Touchdown in Bali and change of plans

Apparently the secret of happiness in life, and particularly when traveling, is to not have too many expectations. Unfortunately, we didn’t follow this rule upon arrival on the Indonesian island of Bali. What, but everyone adores Bali, and especially Ubud, don’t they? Well, sadly the magic spell failed to work on us …

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Adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun

Our 12 day stop in Japan is now history. Here’s a short recap of what we got up to:

WARNING! In this post you will hear a lot about trains. I am sure that I have never taken so many trains in a 12-day period before in my life. We took all sorts of trains: fast trains, slow trains, enormously long trains, tiny single-carriage trains, subway trains, scenic trains, regional trains, commuter trains – OK I think you get the idea!

Small cafe in Osaka at night

Firstly, I have to mention how amazed I was by the sheer scale of the infrastructure the Japanese have built for public transport, especially rail. It is truly mind-boggling. The Japanese train system is a model of efficiency too. Now for some geeky statistics (thanks to Wikipedia): Passenger trains make up nearly a third of all journeys undertaken in Japan, blowing all competitors out of the water. Switzerland comes in a distant second at 17%. The Japanese train system is 100% electrified, so even the Shinkansen bullet trains don’t belch out clouds of diesel fumes! Japan also, to my complete astonishment, comes in ahead of India in terms of number of passengers carried by rail (data from 2015, so this might no longer be true). So there you go, Japanese trains kick ass. Now onto our visit. Continue reading “Adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun”

Departures: Japan

Initially, we had not planned to visit Japan during our trip, but after watching an episode of the travel documentary show Departures that features Japan, we had to go!

Departures is a Canadian TV series featuring two young guys, Justin and Scott, along with cameraman Andre, who decide to drop everything and go traveling around the world for a year (actually, 3 years, since there ended up being 3 seasons of the show). Each episode features a different country or two. It’s a really great show, with amazing footage, and they get up to some cool stuff along the way too. We religiously watched all the episodes together as a family, before our big departure.

The kids loved it too, and now that we are on the road, we often reminisce on the antics of Scott and Justin in the same places we have been. So, we could not resist filming our own episode of Departures, featuring our intrepid travelers Gregory & Nina in Japan. Enjoy!

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Fire Ramen

RAMEN REVIEW: MENBAKAICHIDAI FIRE RAMEN RESTAURANT

LOCATION: KYOTO, JAPAN. ⛩

We found this restaurant on TripAdvisor while scanning for places to eat. We had to wait for long before they called us. I was getting cold and impatient out there. We chose ramen because it was the only thing on the menu. Continue reading “Fire Ramen”