Friday, September 25, 2009

Kyushu adventure - Day 1

We've just had 5 days off here in Japan so what better way to make the most of it than driving 1000kms around Kyushu! Thankfully Nathan had spent the week before we left analysing our one and only map (which .is in Japanese) and highlighting the roads we needed to take for the entire trip... it sure made my job a lot easier in directing him through the numerous intersections, rice fields, random little streets, cities, villages and back roads. We sure would make one heck of an Amazing Race team! Our trip down to our first campsite was on the Miyazaki coastline so the scenery along the way was stunning. The water is seriously the most amazing blue here! Much of the route we took involved winding our way in and out of little coves and through tiny little fishing villages. We decided not to take the main road as we wanted to take in as much of rural Japan as we could... a decision we never regretted as it meant we got to see some amazing sights! Much of the drive around the little bays reminded us a lot of the Marlborough Sounds... although the boats couldn’t be further from those seen back at home... no big flashy boats here... rather old and well-used fishing vessels used for hauling in the catch of the day. Our ‘off the beaten track’ approach to the trip meant that at one point we were heading towards what we thought was going to be a relatively major road only to discover it was in actual fact the most random windy road that really shouldn’t be considered a road at all. It wound its way through the forest, up and over a big mountain... it was a shame I was sitting on the side of the car that was right next to the big drop down the side of the cliff (with no barriers)... I was terrified and held on tight the entire way! We eventually came out the other side with a sigh of relief and carried on down a ‘normal’ road. Our first campsite for the trip was right next to the beach which was lined with Palm trees and had beautiful white sand. The waves were incredible (hence the 30 or so surfers in the water) with the only downside being it wasn’t a great place for a swim (as Nathan found out after being pummelled by the waved during his short dip). We had a bit of fun trying to communicate with the guy at the camp office... trying to say we had our own tent and only wanted to stay for one night proved trickier than we first thought but we eventually got there in the end.