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Published: April 24th 2017
Day 12. Ainan to the island of Omishima.
Awoke at 6am and took a walk to the the fishing port in sunshine with the odd boat going in and out. Looking over the harbour wall we saw hundreds of small fish from 2" to 5" long, just enough for breakfast, which as you can guess was fish based and ended with a sweet blob wrapped in a green leaf which tasted better than it looked. Whilst in Japan they feed us like kings and you should try everything and not let your eyes do the eating for you. We sometimes do not have a clue what we are eating, often including bones and skin, but just try it and enjoy. At 8am we were bussed for 3 1/2 hrs north to Imabari before resuming our riding. This was due to time required to complete the holiday in two weeks ending by going on the northern islands and back onto Honshu for our flight home in two days time. The route was on Arterial Highways with tunnels, and automatic toll booths. The valleys were quite wide and full of rice fields and housing intermixed. One of the interesting features of Japan
is that although 90% of the population live on 30% of the land space and is heavily populated with people and vehicles there is not a parking problem. The roads and streets are not conjested with parked vehicles so traffic flows. At traffic lights you usually get through first time and there are few temporary traffic lights at road works etc as the usually have a man with a flag who keeps traffic flowing. There are places to park cars all over the towns, either by the houses or in ample car parks. A lesson or two for the UK. The Baikal bakery in Imabari had some welcome sandwiches and cakes for our lunch at the picnic area at the foot of the longest suspension bridge in the world. The cycling infrastructure is amazing with a circular cycle path winding its way up onto the elevated bridge with its own cycleway across it and a similar circular route off the other end. Following the coast we saw many granite stone machining factories with men drilling the large blocks ready to split. There was a large shipbuilding/repair yard with a great deal of activity gong on. The views all around the
islands were absolutely stunning and two more bridges were crossed before we hit our Ryokan in Omishima. At 6pm a bus took us to a public Onsen, which overlooked the bay, which also included an outdoor bubbling Spa, which nearly lifted us off the planet. Dinner at 7pm. Another gourmet treat. As usual we were made to feel very special with individual hand painted paper place mats. Mine had blossom
painted on it with writing, "summer is coming", in Chinese characters. The UK will never be the same again.
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