After over a week of cycling, Saya and I pedaled into Kyoto two days ago, tired and happy! We're halfway through our bike ride from Tokyo to Kyoto and back, and we decided to spend a couple days enjoying this unique, tradition-rich Japanese city before beginning our return journey. Kyoto is full of ancient temples, yukata-clad men and women (yukata is a casual type of kimono typically worn in summer), tourists galour, and a wide variety of food.
Cucumber on a stick!
Today we plan to check out the famous Gion Matsuri, a festival that dates back over 1,000 years. One of the main streets was already closed in preparation for the big event:
Hmm, I don't think Saya showed the proper reverence for this ancient temple...
Sometimes the ride was Tough:
When we cycled beneath the brutal sun on a hot, humid day or up long, seemingly never-ending climbs to a mountain pass. Here's the tunnel at the top of a climb outside the town of Seki (between Tsu and Kyoto)
I was dripping with sweat when we finally reached this point. On the other side of the tunnel was a long descent, and while I relished the chance to rest my legs and enjoy the cool wind on the steep downhill ride, Saya complained that my sweat was splashing back on her. Poor kid. So gross...
Like when it rained so much I had difficulty using my iPhone to figure out the route. Water on the screen and wet fingers make the iPhone unhappy and prone to temper tantrums. Saya wasn't bothered though. She loves the rain.
Speaking of temper tantrums, when I got tired or hungry or dehydrated, I may have gotten a bit fussy and less patient than usual. But Saya was patient with me and always found a way to cheer me up.
Traveling by connected bicycles with a 9-year-old and 70+ pounds of gear makes it hard to ride fast. In less than an hour a car can cover more miles than we can pedal all day. But traveling by bicycle makes it easy to stop and check out the many fabulous creatures waiting to be noticed. Saya is an expert at this.
We continually came across views that simply demanded we stop and take a photo, like these from Cape Irago.
Here's what Saya did with the beach sunset at Cape Irago:
Sometimes the ride was Unusual:
This is how our bike was secured on the ferry ride from Cape Irago to the town of Tobe
If you happen to visit Tobe, make sure to check out the fabulous aquarium!
Sometimes the ride was Social:
With friendly patrons at a restaurant in the town of Seki
Saya with a cyclist from Thailand
Sometimes the ride was Delicious.
And sometimes the ride was Perspective Giving and made me deeply happy to be a father.