are amongst a few select customer’s of Dave’s that have arrived by bike. Usually customers arrive in large black European cars or at worst a cab. But no matter, the kind guard at the gate looked after our bikes.

After the second fit, we rode our bikes to the Metro station to catch a train so Helen could give a thumbprint…. Hey Helen when is that story going to be posted?

The second half of the ride was in three words… wet, Wet, WET! I wish I had bought those emergency ponchos I mused about during the Kathmandu sale. Oh well. Riding in Shanghai traffic with one hand on the handlebar and one holding an umbrella is amusing. We didn’t catch a chill though because it was way too hot.

All up we rode about 21kms that day.I have embedded a google map to show our route (so you may need to visit our webpage to see it You may need to zoom out a couple of levels to see our route.

I bikes were almost brand new and the seats were so low even Helen complained! We got plenty of stares and an occasional smile. We managed to stop an entire worksite as would stood at the side of the road trying to work out where we were. No one offered us their ponchos though.

View of Shanghai… cloudy and rain

View of Shanghai… cloudy and rain, originally uploaded by Helen K.

We’ve been on holiday a week now…. and I can truthfully say it is hot. It is not just hot, it is humid too. It is the kind of weather where you are so hot the sweat is dripping down your back while you are walking.

Even when it rains, it isn’t cool and doesn’t last very long. It reminds me of someone coming along with a bucket of water and tipping it out. If you get wet (and you will because it starts so quickly you haven’t managed to get your umbrella out quick enough), your clothes are dry within 30 minutes, and you are wishing it would rain again.

However, we have seen the wild weather that is currently off the South Coast of China, and hoping that it doesn’t affect Shanghai at least until next weekend, after we’ve left. I’m being slightly selfish as if it rains my shoes, my feet will get wet.

…Well the above was written on the train a couple of days ago while it was hot, and sultry. I take it all back as it is continuing to rain, and rain, and rain. It is the kind of rain where umbrellas aren’t very effective in keeping you dry. However, the days have commenced with a good outlook, but by the afternoon the rain is firmly set in place. According to the weather reports, the rain should be decreasing tomorrow. Fingers crossed!