London Loop — sections 5,6

Section 5 of the Loop was from Hamsey Green to Coulsdon South. Section 6 finished in Banstead Downs. These were the final two sections for my London Loop walking companion. I had three more sections to go: 1, 2, and 9, which she had done independently. When we passed through Happy Valley, we looked in … Continue reading / view photos London Loop — sections 5,6

Winterbourne House and Garden

One of the hidden delights of Birmingham is Winterbourne House and Garden. Almost immediately, on entering the garden after buying tickets, an elderly man, sitting on a bench, started talking to us. He had this avuncular tone and seemed to be a permanent fixture of the garden. After some chatting, he recommended that we take … Continue reading / view photos Winterbourne House and Garden

London Loop — sections 3, 4

It took a few weeks to return to normal after coming home from East Asia. I started hiking again. For the day we picked to resume the London Loop, the weather in London was forecast to be good. I had a few more sections to walk before completing the 150-mile (242 km) loop. Belatedly, I learnt that, … Continue reading / view photos London Loop — sections 3, 4

East Asia itinerary

My trip to East Asia lasted three months. In the region, I travelled about 15,000km. It started in Tokyo from where I went to Kyoto and Hiroshima. Taiwan was next and it was a very pleasant surprise. I had little knowledge of the country and zero expectations. I visited Taipei, Taichung, Chiayi, Fenqihu, Alishan, Kaohsiung, … Continue reading / view photos East Asia itinerary

Dogs in strollers

In East Asia, especially Japan, it seems that there are more dogs in strollers, being carried, or on a motorbike than walking on their own four feet. I’m not sure how the pram/stroller thing started. Do they exercise the dogs so little that they can no longer go for walks and must be carried around? … Continue reading / view photos Dogs in strollers

Farewell East Asia

My last day in Tokyo was spent shopping. It was wet and I was rushing around going from one part of the city to another, sometimes doubling back when I didn’t find what I wanted in a place. It was like musical chairs, wondering where I’d end up at the end of the day. Sometimes, … Continue reading / view photos Farewell East Asia

Dazzling Shinjuku

In some ways, Shinjuku is the heart of Tokyo. It encapsulates so many aspects of Japanese culture. Shinjuku was once renowned for being a red-light district populated with hostess bars. Nowadays it is much more. Kabukicho, the red-light/entertainment district, is still there but the area has diversified. I first walked around Golden Gai in Shinjuku. … Continue reading / view photos Dazzling Shinjuku

teamLab Planets Tokyo

When I was in Kakunodate, a German woman I met was raving about teamLab. She had been to many around the world. I had vaguely heard of it but her description fascinated me. When I knew my arrival date in Tokyo, I went online to book it. I expected it to be fully booked but … Continue reading / view photos teamLab Planets Tokyo

Return to Tokyo

My time in East Asia was ending. From Sendai, I returned to where I started three months ago: Tokyo. I had again booked into a ryokan, but this was about 30 minutes from the centre of Tokyo. It was run by a lovely man, who’s English was good. The reviews about the ryokan especially praised … Continue reading / view photos Return to Tokyo

Sendai — the City of Trees

I was whizzing through the Tohuko region on my way south to Tokyo, spending just a day in a city or town before moving on. This was partly because of my seven-day JR Pass rail pass, which allows unlimited travel for the period of the pass. Therefore, you get most value the more you use … Continue reading / view photos Sendai — the City of Trees