Day 38: pay to win

Life is much easier when you can spend some money to save a good amount of time. I feel like lately I’ve been managing these two resources pretty efficiently, trying to evaluate every choice as best as I could.

Today, however, I didn’t have many alternatives to taking a taxi and cut a few kilometres of ugly road (and a long tunnel) before beginning to climb. Pay to win! Pay to win!

After a long and boring ride, the taxi driver left me with a pretty hefty bill, before he literally dumped me at the side of the road, right where the path began.

Yellow is my favourite colour, and I find this tree very beautiful.

The road to the 66th temple, Unpenji, was 5,5 Km long and the height difference between the start and end point was 900 metres. As a matter of fact, the path was pretty steep for more than 4 kilometres, before easing down towards the top.

Luckily the early morning is the best time of the day for this kind of effort, as you have all your energy from resting overnight and breakfast.

The weather was also very good, with the sun being the uncontested ruler of the sky until mid-afternoon.

The choices a pilgrim has to face usually can go only two ways: the wrong way or the henro one.

Once I arrived on the top, I took a long break to enjoy the warmth and just go into “lizard mode”, trying to take as much sunlight as possible.

After many cold days, it feels good to be in shorts and with more than 15 degrees.

Glorious autumn colours, at the entrance of the Unpenji temple.

The path to go down the mountain was also steep, full of steps that put some good strain on my thighs and knees.

I got it done, however, together with a few dozen kids who went down the mountain running, jumping and saying hello.

My final destination was temple #67 and I arrived there rather early, at around 3 PM.

The Daishido (where Kōbō Daishi is worshipped) of temple #67.

Now I have just taken a hot bath and will patiently wait for dinner. Today I only ate half a chocolate bar and a tangerine for “lunch”. Way too little for a big guy like me.

My stomach is shouting for some food and I feel like almost anything would do right now, as long as it’s not spaghetti.