A wild descent towards Matsumoto


1. CPH 12.08.13

2. Narita - Tone 13.08.13

3. Tone 14.08.13

4. Tone 15.08.13

5. Tone - Oarai 16.08.13

6. Oarai - Tomakomai 17.08.13

7. Tomakomai - Iwamizawa 18.08.13

8. Iwamizawa - Azahikawa 19.08.13

9. Azahikawa - Kamikawa 20.08.13

10.Kamikawa - Nukabira Onsen 21.08.13

11.Nukabira Onsen - Tokachigawa 22.08.13

12.Tokachigawa - Kushiro 23.08.13

13.Kushiro - Shibesha 24.08.13

14.Shibesha - Lake Kussharo 25.08.13

15.Lake Kussharo - Lake Akan 26.08.13

16.Lake Akan - Abashiri 27.08.13

17.Abashiri 28.08.13

18.Abashiri - Sapporo (tog) 29.08.13

19.Sapporo - Otaru 30.08.13

20.Otaru - Kamoenai 31.08.13

21.Kamoenai - Makkari 01.09.13

22.Makkari - Yakumo 02.09.13

23.Yakumo - Hakodate 03.09.13

24.Hakodate - Aomori 04.09.13

25.Aomori - Lake Towada 05.09.13

26.Lake Towada - Lake Tazawa 06.09.13

27.Lake Tazawa - Hanamaki 07.09.13

28.Hanamaki - Tsukidate 08.09.13

29.Tsukidate - Sendai 09.09.13

30.Sendai - Tone 10.09.13

31.Tone 11.09.13

32.Tone 12.09.13

33.Tone - Kurihama 13.09.13

34.Kurihama - Hakone 14.09.13

35.Hakone - Gotemba 15.09.13

36.Gotemba 16.09.13

37.Gotemba - Fujinomiya 17.09.13

38.Fujinomiya - Shizuoka (Kyoto) 18.09.13

39.Kyoto 19.09.13

40.Kyoto 20.09.13

41.Kyoto 21.09.13

42.Kyoto - Nara 22.09.13

43.Nara - Wakayama 23.09.13

44.Wakayama - Higashikagawa 24.09.13

45.Higashikagawa - Takamatsu 25.09.13

46.Takamatsu - Iya Valley 26.09.13

47.Iya Valley 27.09.13

48.Iya Valley - Imabari 28.09.13

49.Imabari - Onomichi 29.09.13

50.Onomichi - Hiroshima 30.09.13

51.Hiroshima 01.10.13

52.Hiroshima - Takayama (tog) 02.10.13

53.Takayama 03.10.13

54.Takayama - Matsumoto 04.10.13

55.Matsumoto - Hakuba 05.10.13

56.Hakuba - Nagano 06.10.13

57.Nagano - Tone 07.10.13

58.Tone 08.10.13

59.Tone - Narita 09.10.13

60. Narita - CPH 10.10.13

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Letter 54


Friday 04.10.13      97,35 km


I leave at 8.10am. I should have changed the front brake shoes yesterday, but something came up. It'll have to wait till later in the day. Time runs quickly in these hostels, where there's always people to talk to.

After 14 km things are coming clear. The road follows a river, so it will hopefully be a staedy climb?

   The japanese knows how to make things comfortable

The climbs are somewhat irregular in the beginning, but now, where I've gone a little more than 25 km I've come to a serious one. It started being 14 degr., and has now raised to 17 degr. A thin sun - no wind. Perfect. The altimeter says 1050 m, so something is happening.

I get to the tunnel before I expect to. This tunnel that should be toll road according to Google Earth. But it's not and I don't see anything about bicycling prohibited, so I go through the 2430 m without problems.

Then it's time for a banana - no two! The altimeter is now at 1370 m, so I avoided the last 300 m.

                 On the way down to the "midway-valley"

Then it goes down to the "midway-valley". Anf there's the explanation, because not until now the toll road starts and disappears into the mountain. When I again take a close look at the map, I  realize it wasn't just a little colour that had come off. It was the tunnel I passed through that  was white. As usual it's just me that just see half of it.

Route 158 has to go up across the mountain to "Abo Pass" and it starts at once. In a short time I'm on a monster incline, where I some places am under 5 km/h. But I'm already at 1415 m! The road goes in the forrest - and there's no traffic!!!

But I have to admit, that it's steeper than I'd feared. Some few breaks and then I'm on again. But now the altimeter says 1610 m, so I getting nearer. The forrest is about to turn yellow here. I stop at some beautiful birches. They look like some we saw in the "Arboret" in Hørsholm (north of Copenhagen), where there were a lot of japanese trees.

Then comes a spot with a view. Down at the bottom of this valley, there's a meadow with a beautiful pattern where the colours brown, yellow and green mingle and it's surrounded by woods scattered with dark green conifers. It's so nice. A faint rattling in the leaves and a distant stream - that's all.

                          The meadow in the valley

And then suddenly I'm on top, I think. Anyway it's the border between Takayama City and Matsumoto City. The altimeter says 1720 m and I've gone 44,14 km, it seems to fit. A naked mountain ridge ahead with a little snow at the bottom. That's the real Alps. There's a small parking lot, where an elderly japanese couple are having lunch, and I decide I will too. And there are some nice red coloured trees in my field of view. And to the right some half naked peaks also rise.

Abo Pass - the border between Takayama and Matsumoto

              And the mountain ridge in a closer look

Then it goes down in hairpins. On this side there are a lot of parked cars, it's apparently fine to go hiking from here. The road is bad so it's with the brakes on all the way.

Then we meet with the toll road and down it goes through one tunnel after the other. It's the wildest descent I've ever encountered. It's a little like in an amusement park. I expect arms with swords to come out of the wall any moment. I don't have to move my legs, but concentrate on keeping me in the "car" because it goes down with 40-50 km/h.

After about 10 tunnels - some of them long - the road spilt up and it goes up - just for short, but my legs die immidiately. They're not easy to get going again.

Then down again through one turning after then other. As long as I go fast the cars are not that annoying, because I drive in the middle of the road, so they have to wait overtaking till there're noone on-coming.

When I'm just about to go into another tunnel a monkey jumps across the road. It's the first time I've seen them in Japan. There are more of its relatives at the road side, but I go too fast to stop and take pictures. But we all know what a monkey look like.

Fortunately a Road Sta. turns up, so I can calm down a bit and soon after the road leave the mountains and the rest of the way, it goes more or less straight, but it feels like all of Matsumoto have  decided to be out in the mountains today and now are on their way back. And now I can't keep them behind me...

The first hostel, I enquire about is fully booked, but the second has a vacant bed. At 5.30pm I've been to the supermarket at the station and have found it: Backjacker Matsuyado. I cannot read the sign, but she said something about a small gate and that fits.

When I've emtied the Coke I also bought, I'm going to take a shower. There are no other guests than me just now, but 3 will arrive later. I wasn't until I was in the station in the T.I. that I felt how tired I was. Couldn't even remember from which city I started this morning.

I eat Sashimi this evening. It's not that it's something I know, but the supermarket had none of the usual pre-prepared dishes - only some with fish. I never saw that before, but you never know... The supermarket in Takayama had no beers... But next door there was a shop selling alcoholic stuff. Maybe it also belonged to the supermarket, who knows?

But Sashimi consists of china raddice grated very fine, almost like threads, so it looks like super thin spaghetti. It doesn't fill your stomach, you feel you're only eating fish. Three kinds: salmon, the fat tuna and the normal tuna. I think. It's her that looks after the house now the owner has gone, that tells me about it and what it's called. I forgot there were also some leaves looking like lemon balm but tasting a little different.