My breath is white.
I got off the bullet train from Sendai to Koriyama, step on the platform and my initial thoughts were: fuck me, it’s cold.
I’m one of those who just, well, wings it. In my professional life, I’m so OCD that when I travel I am the opposite. I don’t want to spend hours on prelimary research, put together a schedule in Excel, format an itinerary as a PDF, put little check marks next to each line item: 6:00 a.m. = wake-up. 6:10 a.m. = turn off snooze. 6:15 a.m. = get out of bed. 6:20 a.m. brush your teeth — you get the picture. It’s a vacation, not work.
This is why I like traveling solo or with someone who doesn’t mind if we do separate activities. And if we do activities together, they don’t melt down if I don’t want to see the grave site of Murakami’s neighbor’s cousin’s late brother in-law’s… cat.
My Epic Trip was put together with the help of an acquaintance, so I’ve basically been traveling blindly. I’ve been going to destination from destination with zero expectations. I was not prepared for the last leg of my trip.
From Sendai, I bullet trained South to Koriyama, a city in the Fukushima prefecture. From Koriyama, I was to board a local line train to my final destination: Aizuwakamatsu (会津若松). Aizuwakamatsu is a town is so minor, they don’t even have an English Wikipedia.
But the train ride. Holy shit the train ride.
It’s about an hour and 10 minute ride from Koriyama to Aizuwakamatsu. The train is small, about six cars total. It’s a self-serving train, so passengers press a button to open the doors to get off.
The train starts running I glance out the window and it’s MAGICAL. It started with rolling green hills and it just kept getting better. My face was pressed against the window the entire one hour and fifteen minutes or so.
The train reached my final destination. I didn’t want to get off. So I didn’t. I rode it back to Koriyama station, then back again to Aizuwakamatsu.
Don’t want to post all the photos but here are some:
I love trains and train rides so much.
So much so, a one and however many minute train ride turned into a total of almost four hours. I didn’t get to tour this town but the train ride was worth every minute.
I can’t wait to come back during spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
Hope everyone’s first day of 2014 was as fantastic as mine.
Mona, signing-off. Over and out.