Mar. 19th, 2017

Arriving at the car hire depot in Nishi-Akashi, I was asked for an international certificate for my driving licence. We hired a car last year (and on other occasions) and were not asked for anything more than my licence. Consequently, I had not come prepared. However, the woman must have thought we looked trustworthy, because we got the car.

As with most new cars, it comes with a sat-nav, though we're still trying to work out how to drive the beast. It did at least get us to our AirBnB host tonight, so I can't complain.

The start of our journey was across the Akashi-kaikyo bridge. It is (at least was) the longest suspension bridge in the world but, at the time of construction, the Kobe earthquake struck in 1995. They were still building the deck and discovered it was then 1m too short. So, quite a story. It's a good drive, but not that different from crossing the Humber either.

Once in Shikoku, we left the toll road to go down the southern coast instead of inland. Mile after mile of uninspiring urban sprawl. "If this is what all the coast is like this is going to be a very disappointing trip." I thought. However, the scenery did eventually change and we found ourselves travelling through some pretty spectacular countryside. The slopes were vertiginous and thickly wooded. However, we did pass some areas of felling, so they are clearly managed for proffit.

We stumbled across a beautiful, secluded little cove; Tonomuino-hama (hama=beach). Though only a km from the main road, the road dropped quickly and we found ourselves staring up at the underside of the roadway that seemed to be miles above us. (Photos here, I hope. https://www.facebook.com/mark.kuramotoheadey/posts/10208206492138094?pnref=story)

Although the #55 road goes right down to the tip of Muroto Misaki (peninsula), we plan to go there tomorrow. So, we opted to cut across country on a tiny winding country road that climbed right into the hills before dropping down again to the coast. It was here where we saw the logging. Amazingly, they had some pretty hefty machinery and I simply cannot imagine how they got it up that road.

Our sat-nav got us to within a couple of hundred metres of our lodgings, but we had to phone our host for the very last bit. He was close enough to walk tp us and guided us back to his house, squashed between a steep hillside and a narrow road. Not quite that quiet, though, as the main road is still barely 10m away.

Our host is something of a musician. I spotted a rack containing 2 Telecasters, a Stratocaster, an Epiphone Les Paul along with sundry other guitars. I spent an amusing half hour or so jamming with him before we had to wash, eat and go to bed.

Tomorrow, Muroto Misaki. Although today's weather was beautifully sunny (albeit a tad chilly), tomorrow's is forecast to be cold and damp, which will be a great shame, as the peninsula is supposed to be beautiful. Still, we shall see.

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cycleboy1957

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