Sunday, November 05, 2006

Paul and Laurie in Kyoto

We started off the trip staying at the new Hyatt Regency in Kyoto. Normally, I’m not a fan of staying at the big chain hotels, but this was really something else. It was brand new, had beautiful interiors and landscaping, awesome service, and of course, a wonderful flushing toilet (I'm so easily impressed). Our first day, we explored the Higashiyama area, east of the hotel. Nestled in the mountains is Kiyomizudera Temple, which was built without any nails or screws. The stilts supporting the temple disappear like the tree trunks in the mountains and you get a commanding view of Kyoto’s varied landscape. The trees were barely beginning to change colors, but in a couple weeks, this place will be ablaze in red and orange. There are a ton of cool little streets winding around with little shops selling souvenirs, mochi treats, pottery, and everything else you would ever want… We even saw a couple of geisha(s) and ended up window shopping in Gion and Nishiki Market.

The next day, we went on a boat trip on the Hozu-gawa River. On the way there, we walked by two women drinking tea in a boat in a field of wildflowers- it was a really beautiful image. The weather couldn’t be any more gorgeous for winding around in the white water canyons of the mountains. Our boat was “poled” around boulders, and we just floated down in crystal blue green waters….. Afterwards, we went to the beautiful spa cafe place and had the most delicious green tea latte. We also checked out the Fushimi Inari shrines where one of the scenes in Memoirs of a Geisha was filmed. There are hundreds of orange gates marching up the paths around the mountains. Now I have to read up on Christo’s inspiration for “The Gates” in Central Park... Unfortunately, we went right around sunset and it was getting too dark to be able to see. I have to go back and capture the place in all of its glory!

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