Sunday 29.09.13 85,06 km
I don't find there's much life in the station in front - then I remember it's
sunday and 7am. It's going to be a fine day - only few small clouds.
I stay at "Station Hotel", which really is close to the station. At the station I got precisely what I came for: maps and brochures about bicycle-island-hopping. From Imabari here in Shikoku you can go on bicycle across a number of bridges to a number of islands, and this way get to Onomichi in Honshu. The direct road should be around 70 km.
I wondered yesterday when the man in the lobby by himself suggested I took the bike inside...? But here they're used to cyclists. One more arrived just after me and since then 4 more have arrived. I don't think there are much more guests.
He can't help me with a telephone number for Onomichi Guesthouse unfortunately, there I'd like a bed for the night later today, but I manage to book the following two nights in Hiroshima at K's House.
When I leave the station, I see, when I turn the direction I'm supposed to go, that there's written "Onomichi" on the blue line. Can you believe it... They show you which way to go.... Another thing worth noticing from my way out of Imabari are the fragrant hedges. The fragrant hedges of Shikoku. I don't know this type of hedge, but it's blossoming at this time of the year and has
a fragrance! And I met a lot of them here in the island.
Just follow the line ....
Totally a lot of frangrance hit you here in Japan, but most of them are difficult to locate and hard to define.
When I get nearer to the bridge, it's as high up as Naruto Skyline, how will that be possible? But the cycle track bend in hairpins and circle bridges little by little up there. I make it in the second smallest gear and the middle chainring, so even grandmothers without should be able to make it.
When you think of what I've been through in my 50 days here in Japan, this is extraordinary. The finest smooth asphalt. Of course there are bumps at the intervals, but that's on every bridge. After the first of three in the first section has been passed one CAN go to the island, but as it says on a sign: ONLY ISLANDERS!
When I've passed the first 3 bridges, I'm led down and at a rest with tables and benches - can you believe it...? - I unpack the tent to let it dry.
One of the bridges
On the first island - which I believe is also the biggest (actually it wasn't) we have to cross two mountains, so in this way I'll do some "hight meters" today also. And once more down after the new bridge we had just got up to...
A little wind, which is unfortunately a headwind. But on this last bridge the island sheltered from the wind.
Scene from the day
Seen in a japanese context this island-hopping is unique. What is there to say: it's beatiful, convinient, away from the cars. There's still a work to be done with all these ups and downs, but for me it's nothing. No wonder the cyclists come in numbers. I've met one long distance-japanese but apart from him it's probably like at the Donau, where you can have your luggage transportated a piece of way each day?
Fishing boat in the Inland Sea
I make a mistake, which in the end means everything turns out fine. I've all day followed this blue line and according to the km's that are left to Onomichi I believe I've passed the last bridge. And consequently I believe to be another spot in the map than I actually am.
I get to a traffic light and an american? crosses. I take the opportunity to ask if he happens to know whether there's a T.I. at the station in Onomichi? And then he tells me I'm on Mokaishima Island and the easiest will be to go left at the next traffic light and take the ferry!
I have to laugh once againof my stupidity not paying enough attention to the map, and then I thank him a lot, turn at the traffic light, find the blue line again, and the ferry leaves immidiately, and I've saved 6-8 km and land 400 m's from the station, where they in the T.I. inquires at the hostel, and it's ok, they have a vacant bed, and I'll be able to catch a direct train all the way from
Hiroshima and to Kyoto or Nagoya. It'll probably be the latter.
On my way to Onomichi
It's 4.45pm and there's free tea here in Onomichi Anego no Nedoko Y.H. and I'm at my third cup, and it's a fantastic building, where there's a passage from the street 20 m's through the house to the yard. My loaded bike could JUST be squeezed through in the most narrow point.
It's obviously common with "volunteers" at these hostels. They have food and a bed and that's all. On the other hand they practise english and can maybe use it in another context, like he I speak with, who study turism in the University of Tokyo, and uses it for making research. That's why I've got a "Quesionnaire" to fill out and hand over before I leave.