Today’s goal was fairly easy: reach Uwajima, visit the castle, check in at the hotel, profit.
I only had one choice to make. Either walk through a 1700-metre long tunnel, or take a detour that basically goes up the hill on top of the tunnel, and then re-joins the main road after that.
I estimated the climb to be more or less half of what I did yesterday, which wasn’t too difficult to begin with. Still, for some reason, I decided to take the tunnel in order to save some time.
My fellow pilgrim Lieve warned me about it, as she was forced to take the previous long tunnel a few days ago (that I avoided by taking a stupid, long and perilious path). She told me it wasn’t a pleasant experience, and yet I wanted to do it. Great mindset you have there, sir.
Needless to say, she was completely right. It was really bad already after 100 metres. At some point I was feeling like fainting because of the fumes. For twenty endless minutes I walked and walked praying that it would end soon.
It’s the most cliché thing to say, but I was really happy to see the light at the end of that bloody tunnel.
After that trauma, I walked with a good pace just to leave that memory behind as fast as I could.
I ran into a sports car dealer and it was nice to see some Lamborghini and even a Ferrari in there. I was a happy kid for a few minutes.
The dealer showed me with pride the plaque on his Aventador SV which certified that that car was the no. 1 of a 600 cars limited series. What a blast would be to drive it on a race track!
When I reached Uwajima, I left my bag at the hotel and went to a very nice restaurant for lunch. It’s a time of the day where I don’t usually treat myself: you want to stay light and avoid being confronted by a heavy digestion process while walking, but today my stage was already completed and therefore there was no reason to skip a well-reviewed regional restaurant.
I met a French man, Jordan, while visiting a shrine, and it was nice to exchange a few words with him. He is sleeping in his tent every night, which he does gladly as it connects him even more with the territory he’s visiting. A wise choice. Maybe next time…
Tomorrow there will be at least a couple of temples to write off the list, though I will be approaching a fairly mountainous region.
One thing I know now, if I’m given the choice to skip a tunnel, I will do it even if it means to climb a mountain for two hours. Fuck it.