Day 3: Small steps

The jet-lag is slowly going away. Today I woke up at almost 5.00 AM, one hour later than yesterday.

Since I was staying at the temple last night, the local folks invited me to the morning prayer in the main hall. I’m still curious and ignorant about the buddhist religion, so I was happy to join and observe in silence what was going on.

Breakfast was nothing special but very filling, which is always important when you’re about to walk for a few hours.

The sky was grey and a light rain was falling from the sky. It wasn’t much, really, but since I’m carrying a lot of paper in my bag, I decided not to take any risk and use my rain gear.

After that, I quickly took a good walking pace and reched the first temple (#8) quite soon.

One of the statues at the temple gate was not amused.

The plan for today was to take it easy, with frequent and long brakes to let my feet breathe and cool down. Avoiding blisters at this stage is of paramount importance.

The fact, however, that the pilgrimage route is mainly following asphalt roads will not help me achieve this objective.

Along the way, I met with the lady that recognized me at dinner, yesterday. She helped me book today’s room and we even walked together for a few kilometers on our way to the temple #10.

In order to reach the main hall of this temple, we had to climb 333 steps. It wasn’t easy but it’s nothing compared to what awaits us tomorrow, with the steep ascent from temple #11 to temple #12.

There is only one way to go: forward.

I can see the small mountain from the minshuku where I will spend the night. Nothing higher than what I have already climbed, but I wish I had to do this in a few days, and not tomorow. If only I had had a bit of time to train for this, before leaving…

My ability to speak Japanese has also made a tiny step forward but it’s still impossible for me to communicate properly wit anybody. And there are absolutely no Western pilgrims to be seen.

I have higher chances at being understood by her than by any real Japanese person.

I won’t complain, though, it’s up to me to bridge this gap and I will give it a try for sure. In the mean while, wakarimasen.

Sadly I didn’t manage to see the Formula 1 Grand Prix today. Though looking at how it ended for Ferrari, maybe it was better that way.

Now it’s time to relax. I already had my bath in the shared ofuro and it felt great to be clean once again. In my room, I’m patiently waiting for dinner to be served after having tried ramen for the first time in my life, at lunch. It was very tasty and the recipe was with mussels, a favourite of mine.

All I can think now is tomorow. The first real test of this o-henro. The weather will be very important: if it rains, the mountain path will be slippery and treacherous.

I will tell you this, though: I am not afraid of it. 

In my boots I trust.