Matsumoto to Fujimi
Heavy rainfall ALL night. The rattling on the tin roof below my bedroom window and the tension in my leg and arm muscles kept me awake until midnight. Maybe also a fear of the hard day ahead. In the middle of the night I awoke with a brainwave. Instead of having a bus ride into Yamamoto before cycling up the mountain we could perhaps have the bus take us up towards the top of the mountain before riding. A discussion at breakfast resulted in a majority agreeing with this. Thank goodness, and this turned out to be a wise choice. We travelled down the valley to Matsumoto in constant rain but as we arrived at the castle at 9.40, for a visit, the rain almost stopped. As we travelled up the mountain the small coach was in first gear and the climb was relentless. We climbed about a third of the hill, which was still hard but all below 10%. Matsumoto Castle is very impressive being 6 stories high and is virtually as it was 300 years ago when it was protected by the Samurai. Many old firearms were on display from pistols to rifles and small cannon
and gunpowder missiles, which were a work of art as well as good engineering design. There must be the best part of a forest in there with all the large beams, columns, joists and staircases in timber. Matsumoto is a wine growing region (do you actually grow wine?) with vines strung across nets horizontally. Most vineyards these days are grown vertically so that they can be worked by machinery. but I suppose they may get less direct sunlight that way. The climb up the mountain was shrouded in mist and very dense forest. Climbing over to the other side revealed some blue sky and wisps of cloud below us but still giving some good views of the ski area. We noticed one chair lift still operating. The descent from the ski area was on smooth Tarmac and wide roads with little traffic so I was in heaven for 5 miles. Following this we started to rise again through rice and vegetable country before a nasty 4 mile climb at the end to our hotel, which we reached at 5pm and not exhausted as the original plan would have made us. After all we are on holiday - not boot camp.
The Onsen is very welcome after a day on the bike and I have managed to wash my clothes again. The Lycra should be dry by morning ready for another onslaught. A cup of green tea before dinner of excellent food with thankfully no snails. Snails are ok but a bit rubbery and of no taste really. We had pork and vegetables cooked individually over a candle type burner. I also put my raw egg on the burner rather than eating it raw. We had raw fish,cooked fish, barbecued fish, boiled fish, baked fish, smoked fish, grilled fish. No - just joking, thinking back to Forest Gump. Japanese food is so tasty and very healthy. Three hard days ahead so now to bed.
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