Day 33: planning ahead

Walking out of a big city is one of the worst things, when you are on this kind of journey. You need to go past endless suburbs full of ugly roads and pollution. It was the same today, on my way to the temple #52 and out of Matsuyama.

When I saw a small bakery (a rare sight here in Japan) I decided to get some breakfast “on the go”. The different products were a bit pricy, from the perspective of a European guy, but my biological need for processed wheat was too strong to resist.

I took what looked like a warm “panini” with some cheese and sausage. The owner, however, also gave me some hot bread with cheese, onion and rosemary as osettai. I was so happy and sincerely thanked him. God I missed rosemary.

Going up to the main hall of Taisanji (temple #52).

This power-breakfast fueled me all the way to the 52nd temple, Taisanji. I walked for about 12 Km without stopping, and I wasn’t feeling too bad at the end. A good sign for the upcoming days.

I will need the energy, as I plan to reach temple #62 in three days. Before that, however, a steep climb to the temple #60 awaits me.

The main hall (left) and bell tower (background) of Taisanji.

These days I realized how many pictures I took with my camera. They are way too many and I only have space for around 1000 shots on my 64 GB (!) SD card. Buying another card is not an option: yesterday I checked the prices in an electronics store and they are insanely expensive, like three times as much as in Europe.

The only solution is to go through all the pictures, day by day, and start deleting some of the ones that, with hindsight, are not worth the space. When did I take all these cat pictures, seriously…

A rare portrait of me looking at the pictures and choosing which ones to delete.

Tonight I’m staying at a sort of “spa hotel”. Usually they are very expensive, but they can also offer a o-henro price that is actually very competitive, compared to other lodging facilities.

I’m past the 800 Km mark, with less than two weeks to go. Things are looking good, but there are still three though mountains to climb before I can celebrate the end of this pilgrimage.

To think that “the end is near” is actually nice, but also dangerous. You easily let your guard down, thinking that the worst part is over. And that’s very wrong.

Now more than ever, I need my wits about me and focus exclusively on reaching the 88th temple.