Please start at Day One

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Day 10 - Plod plod plod

It was another chilly morning, and I had to stop twice at vendings machines to warm my hands on cans of hot coffee. This was just a day of walking, plod plod plod, my first day without reaching a temple. I thought all the blisters that I was likely to get had already appeared, but a new one popped up today. I am expert now at placing about 17 plasters on my feet in the morning which will stay in place for a whole day`s walking.

At the town of Mugi, I saw a sign for the local police station, so marched in to say hello, but this might have been a mistake. Mugi police station was not a small neighbourhood koban, I didn`t see anyone in uniform ready for a chat, just an office full of bewildered staff staring at me. I made my excuses and left. At my police station we occasionally have foreign police officer visitors, who are warmly welcomed, but I wonder if they would get the same reception at our Area HQ or Force HQ.

Right outside the police station was a small marquee by the side of the road, with people shouting at me to come over. I was given hot tea and coffee, and big block of purple jelly something which I was told is called Youkan and is made from sweetened bean-paste. The name of this marquee was Henro Settai Place, their sole function was to offer refreshment to pilgrims.



Today I found the mountain tunnels oppressive, the air was cold and the roar from the passing vehicles was deafening. Inside the tunnels it was dim - but not in the same way as the enchanting mountain forests. At the entrance to most of the tunnels, there were sign posts to an alternative route for walking Henro, so I tried one, but I hadn`t thought it through logically. Of course the alternative to walking on level ground through a mountain tunnel, is to scramble up a steep incline on a badly kept path over the mountain ridge, then tumble down the other side, I stuck to the cold roar of the tunnels after that.

The business hotel I booked into did not have internet but Toshiya-san, one of the staff, lent me his personal lap-top to use to check my email and upload some photos etc. All of the staff at this hotel were very friendly and helpful, when I asked the reception staff for directions to a store to buy food, he took me all the way there and waited while I bought my snacks.
  • Distance walked today = 37k
  • Distance walked so far = 195.1km
  • Temples visited today = nil
  • Koban visited today = 1 surreal visit to Mugi police station
  • Accommodation = hotel and breakfast¥5500 (this was for a double room, no single rooms left), White Beach Hotel, Kannoura, Kochi-ken 〒781-7413
  • Expenditure today = 2 cans of coffee ¥240, evening snacks ¥740 Settai = tea, coffee, jelly, sweets and biscuits, use of computer, escort to shop.

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