October 9, 2007


Our latest adventure took us to Nara, Japan's ancient capital. I have been to Nara twice before, once with my parents and once with a good friend. While I have seen most of the big sights I still wanted to take James there.

Flashback to before the trip:

Me (calling the youth hostel): "So you are all full on Saturday night"
Hostel: "Yes, that's right, we have such and such sports camp and there isn't any room...
Me (turning to James): Hmm, the hostel is full, what about camping? I found a campsite that says it is only a 30 minute train ride from Nara OR Kyoto and a 20 minute walk to the campsite...
James: Sure, we have a great tent we might as well use it!

It sure seemed like a great idea at the time. It was cheap and seemed convenient! Maybe we could use this place for a Kyoto trip too! After many transfers, we finally arrived at Nagaike (Long Lake) Station. After walking a bit I asked a local construction worker if we were heading the right direction. He said yes, but is was another 3 kilometer... uphill.

When we finally got to the place, we had two choices for camping. A gravelly spot, or a mosquito infested one. We opted for paying a bit extra, staying at the lodge and then getting out of there as early as we could. OK, it wasn't such a good idea...
That behind us, we still had a great time seeing the sites in Nara, the most famous being Todai-ji, which has the largest Buddhist statue in Japan, and is the largest wooden structure in the world! At least that is what is said on the ticket.

We also visited a very beautiful garden nearby that I hadn't been to before.

Of course no trip to Nara would be complete without feeding the tame deer that roam Nara Park, living off of handouts from tourist and scaring small children. James still thinks watching the crying kids is more entertaining then the deer.

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