Lesley & Don Nadel

the antipodean adventurers

Lesley & Don Nadel

Two retired travellers continue roaming the world after our first great adventure.

Asia » Hong Kong » Lantau Island May 28th 2019

We were able to have a lie-in in the Regal Hotel at Hong Kong airport because the flight wasn’t until 16:40. However, as we hadn’t been given new e-tickets and we were so skeptical about having a seat on the plane we were determined to check in when the El Al desk opened. Breakfast in the Regal was surreal. There was half a plane load of Israelis including the crew in the restaurant - we could have been in Tel Aviv. There wasn’t too much to do as we didn’t want to go into Hong Kong for shopping so we sat in the hotel lounge trying to concentrate on the blog. We had a quick lunch and rushed back across to the airport. We had our seats as promised so we went through check-in, passport control ... read more
Our flights to and from Japan

Asia » Japan » Osaka » Izumisano May 27th 2019

Well up at 6.30 am in our Nikko Kansai Airport room to quickly dress and walk back across to the airport. We checked in to Cathay Pacific to fly to Hong Kong. They were able to check our bags through to Tel Aviv! There was nothing in the lounge we could eat so we found a bakery with croissants and coffee. Then back to the lounge waiting and waiting for the plane to be called for boarding. Eventually we were called. The staff were very upset that we couldn’t eat any of the delicious food on offer in business class because it was all meat and shellfish. (Of course we had not been able to request kosher meals because this flight was suddenly booked less than 24 hours earlier.) However, they did find us some salad ... read more
HKG airport Hong Kong interior looks like any other - and we saw it repeatedly!

Asia » Japan » Osaka » Izumisano May 26th 2019

We awoke to enjoy another amazing breakfast, essentially like the one we described on Day 19 but with slight variations of juices, breads and spreads. At 10 am our driver came to the hotel to collect us for the one hour drive to Osaka airport. We said goodbye to Kobe and set off. Osaka is a port city. Much of Japan’s heavy industry is in Osaka. We arrived at the airport to catch our Air China flight to Beijing and there to catch the El Al flight home. We arrived in good time and found the Air China check-in counter. They refused to check our bag through to Tel Aviv. Oh well, good job we have nearly seven hours between flights. We went through security and then went to the Air China lounge. When we got ... read more
Kobe Kitano Hotel

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Kobe May 25th 2019

Kobe was a safe haven for Jews fleeing Europe in 1940 and 1941. Jews started coming to Japan in the 1860s, when Japan was opened to trade. There quickly became a small population of Jewish businessmen in Kobe, along with the other port cities of Yokohama and Nagasaki. By the early 1900s there existed a Zionist organization and well established Jewish community in Kobe, and its first synagogue, Ohel Shelemo, was constructed in 1912. When trade with Russia declined in Nagasaki prior to the Russo-Japanese War and the great Kanto earthquake struck Yokohama in 1923, the majority of the Jewish population in Japan ended up in Kobe. As the Jews fled Europe and settled in Kobe, there was a well-off Jewish community of about 1000 people and 50 families. The community was composed primarily of Sephardim ... read more
Ohel Shlomo synagogue in Kobe Kitano

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Kobe May 24th 2019

Our last touring day in Japan! We went down to breakfast. We had told the hotel that we were vegetarian, and that we ate no meat but we would eat fruit and salad. Our breakfast arrived. We were each given a huge tray on which were five different fruit juices, a bowl of coconut milk with semolina, a small bowl of yoghurt, a big bowl of fruit. Then a third tray arrived and was placed between our trays on the table. On that tray was a box of bread, a tray of baguettes, a pot of coffee, a saucer with three different butters and preserves. We are not takers of food pictures, but we had to take pictures of this breakfast!! See it pictured on Day 21, our last monring in Kobe. . Sated, at 9 ... read more
Weathercock House from original European settlers
Starbucks now in an old European house
Kitano Tenjin shrine with Plum symbol

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Himeji May 23rd 2019

Today we started the last leg of our journey through a small part of Japan. We were going to Kobe, via Himeji. Every travel company we had spoken to recommended a day’s trip (at least) and to the castle. Third castle in a row, but they do differ by their history and layout. So it was back on the Shinkansen for the last time. . We got off at Himeji and discovered a bus which tours the city so we bought our tickets. We found the correct bus stop and set off to explore the the castle. The outside is very impressive. The castle dates back to 1333 when it was built as a hill fort. In 1346 it was dismantled and rebuilt as a castle, and then two centuries later it was remodelled again as ... read more
Himeji Castle moat
castle complex and city from Himeji Castle 6th floor
strong wood frame structure of Himeji Castle

Asia » Japan » Okayama » Kurashiki May 22nd 2019

Today we had a guide for a full-day tour of the Okayama area, Mutsuko Kasuyama. After a breakfast that included cocoa pops we met Mutsuko for our tour which began in Kurashiki-Shi. Kurashiki is a city on Japan’s Seto Inland Sea southwest of Okayama city centre. It is known for the centuries-old buildings and shops of the Bikan Historical Quarter. Kurashiki was originally an island in a shallow sea and was known as Kama (turtle) -jima (island). It was important for ships. However, as time went on debris built up in the rivers preventing the flow to the sea and the land was reclaimed. In 1615 it became a peninsula. In 1967 three cities were annexed. Today the population is 470,000. The largest heavy chemical industry in south west Japan is based there because of the ... read more
Achi-jinja shrine in Okayama
at Achi-jinja shrine
small shrine for kitchens at Achi-jinja shrine

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Hiroshima May 21st 2019

On the heels of yesterday’s professionally guided sightseeing around Hiroshima, today we decided to add a self-guided tour of Hiroshima castle. The travel company had booked our train tickets for early morning to go to Okayama. However, last night we changed the Shinkansen tickets to late afternoon and took ourselves off to Hiroshima castle. Before leaving the hotel we forwarded two suitcases to Kobe and kept just the items we thought we would need for two days before we got to Kobe. We decided to use the Hiroshima Loop Bus system. There are three routes around the city. The bus station was opposite the hotel. So onto the bus we got and made our stop the castle. The castle is an impressive five storey pagoda shaped building. The castle is built on a stone base of ... read more
view from Hiroshima Castle
view from Hiroshima Castle

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Miyajima May 20th 2019

For breakfast every day so far I have had salad and fruit but today I was able to have my favourite cereal - cocoa pops! We were met in the hotel by our guide for the day Masako Unezaki. Our first stop was the island of Miyajima. We took a train to Miyajimaguchi and then a ferry across to Miyajima. Whilst we were on the train I asked a question about the railway. All the rail lines are run by JR - Japan Rail. The railway started off as a nationalised enterprise until 1 April 1987. It split into seven companies - six being passenger companies and one being a freight company. Although they all carry the same logo they are distinct companies; they do not have a group holding company or a group headquarters, they ... read more
Tori gate of Itsukushima shrine
Itsukushima shrine on Miyashima island
Kukai (Kobo Daishi) founded Shingon Buddhism

Asia » Japan May 19th 2019

Time to say goodbye to Koyasan. We were scheduled to leave at 10:24 am but after being woken up too early for a 7:30 am breakfast there was no point in hanging around. To be honest we were up at 5:30 am and at 6 am there was no way of getting back to sleep as the drums were banging and this went on for half an hour. Then at 7:30 am the smiling, gregarious monks came charging in with another seven course breakfast. So we just packed up and walked across the courtyard to the main office. Don was ages checking out. He said that the head monk was writing out invoices by way of the most amazing calligraphy. Fortunately as we had paid ahead of time via the travel agent, when it came to ... read more

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