The hot spring experience in Japan

Everyone seems hesitate at first to experience their first hot spring, the nerves of bathing naked in front of strangers , in front of people who  look totally different to you. You will feel it’s natural for them to want to take a peak. After all you have a different shape and body type to the Japanese that you will be sharing the hotspring with.  There is no need to worry as this most likely won’t happen.

Your nerves, your apprehension to be naked in front of someone shouldn’t be enough to stop you from experiencing a hot spring while you are in Japan.

Fortunately, I’ve never had a fear of dropping my strides, don’t get me wrong I’ve never been a stripper or anything. Though I have to admit I have once dropped them on the stage at a sports function performing at a players concert with the soundtrack of The Full Monty but that is another story………..

There’s also the added pressure of following protocol. What happens if I do something wrong. Don’t worry about it first of all wash your body like you would at home, make sure you have rinsed all the soap off your body and then take a dip in the hot spring.

Remember the springs are not to be swam in, just relax and soak in the natural minerals that are good for your body. The water temperature may feel hot at first as the temperature is usually around 45 degrees but your body will soon adjust and the aches and pains from a full day of sightseeing will soothe away.

If there are two hot springs one being indoor the other being outdoor then bathe in the indoor one first before moving to the outdoor one, feel free to move back and forth if you like.

When finished change back into your clothes or the hotels yukata which is similar to a kimono. Feel free to walk around the hotel/ ryokan that you are staying at and also the surrounding areas outside.

image

image

 

If you’re really concerned about having a hot spring in front of others then quite a few places have a couples hotspring which you pay extra to use and can then bathe with your partner, family or friend. The photo taken above is a jacuzzi using hotspring water which was actually in our room.

Dinner Time

If you’re staying at a Ryokan, a Japanese style hotel then the meal that they serve will be amazing. I recommend having dinner at the ryokan because a lot of ryokans are located in an isolated area far from other restaurants .

The food for me is just as good as the hot spring and overall makes a great experience. If your ryokan is near the sea then you will be served a course of seafood consisting of fish, sushi and sashimi. During the Winter months if the area is famous for crab then this will also be part of the course.

If the ryokan is located in a rural area in the mountains then the meal will consist of  local vegetables and meat dishes consisting of pork or beef.

The food will be served delicately on a dish, served in tiny portions but the dishes will keep coming and soon you will be struggling to end your meal. The last dish is usually a small plate of fresh fruit grown in the region.

There are sometimes two choices for you to have your dinner either served in the main restaurant or sometimes served in your room. You will also be given two choices for the meal time usually 6.30 or 7.30pm.

If you have your meal at the restaurant,  when you have returned to your room you will discover that your futons(Japanese style mattress) has been laid out on the tatami (Japanese straw matted floor).

image

image image image image image image image image

image

image

Sleep Time

The futons will make for a great sleep, especially if it’s Winter time, the smug tight fitted cover will keep you nice and cozy but even after all these years of living in Japan I would rather sleep without the rock hard Japanese pillows and this is no exaggeration when I say this. I’m sure you will have a great sleep and wake up refreshed which is exactly what the hotspring experience is supposed to do.

image

Have you experience a hot spring in Japan or another country? We would love to hear about your experience.

 

 

The Peak, Hong Kong’s skyline.

Hong Kong’s skyline looks different at night, the light illuminates the city adding a more vibrant feel to it, the water of the natural harbour is full of darkness except for the lights of the odd Star ferry crosses the waterways. The city is abuzz with people dining or having a drink. Hong Kong really does feel like a city that never sleeps.

To observe the best night views of Hong Kong or even possibly the world is to go to what is known simply as The Peak. You can reach The Peak by bus, taxi or The Peak Tram, which is an attraction in itself, but be prepared to wait if you chose the tram as The Peak as over 7 million visitors a year with most of the people chosing to take the tram up the 552 metre mountain that hauls people every 10 to 15 minutes.

Even though the queue was long, no one moved when a taxi driver, while waiting for the lights to change shouted from his car “line too long, 2-3 hour wait, I’ll take you”.People didn’t believe him, thinking he only wanted money or people wanted to ride the traditional way, but had we known that the driver was telling the truth, we wouldn’t have hesitated to take the taxi. Two and a half hours we waited, our patience, wearing thin the words “come on, come on” being muttered not once but at least a half-dozen times. The tram finally trudged our way up the peak.

image

The Peak first came to relevance when the wealthy were looking for the perfect retreat from Hong Kong’s scorching Summer heat. Houses and residents moved in but at the time there was no tram and the original residents reached their homes by sedan chairs, which were carried up and down the slope by about six people who were employed by the residents . Can you imagine being pulled down a mountain by six people on their shoulders. The Peak Tram came to life in 1888 and the rest is Hong Kong history.

image

Once on top, you guessed it the trams station is on the basement of The Peak Tower which is basically a shopping mall. It’s Hong Kong it has to be located in a mall, doesn’t it?  The Peak Tower has the Madamme Tussards wax museum, for restaurants, which were all full to capacity when we were there and of course the view.

image

The view, how shall I describe this, is like a sky full of stars at night, twinkling, brightly in the sky, with sparkles of blues, green red and white lights illuminating the night skyline, the shadowy, silhouette water of the harbour. The views overlook Central Hong Kong,Victoria harbour and the surrounding islands.

image

This is Hong Kong’s number one attraction and people often rave about The Peak, and often come here twice on their trip, once at night, once during the day. I’m not going to lie it is beautiful, maybe I would even say stunning but I wouldn’t use the word breathtaking that many people use. Maybe it was the crowds or the long wait but I wouldn’t go again if I were to go to Hong Kong.I might if my arm was twisted and my Travbuddy really wanted to go and check the view during the day, which I believe there wouldn’t be as many people.

image

Admission

Peak tram sky pass tickets

enables you to go to the very top of the tower

Adults return $65 Children $31 HK

Peak tram tickets only

Adults $40 HK Children $18 HK

Take the peak tram from Central, around a 10 minute walk from Central station. There are plenty of signs to follow.

Windmills of Palm Springs

When you think of windmills visions of the old wooden style windmills in the Netherlands are the first things that come to your mind but this is not the only place that you can see so many windmills in the one area.

In Palm Springs,  a city approximately two hours south of Los Angeles you are able to see many windmills along Interstate 10 as you near the city. It comes as a surprise when you first see these large steel turbines propelling in a circular motion. These windmills farms generate enough electricity to power the entire city of Palm Springs and the surrounding area.

image

The farm produces 600-900 megawatts of power. Utility companies buy the electricity produced by the 3,100 windmills at the wind farm. The farm runs many different types and styles of windmills. The largest windmills on the property produce enough power for 2,000 homes. The newest windmills are much more efficient than older models.

The Palm Springs area is unique, as the wind blows hard enough to power the windmills 300 days a year. The San Jacinto mountains are the 3rd highest mountain range in California and provide a wind tunnel through the San Gorgonio Pass along Interstate 10. The wind runs east to west along the pacific plate. The winds usually blow west to east in the mornings and east to west in the afternoon so half of the windmills face east and half west to take advantage of this. Windmills are placed 700 feet apart for optimal use of the wind. As the wind goes through one windmill it becomes dirty and takes about 700 feet before it clears up enough to be used by the next windmill.

image

If you see a windmill turbines not turning, it does not mean that its broken as i found out that the windmill has reached its maximum capacity.

It’s great to see a city like Palm Springs leading other cities to become greener and improve our environment.

image

To learn more about the windmills tours to a windmill farm can be easily found from Palm Springs.

Have you seen the windmills in Palm Springs? Are there other places that have many windmills other than the Netherlands.