On the Road

Day 17 – Sunday, 14 April 2024

Up the next morning in Nara, remarkably not too long after Annabelle, so we set out together for the before-the-boys-are-conscious exploration. A ramble up and down the arcades of Nara’s funky town. A needed toilet break for me led to a conversation with a local, of many years’ wisdom, who explained to us that the nest in the eaves was, indeed, of swallows (we’d spotted a couple, their characteristic tails obvious). It also meant, he went on, that the house was a happy one – a heartwarming thought about level two of a cream brick shopping centre containing a closed liquor shop and a public toilet.

The loo was not the only lucky one as, shortly thereafter, we found the only example located on our entire trip (at the time of writing, a few days after the date at the top of the page) of a coffee shop open and selling coffee before 11am. We ducked back to see what quantity of dynamite would be required to get the boys moving. That done, and Anna deciding to stay with them to supervise their return to consciousness, I went back to confirm in the most concrete fashion possible that it was, in the face of nearly a fortnight’s experience to the contrary, possible in Japan to buy a coffee at an hour of the day when it might do some damn good. Mirabile dictu, it was, and the reason was immediately apparent from the photographs on the wall of Flinders Street Station and other Melbourne locales. One of our hosts was an Aussie. Unsurprisingly, they served the best coffee of the trip so far, unless that was also an artefact of it being the earliest espresso of the trip so far.

After lunch, the second stupid day of my stupid plan to drive a stupid distance was put into effect. It was after dark that we crawled into the little village outside Takayama consisting entirely of onsens to find the one which had us on its guest list for the evening, Ryokan Sansui. The only eatery within walking distance was just closing. The boys and I left an exhausted Anna and drove the ten minutes required to get to the next hamlet and dinner. Karaage chicken for the boys, while I continued my project of eating beef at almost every opportunity.


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