Sunday, May 13, 2007

Kinosaki, Genbudo Caves, & a coastal bike ride

After a late night of watching somber movies (Letters From Iwo Jima & Flags of Our Fathers) at Bryn's house on Friday night, we woke up early on Saturday to cheer on many of the local junior high students running in a mini-marathon. It was great to see those two happy students ("Laurie is on my heart") as well as some of the other kids.

Afterwards, Bryn, Jannie, and I went on a drive to Kinosaki. I had gone there in October with Paul, but it is such a beautiful city that I didn't mind going back again. The canal, lined with weeping willows and colorful flags, was full of koi (I think it was mating season because of their vigorous activity!) and every once in awhile, we saw the famous white storks dip in and snatch up a fish.

We peacefully strolled around and then headed off to Genbudo. We weren't even sure where Genbudo was, nor what it was. I had heard about it from several people who suggested that I go to this "must-see" when I had gone to Kinosaki before. Yeah, understatement of the year! The "caves" were unbelievable- and even better, it was free admission!

Apparently these geological formations were formed by frozen lava that flowed out of a volcanic eruption 1.6 million years ago. There are thousands of basalt pillars forming these arches & caves... you can just imagine them in liquid form and then crystallizing into their present state!

Sunday was "Laurie-time"- had a long talk with Paul, did some laundry, and then went for a bike ride. I decided to ride east, and follow the coastal road as far as I could. It was a spectacular day for a ride, and I was rewarded by breathtaking views of the sea and rice paddies. I ended up riding about 10 km to a remote fishing village, got in trouble by an old man and woman for trespassing onto their private beach (oops!!) and rode all the way back into Miyazu in time for the long shadows of the day to cool me down. Wound down the day by watching Charlies' Angels, the weekly English Sunday night movie!

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