Last month I could finally get a chance to stay longer in Japan and see more of it then only Tokyo. My colleague was heading here later so we got together a week to explore a little bit of the country.
Usually you will know Japan to be referred as a land of raising sun. But during this visit I experienced more of the sun set. They do not have a summer time and during October the sun is up early but it gets dark also at five in the afternoon.
For us foreigners who wanted to try Shinkansen bullet trains was an easy choice to get a Japan Rail Pass for one week and just go where we wanted to. We have decided to go to one of the well known and famous cities, to Kyoto. But since on Saturday, there was a Tajfun heading somewhere around we didn’t had a trouble to find nice accommodation in Hostel Cocone Kyoto Station. They just opened this hostel and it was a perfect stay for us thus we extended it a bit. In Kyoto we rented a bicycles to move around the city and it was great idea. We could see much mode thanks to them and as a cyclist in here you can go pretty much anywhere.
In the city itself there are many UNESCO protected sites and shrines as has many historical sites since it used to be a capital for some time. Some are for free but to many you need to pay some entrance fee. Also, several were being reconstructed now. Possibly they are preparing them to be ready for 2020 Olympics as that will bring a lot more tourist to the country.
I think the most impressive to be Kinkaku-ji – the golden pavilon where they keep a Budha’s relic. It looks like a place form fairly tale and must be also beautiful in the winter as you can see on a photo of photo below.
From here we went for a day to Nara but it might be better to just take it as a trip there rather then to move as for our next move we had to go back to Kyoto anyway. After spending so much time in the cities we wanted to go also to some mountains. We found about Hida area and went to village Takayama which is one of the entry point to Japan Alps. Here we were not so lucky with the weather so we stayed more around and went to a lower hill to see around and since we could not see the high mountains because they were hidden in the clouds it was probably good decision not to head there.
For next time we will probably visit rather Matsumoto. It is located on the other side of the range and it’s closer to the starting point. In Takayama one day before our arrival was a big festival which attracted many people and probably was interesting so I’m sorry we missed it but that is a price of not planning everything 😊. Anyway there are many things to see in Japan and I’m looking forward for next oportunity to see again more out of the country.
From Revelstoke I started to hitchhike east and got a ride to Glacier National park in British Colombia (there is also a one down in United States). I was luck that one day the smoke cleared and I could see all the mountains around when I went up by Avalanche Crest trail. It goes under the Avalanche Mountain and from here it’s a great view of Selkirk Mountains also the highway and railroad which goes through Rogers Pass.
Glacier National Park panorama
Because in following days there was again smoke everywhere and the situation was not supposed to get better I went to Lake Louise. It was funny to see all the people taking the pictures while you could not see even the other side of the lake not the mountains around. So, after a night there I got to Jasper while I was picked by two Chinese families and then one British family in RV.
I spent in Jasper four days waiting for the train and I only made some trips around. The smoke was mostly present just with different intensity. Thus, I didn’t go any further as it was nonsense.
The train trip then was very nice and I enjoyed it a lot. I was surprised that on this line from Toronto are probably the oldest trails Via Rail has but they are comfortable so it was nice journey. Unfortunately, the train came delayed by more than hour and the first part of the trip through the beautiful mountains we did during dusk and night. Then we went also through nice Fraser River Canyon and after all we came to Vancouver earlier then scheduled. The delays are actually very common since all the cargo train have a priority on the rails.
Here in Vancouver I visited many of my favorite places and my Irish pub where I was working once I lived here years ago. Now there are only a few days left of my summer holidays and once I get home I’ll process again a video and write then the summary.
My journey is going forward and from Thunder Bay I got up to proximity of Winnipeg by a single car. It’s good finally to cross Ontario after so many days there. Then I got another ride to the city where I used buses to get to my accommodation. In a way there I texted people who took me from Halifax as I thought they might be somewhere around and they agreed to take me with them from here. They were heading to the southern British Colombia for work but they had a time and I was happy that I don’t need to hitchhike for some days.
In the prairies there isn’t so much to see around the highway so I was happy that we took a different route and checked the southern border where it was like safari in a short while we have seen more wildlife then what I saw in many days.
And this way we got to the smoky mountains and up to the Castlegar. There is now here so much smoke so the view is often spoiled by that. This summer is also in Canada unusually hot and dry and there are many wildfires raging in different provinces and places and this is causing the smoke in many places.
Upper Arrow Lake
From Castlegar I continued north to Revelstoke to meet a friend because on my last trip we could not meet since he was away. This took me two days but I met really nice people in the area. Only the smoke was getting more intense and on ferry across Upper Arrow Lake we could not see for some time the other shore.
In Revelstoke I’ve stayed for two days due to weather and then continued further, but that will be described next time.
I’ll now continue where I finished on the last post. At the end I’ve stayed in Halifax two weeks and meet with pretty much everyone I wanted and who wanted to meet with me. It felt good to be back for a bit as I still consider the city as one of my hometowns. The main reason, I stayed so long was a tent I ordered online and it took a bit longer for it to arrive.
For Monday 30th I managed to get a rideshare on Pop a ride which will take me up to Montreal, then I got another one from there to Ottawa and since there I was able to hitchhike across Ontario and get up to Thunder Bay. Here I stayed in The Heaven Hostel and I have to say I liked the city as well as this new hostel which is super nice place to stay.
To get here I got ride by 11 people and I think that hitchhiking is not so difficult here. Sometimes I walk for some time but overall, it’s positive experience and most of the times I didn’t need to wait long. In front of me there is about another 4,000 kilometers and if I could keep it this way I’d like to get at least for some time to Yukon.
I want to mention that around Lake Superior there are many great spots for camping and I found amazing place in Carden Cove close to Marathon and even though I needed to walk some six kilometers it was definitely worth the effort. Also, I spotted a moose after many days when seeing only a sign to be alert that they live in the area.
After a long time, I’m on a longer trip and there are some people which are interested to know about it and how I’m doing. Thus, I’m going to write a little bit again something here and maybe add some notes from previous trips which I wanted to write but didn’t feel for it yet.
Now to the current adventure. I’ve managed to get a longer vacation from a work and on July I went to Prague to catch a direct flight to Montreal. Here at the airport I got picked up by my friend who will accompanied me for this part of the trip.
First of all, we looked a bit around Montreal but since he had also a vacation we booked a small pickup for trip north. In the morning once we got to the rental company we’ve learned that we got a Nissan Titan which is much bigger then what we expected but I always wanted to try to drive one of these and now I got the chance. We were heading towards a Mount Tremblant where we had checked it around and had accommodation by Airbnb next to a beautiful lake. We though that we might kemp in the provincial park there but since it wasn’t something we planned at the beginning and didn’t bring any food along we realized it won’t be possible since park stores did not really have anything to eat what we could use.
So, we returned to Montreal and next day went east towards Sherbrooke, where it is also really nice and in Bromont we hiked the local hill to see more around. I have to say the view from the top was not worth the effort, but in the area, they have really nice single treks and also an aquapark. Both looked pretty good.
Then we returned to the city to work a little bit and go to another trip to Ottawa, where we checked surroundings and the city and met with friends which lives there now. We stayed the night with them and then went to check another provincial park on a way to Toronto. I wanted to meet with other friends living there. On a way we went to Petroglyph park where they should have the highest number of petroglyphs on a single place in Canada. We both enjoyed this park and the beautiful places which offers as much as mosquitoes enjoyed our blood 😊
However, now I’m on my own as I took a train to Halifax to visit friends and all these beautiful places I got to know when I lived here.