Saturday 14.09.13 86,51 km
It's raining! And the breakfast is allmost nothing - not like yesterday. There are some black vegetables that tastes a little like lickorce - and the raw egg you whip and pour over the rice. I do anyway.
I set out in the rain... Longer than I was yesterday there's a street going up a river, and the low mountains creep away and the city I was expecting is there. I follow a bending arm up the mountains. Later roads bend in all directions and from Zushi I'm not sure which one I'm on, only that I'm going along the coast. When I at last can see the ocean and head for it, I'm fully surprised to end up in a seafront with endless rows of cars in both directions.
There were so many railroad crossings
It's noon and the surfers are on their way up for lunch leaving the lazy waves to their own destiny. Only once in a while there was a wave to surf on. I eat an apple and the juice run down my chin - wonderful. The sand is coarse and dark, I have been dipping my toes in the sea. The rain ceased after an hour I think.
The seafront before it got fashionable But some had a fine view
I don't make much progress in the dense traffic. This holiday area continues and turn more fashionable. Big hotels, restaurants, caffés, even a bicycle store. And bicycles come in numbers. Motion riders hurry back and forth in the road on their new racing bikes. People run, jogg, walk, surf. BMW, Audi, even Porsche are seen in numbers. This holiday paradise is the rich japanese's playground.
I reach Hiratsuka and just before Odawara I see (maybe just this one time) the top of the Fuji mountain in the distant mist.
In Odawara there's a castle, where I spend half an hour. I don't pay the ticket and enter the final tower. I'm too short of time. But it's a nice change for the traffical chaos.
The beautiful castle in Odawara
I've given up the Izo Penninsula. The typhoon will hit exactly here on the coast, so it's better to go up the country, so I plan to reach Gotemba, which I believe is at the foot of the Fuji mountain. I ought to have taken the detour through the valley I just passed, but I didn't. Went on towards Hakone, which is famous for it's hot springs. The road turns into one lane again and inclines. Traffic's dense. We pass Hakone Sta. crowded with people, and the road starts winding it's way up. I'm on the middle chain ring but have to change to the small one soon after.
I hadn't imagined it would be so steep - and for so long. But I fight my way up to Hakone Town with museums and hotels and restaurants. I empty a bottle of water and prepare for the descent. Unfortunately the road to Gotemba doesn't decline but keeps on inclining for several km's, while it's almost half past five.
I reach a town called Hakone Sengokuhara. And when I realize it's still 13 km to Gotemba and the road keeps on inclining, I give up. To wind up on this narrow road in the dark will be too risky, And I'm totally finished, so I'll have to find accomodation here in town. Even it's not Hakone I don't doubt prices are up.
I don't find anything but I see an arrow and a "We welcome foreigners...". I go for it and ask for guesthouse but it's a restaurant but the lady find a map after having drawn one that looked ok. When I turn down the road it also says Youth Hostel!
No vacancies. I must understand, that I have to book in advance in the high season? I don't comment on that. Suggests I might sleep somewhere on my own matress? But that's out of the question. I don't want to leave with no solution. They suggest another guesthouse, but that's 12-13 km away. I can't do that on bicycle in the dark, can I?
In the end they call for the manager and she has a solution, she knows by chance a place close by where there's a japanese style room vacant. I just have to pay her right now. 5.900 Y without breakfast... But with a private hot spring... It's gone completely dark in the meantime and I don't see any alternative. So I let her go in front in her car. Up a very steep road.
"The private hot spring" means that there's a sign on the door to the bath, that you may turn, and it will (I guess) say "occupied". So if it's occupied, there's not much "private" there. I'll never be a big fan of these hot springs. This has a faint smell of sulphur so it's properly genuine. But a normal shower with hot water that's enough for me.