First day in Japan – Fukuoka

The bike squeeze

The crossing from Busan was very smooth and I slept all the way. The immigration officer looked askance at me and wanted to see my flight home details and how was I going to get to Tokyo? Good question I thought!

I tried to get some Yen in the terminal with my plastic but no go 🙁 The bank teller said I had to use the cashpoint a mile down the road in a 7/11 which thank goodness worked. For me, the amazing thing about their notes is that they are big and all totally pristine, like the rest of the country I guess.

Art the linguist from Colorado

I dithered about what to do so ended up parking my bike in the cavernous space under the square outside the main station (take note Cambridge this is a real pedestrian square)  the bike racks are awesome they are on sliding rails so the bikes crunch up against each other so compacting them, when you want to get it out you just push the others down the track 🙂 It’s free for 2 hours afterwards a modest charge, Since it takes scooters etc there is a moving belt to assist going up the steps.

The shopping is amazing, the electronics place, Yodobashi behind the main station, where I got my SIM (5GB for £39) makes a Currys look like a village shop! Coffee shops and bakeries galore I easily packed in the missing calories from yesterday. Everyone I’ve met speaks some English or at least willing to try.

My kind of shops

An American from Colorado, Art, offered his language skills. btw Art if you read this I returned to Yodobashi and found shelves of MiFi type devices – but only obtainable with a 2-year contract) So the FreeTel SIM I purchased with you is still the best value.

I also found a bike shop to salivate over, Uemura Cycle Parts, I’ve never seen such a well stocked,  comprehensive bike shop. It will be interesting to see what riders use when I start riding, which brings me to the sad part. Rain forecast for the next 6 days. It’s Morocco all over again 🙁

Currently, I’m staying at the Daiwa Roynet Hotel an aircrew favorite by the number staying here

All the pictures so far are here

 

Cycling Jeonkok to Cheondong (Seoul) on Lifeday 25,445

Warning elephant crossing

Monday 27th March 2017

What a foul weather day! I awoke to thick grey cloud and finished it in pouring icy rain 🙁

The going was also very varied from old broken roads which would compete with the worst in England to high-speed smooth very busy expressways with the cycle paths following a similar pattern.

Good use of mobility scooters

I stayed on the old road out of Jeonkok for as long as possible before hitting the incredibly busy 3 highway 🙁  after a few miles I turned off along the river by Anheungdong this road was unbearable and I was getting hungry I finally found an open bread shop in Dongducheon, a town that will never feature in any tourist brochure 🙁 Leaving on the 3 road again I finally spotted a cycle path alongside the river so down I went. Very grateful to leave the traffic behind at last. This track finished in Deokgyedong a far more upmarket place with a decent coffee shop 🙂 Then it was pounding down another busy road until just after Yangu station I spotted a bike path, pulling the bike across the verge and through a carpark. I zoomed down shortly meeting up with a magnificent path that took me all the way down to the main river 🙂

Four Rivers cycleway

I went through a small shower at the promised time of 2 pm but the 4 Rivers Path was on the other side of the main river so I had to do a huge U to find a bridge that cyclists could use. On the other side there were huge puddles 🙁 so I set off with a huge cloud following me. Near Bangi-Dong I checked the maps.me plugin (works offline) and discovered a nearby motel. I set it to find the route and set off. Too late the heavens opened, the iPhone7 is waterproof but the screen goes crazy with the rain drops 🙁 so I ended up all over the place, with much cursing, I was freezing.

I eventually found Hotel Murore a decent enough place the goodie bag is not as grand as the first night, obviously, folks here have shorter breaks. One disgusting feature is the heated toilet seat 🙁 I’ve unplugged it now.

Apart from the weather a good day although it has me thinking about the pros & cons of dedicated cycleways since down at the riverside you get to see so little of the city/country life.

Strava says I managed 55.6 miles  the day’s pics are here

 

 

S. Korea biking to Munsan on lifeday 25,443

Start of the 4 Rivers trail

After spending 24 hours in a windowless world yesterday (why does everyone shut the blinds on aeroplane) and OK 8 hours of which was stuck in Doha airport with no windows but it did have a 25 metre indoor pool if you remembered to put your costume in your carry on bag – I didn’t 🙁  I must also remember to carry a fine pen for filling in the 3 landing forms.

Arriving in Incheon airport I failed on both of my customary tasks when first arriving in a new country, both reflect rather badly on Korea. First job is to hit the ATM’s all my cards failed on all machines, I had revert to the expensive way of changing my £ notes 🙁 Next job was to get a SIM for my dongle or phone both failed miserably, all they want you to do is rent kit, tempting you with expensive unlimited data. Not much use when you aren’t returning to the airport! My worst experience of any country in the world. So much for hi-tech Korea!

I was picked up by Incheon Airport Best Guesthouse (using WeChat on the airport WiFi) so soon had my bike box in my room 10 floors up.

This morning I biked the  6 miles, all wrapped up, to Unseo station, on lovely cycle tracks, thinking I might spy some cash machines or phone stockists but to no avail, although I did procure a European plug to fit on my extension lead

The train was ultra smart, although it’s a steep climb up the 3 flights to the platform. 36 minutes later I arrived at Cheonga Int’l City Station and ready for the adventure.I rode around to the

Ara lock stamping box

I rode around to the Ara West Sea lock and bought a passport (nope the cash machines don’t work there either). There were loads of cyclists there today since it was a sunny Saturday. After stamping it at the first lock I was away 🙂 the cycle track is wide and really smooth, very easy to follow so no GPS required 🙂 Where the canal meets the river I left the 4 Rivers route to head north so I could visit the Dora Observatory. Alas, it wasn’t to be as the instructions Mark gave me (and no online maps) I somehow ended up in the wrong Paju 🙁 However, one good came out of this I found a huge supermarket with an array of ATM’s one of which finally behaved and released a pile of notes, but only with my Barclays account the others still failed to work. To celebrate I devoured two large scoops of very nutty ice cream.

Still the old ways

Once I realised my error, after chatting to a pair of MTB’ lads I decided to carry on North with the intention of starting The DMZ trail (interestingly I could see I was quite close by seeing the trail on the phone but with no maps). I was beginning to worry a bit when no hotels appeared and anyone I asked looked at me a bit weird 🙁 Eventually in Musan someone understood and pointed up at a huge building, The Royal Motel is up on the eighth floor and with the key you are given an interesting bag of goodies for those who are here for very short stays 😉

A lovely ride, although the cycle paths soon revert to the English variation with tree root bumps and disappearing.all the time once you leave the 4 rivers way.

Strava says 44.9 miles but there is an additional 6 to add at the start.

Pictures here

Portugal and a return to multi-day hiking on lifeday 25,430

Sally Kelly on GR13

Sally on the GR13

Sally decided that it was time for us to return to multi-day hiking 🙂 and go to somewhere warmer than the UK for her weeks holiday in March.

So yesterday we sat on the tarmac at Luton airport for the best part of 3 hours waiting for the Portugese flight controllers call to say we could depart to Faro. We eventually arrived at Faro airport at 8.30pm 🙁  having left home at 10.30am.

At Faro we had another wait for the taxi to Sagres, finally arriving at the Mareta View B&B at 10.30pm. We quickly dashed out for a rather excellent meal & wine at Mums Restaurant.

Today after a fantastic buffet breakfast we started our walk complete with rucksacks & poles my bag weighing in at 8kg. Once again mainly due to all my electronics.

The day was sunny but oh so so windy which bought the perceived temperature down to13 degrees, the scenery was superb especially with the crystal clear air and bright sunshine. The cliffs are stunning and the wild flowers very abundant. The walking surface was very varied with sand, ankle twisting rocks, tarmac & tracks.

We walked from  Sagres to the castle but refused the entrance fee so then headed to the lighthouse at the end of the world using a variety of tracks and on road walking. After the lighthouse we went along the cliffs to Praia do Telherio and then back on to the GR13 to Vila do Bispo and the highly rated Pure Flor de Esteva B&B for the night.

A good walk of over 14 miles and 1300 feet of ascent according to Strava made harder with the constant high winds in our face 🙁 The days pictures are here

We are still undecided as to which route to go tomorrow 🙁 the preferred inland route appears to suffer a lack of accommodation whereas the coastal route we will be walking into the high winds again.