Day 26: if I had a penny for every time I went the wrong way…

I would probably be rich by now.

Today was no exception. After the temple #42, Butsumokuji, I didn’t check the guide book to get an idea of the upcoming road and just confidently followed the first arrow I saw. Nothing can go wrong.

As a matter of fact, that was both the first arrow and the last one I saw for quite some time. At first I thought “Well, there is only one way, they didn’t put any other sticker”. Then after climbing a small hill, things got more suspicious as the climb was too small and came too soon, compared to what I remembered from the book.

Yet, I continued, as I didn’t want to interrupt the good pace I managed to achieve. After a while, though, I stopped and checked. Fuck!

Soon after the temple, there was a right turn that I completely missed. Shit!

I disabled the flight mode on my mobile phone and checked my position on Google Maps: I had gone so far from the correct path that I even abandoned the map section I was supposed to be in. Damn!

That moment of joice when you finish climbing and you start going downhill, though.

There was no point in going all the way back. I was past the point of no return.

On my way down the valley, a farmer stopped me and gave me a lot of tangerines. They were very tasty and gave me the energy I needed in order to reach a small train station, after one hour.

There, I had lunch and took the first train that brought me close to the temple #43, which was my objective for today.

It bothers me a lot that I’m missing the focus to properly follow the directions along the way. They are scarce, true, and sometimes faded away, but I need to pay more attention to this.

At the ryokan where I will spend the night, I planned the upcoming three days. The next two temples are located on two different mountains and I need to estimate the time I need to reach them quite accurately, taking into account that I will need some buffer for potential f***ing wrong turns.

I thought longbows were mainly an English thing. Apparently Japanese warriors used them as well.

Surpisingly, I met many western pilgrims today. I found Lieve again, I met a Dutch man and a couple of Canadians. I don’t think I’ve spoken as much as I did today, since I arrived here. It was a welcome change, compared to the first part of this o-henro, and it has a good impact on my morale.

Now, it’s time to enjoy some delicious food, prepare the futon (japanese bedding) and finally sleep over today’s distractions and bad decisions.