It was a sticky, hot and sleepless night battling mosquitoes but I woke ready for the day and with a hearty breakfast later, with Elsa and Healy more amazing leaders for Venture we set out with my on a research bike ride at 7:30am.
I had not quite told them the distance I wanted to cover this morning, just that I had an active private trip coming up and I wanted to map out a route for them. So we started through the streets of West side Kyoto and made our way to Katsura river, we had not been this way before and we all were so excited to see this large river with the mountains on one side and beside it many veggie and rice farms all covered in water for optimum growth. We rode happily with the breeze with us our adventure was already looking positive. Healy spotting every tennis court along the way we made it to my first destination of the beautiful Arashiyama, one of my most favourite places in Kyoto and known for its bamboo forest, we had the rare privilege to ride through with no one else around. This is probably the best advice and secret I can give you keen readers wanting to travel, whenever you want to visit a popular tourist destination early mornings are the absolute best time to visit a private observation to see the area in full glory.
This was the part I had not yet told my friendsâ€¦. I didn’t want to go back the same way but rather pass through the golden pavilion, some more major temples and head to Kamo River to cycle back, conveniently located on the other side of the city, so pretty much I was doing a big scenic square. It didn’t take much talking into and Elsa said not to listen to her complaining as she was French and sometimes thatâ€™s just what they do, you donâ€™t have to believe it every time (an important lesson I thought that morning). So we continued passing more rice fields, secret temples all the way to Kinkakuji temple (Golden Pavilion) it was time to lift our spirits however so we ducked into a gorgeous cafÃ© for juice and coffee. Just at the bottom of the Golden Pavilions Street and on the left this cafÃ© was located and the kindest people to serve us and quirky art and games to keep us entertained. We were working though 😉 so we continued heading east towards the Silver Pavilion, making it to Kamo River we knew the east well so didn’t need to cycle through there, (stay tuned or jump on a tour if you want to know all the fun secret spots on that side). Choosing the right side of the river to cycle down turned to be good research as we will not go that way again, the road was not smooth and letâ€™s just say I felt sorry for Healyâ€™s manhood but stopping to watch the gorgeous school children leap frog rocks in the river made it worth it. What a brilliant way to incorporate into learning in schools, adventure, movement, teamwork, local community knowledge, fresh air, so perfect! We crossed to the more comfortable side of the river and made our way home, stopping to buy some coconut water and snacks.
To say thank you I cooked my cycling buddies a delicious lunch with pan fried Tofu mixed with sweet soy sauce and sliced fresh ginger, cooked rice, avocado and poached egg to drizzle over the topâ€¦â€¦ Oishi!!!!
Next stop Tokyo.