Chevonne Gourlay


Chevonne Gourlay

Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Chamonix September 30th 2008

Well Jill thought Annecy was amazing - that was before she hit the Alps! Driving along these roads through the mountains, overlooking gorgeous french towns nestled in valleys. The towns were beautiful and were a mixture of French and Swiss influence in their style. Then as you turned a corner - there was a spectacular sight! Mt Blanc - snow topped! Jill had got her wish and saw a snow topped mountain (she had missed out with Mt Fuji!) Wow it was stunning - the sun shining on it, mountains, valleys, green woods - very majestic in deed! So we hit Chamonix... now there had been discussion about one night here then back to Annecy as it was so lovely. Well that idea was immediately dismissed when we hit Chamonix! As we were driving through the ... read more
Photo 3
Chamonix town
Photo 4

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki September 21st 2008

Well bye Japan and hello Europe! We have never been to Helsinki and as our plane stopped here we thought we'd check it out! Not a bad city. It is a real mix of Scandinavian and Europe cities - especially a bit of Eastern Europe. wandering around the city you really got that feeling. It was also kind of odd as there was no 'old town' it was all just mixed in together. I did enjoy it though. There are great markets down my the harbour, where all the ferries and boats come in. Plenty of lovely old apartment buildings scattered around town and a very walkable city centre.... read more
Dock side
Train station
Market square

Asia » Japan » Kanagawa » Hakone September 16th 2008

A must on Jill's itinerary was Hakone. This is located just a hour from Tokyo, via train in the Mt Fuji National Park area. Coming up from Hiroshima is was a bit of travel. Several hours on a train, then onto a bus up into the mountains. We made use of the Hakone Free Pass. Not an actual free pass, but it includes all transport in the area. It includes the buses, trains, cable cars and boats that take you all over the area. As mentioned we got in late afternoon to our destination - Fuji Guesthouse. This came highly recommended and we saw why!!. Firstly it is a private ryokan run by a family, secondly it has on onsen. The thing with onsens is that they are gender specific and you need to be naked. ... read more
Mt Fuji
Pirate ship
Outdoor onsen

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Miyajima September 15th 2008

Came highly recommended to visit, when we were in Hiroshima. So we caught the train (and ferry) out to Miyajima - one of Japan's three most scenic spots (honestly - that's what their brochure says!). Miyajima is a small island with a few shrines, one in particular is quite large and has a torii out in the water (until the tide goes out). In fact the temple is over water when the tide is in. The island is lovely and also full of deer - with plenty of warnings about making sure the deer doesn't eat your passport. something we laughed at until we same the deers trying to eat anything near them - your cloths, plastic bags, camera straps... The main shrine - the Itsukushima Shrine was first built in the sixth century, then redone ... read more
"Wild" deer
O-torii Gate

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Hiroshima September 14th 2008

This is a city which everyone knows of - just over 60 years ago the Americans ensured this city would go into history books, when they dropped the worlds first atomic bomb onto the city and its citizens. I was very keen to get to Hiroshima and it was on my must do list. I'm not sure why but there is something that has always got me about this city - well that's a dumb thing to say, I know why - it is the same reason we all know it. But I guess the total destruction, the loss of innocent lives, the pain and agony that must have gone through - all due to one item, and at a time when I guess that type of destruction was unknown. I still can clearly remember learning ... read more
Peace Memorial Park
Centaph (first time i've used that word) for A-bomb victims

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto September 12th 2008

After Takayama, we headed to Kyoto, again such a beautiful train trip out of Takayama! We were quite excited to see Kyoto as only heard such great things about it. And right from the beginning it impresses. Firstly is the train station which is this massive modern structure. Not all agree with it as it is very modern in a town know for its history, but we liked it! Just beside it is the Kyoto Tower and just past that is this huge temple! What was weird about this temple is that it seemed to have a really awful modern building in the middle of it. We later found out it was temporary scaffolding - one that even had a full on lift in it!! Our first tourist stop was the Golden Pavilion, and you could ... read more
Golden Pavilion
Umm..oh yeah, Golden Pavilion
Temple Graveyard

Asia » Japan » Nagano September 10th 2008

We arrived in Takayama in the early evening and headed to our accommodation. Jill had mentioned it was a temple and she was correct. In fact due to some confusion on the guy runnings it's part, we slept in the temple, the actual temple, just to the left of the alter. The following night a room was found for us. The place was ryokan in style, we had to take our shoes off and had the rice paper window doors. It was ok but very hard to sleep. So much noise from the doors sliding and people walking on the creaky floors and we were at the front of the building so heard everyones movements which resulted in a restless night, but hey it was an experience!! Takayama has been on the same site since the ... read more
Old Folk Village

Asia » Japan » Nagano September 9th 2008

Today we left Nagano and are making our way to Takayama (though my pronouciation isn't the best and took a bit for the girl in the train station to figure out where exactly I wanted to go!) via Matsomoto. Matsomoto isn't too far from Nagano and is lovely! We also discovered that while we had wandered around aimlessly looking for a place to celebrate beer o'clock in Nagano - it was very easy to find that in Matsomoto. Pity it was 10 am in the morning... Matsomoto has a lovely castle - or actually a donjon. The castle is no longer there but the donjon remains. A donjon is like the defence castle. The castle had 3 moats around it and the donjon is where one of the bridges is that cross the moat. Its a gorgeous ... read more
Matsumoto Castle bridge
Castle and grounds

Asia » Japan » Nagano September 8th 2008

Ok I may not have given the temple in Nagano justice - but I was tired - 13 hours worth of sleep tired!! Which meant I could wake up early and all pumped for the monkeys! Yep we were heading off to see the snow monkeys (except there was no snow this time of year...) - the ones that lie around all day soaking in a hot springs (onsen). So a 50 min bus ride from Nagano is Jigokudani Yaen-Koen. Only place in the world were monkeys soak in hot water apparently and Jill was very keen to see them (not me, I have to say - not a huge monkey fan...). The area has been visited by tourists since 1964, and has around 200 monkeys there. The park is in the Yokoyu Valley and is ... read more
Monkey Park
Bath time

Asia » Japan » Nagano September 7th 2008

Well we are off again! YAY!!! This time it is Japan, Helsinki, France, London, Dubai, Hong Kong. All due to our friends wedding (not that we need an excuse!). Anyway we flew out Sat night to Narita, Japan. We're travelling with Jill & Ken as they are also going to the wedding and when we told them of our plans to go to Japan first they could not resist joining us! So we fly out, overnight to arrive in Japan early morning - went straight to the JR ticket office and started our rail pass, hopped on a train and went to Nagano. Was in desperate need of a shower (and sleep but hey that could wait - shower couldn't). Made it to the hotel only to be told rooms not quite ready, but before we ... read more
Temple gates
prayer boards

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