Have you ever heard the expression, "Busier than a one-armed paperhanger"? Well, I think I know what that feels like.
Over the weekend we took a family "break".
Of course, I am the only driver in the group so I got to drive my van while trying to figure out where I was going. Paul sat up in front and held the map on his cell phone ... and dozed.
Nikko sat in the back and watched the road. We picked up Norie and Leia along the way and after countless wrong turns, made it to our destination. Along the way, the cell phone with the GPS ran out of batteries. I think we took the extra "scenic route" but by the time we arrived it was too dark to see much of the scenery other than the city lights of Atami.
We met up with our friends at the hotel and went out for a bite to eat at a family restaurant, then returned to enjoy a nice onsen bath. Dogs were not welcomed at the hotel so Nikko and I slept in the van ... as we often do for Scouting events. It was a pleasant night, not too hot, nice breeze, quiet lapping waves, and we woke refreshed to a view of the castle in the morning mist.
It was not a very accurate map but highlighted the tourist spots, and since it was in the hands of someone who does not drive, the interpretation was sketchy to say the least.
We made it to the castle and Leia played with some of the warrior statues lining the cliff edge.
The day couldn't have been nicer with a brisk breeze and sunny blue skies.
Our next stop was at a garden. No dogs allowed so we left Nikko with Papa and walked around the outer garden. In the end, we decided the outer garden was enough and we didn't need to pay to see the inside area.
We had planned to see one more garden but were not able to locate it so left the car and found a dog-friendly cafe to enjoy some lunch.
The cafe had two young Golden Retrievers who made Nikko look like a perfectly trained dog in comparison.
Our final scenic stop before heading back to Tokyo was a shrine to good health and old age containing the oldest tree in Honshu.
I guess by that long, a few years either way doesn't matter much.
The belly band with folded paper indicating the sacred status is 23 meters around. (Only exceeded by a height of 26 meters).
(I think the stress of driving all those scenic routes evened the playing field for me.)
With the van loaded up with six people and a dog, we set off to find our way back home.
The Navigator on my phone speaks English but not "driver English" Sometimes the "continue straight" is on a very curvy road and sometimes "turn left" is a given because the road is bending to the left and there is no side road.
Just about the time I was ready to toss the thing out the window, the battery died. Our host was able to get the map on his cell phone and we made it to the drop-off point for four passengers.
Nikko could have her seat back but she was so tired she slept on the floor between the two front seats.
Sunday was super busy with a special choir piece for a choir member who was leaving us after earning his PHD, to return to Africa. The piece was fun to sing and has been going through my brain day and night for weeks ... well, first to learn the words and then because there was no "off switch".
Monday was early morning rice delivery and then my English class.
I think the longer strips on the sides will be OK.
I didn't get a whole lot done on the trip but I am finding the mini design wall that Jean sent me works quite nicely for laying out the blocks with their side strips.
... and the fact I could bring my friend with me each day.
I hope you enjoyed the trip to Atami, even if not the bath.