Felicity was invited to give a talk and run a workshop in Sapporo, so we stayed a night in Osaka before flying north to Hokkaido.
We spent the afternoon near the station in Tamba, walking though a 9-level “vertical park” which I thought an interesting way of providing some green spaces for the citizens of the surrounding high-rises. We also explored some of the city’s shopping arcades before catching the limousine bus out to the airport where our hotel was sited a convenient 5 mins from the departure hall.
Continue reading Yoichi in Hokkaido
On day 7 we started the Kohechi section of the Kumano Kodo trail, which heads northwards from the town of Yagio to end at Mt Koya four days later. Each day the path crosses a mountain range via a series of passes, all involving over 800 metres of ascending, and usually almost as much coming down again.
Continue reading Kumano Kodo Kohechi Section
On the peninsular south of Osaka is a network of Japanese pilgrimage trails known as the Kumano Kodo. Written records from over a thousand years ago show that these have been used since ancient times.
Continue reading Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Section
As Felicity was invited to deliver the keynote speech at the opening of the WONCA APR Conference 2019 in Kyoto on May 16th, I decided to tag along so that we could do some adventuring in Japan afterwards.
Continue reading Kyoto WONCA Conference
We’ve just returned from Tasmania, where we travelled to visit my mum. While we were there, we decided to experience what is considered one of the top hikes in the world.
The Tasmania Parks & Wildlife service warns that: “the Overland Track is a serious undertaking, for well–prepared walkers, with a good level of fitness and who understand the risks of walking in a remote alpine area“, so it is not just a walk in the park.
Continue reading Tasmanian Overland Track
We have just been away for two weeks, traveling around the province of Taranaki. I decided to make it a holiday, and not devote an hour or so each day to writing this blog.
But Felicity sent me the photos below (all of the first day!), so I might as well share them with you. Continue reading Journey to Taranaki
If you turn off State Highway 1 at the point where it vears away from the Waikato River and heads west to Tirau you will find yourself on the Horahora Road. This follows the eastern bank down towards Arapuni. About half way along is a large reserve on the edge of the river, with a nice launching ramp, so that’s where we headed.
Continue reading Little Waipa Reserve
On our way to Ludlow a couple of weeks ago, we passed through the town of Shrewsbury on the train, and thought it looked interesting. When we learned that it has over 660 listed historic buildings we decided it would be a good destination for our final adventure before we head back to London tomorrow.
Continue reading Shrewsbury
Although the Romans knew about the spring at Lamintone (meaning farm on the River Leam), it was lost again until 1784 when William Abbotts and Benjamin Satchwell, inhabitants of the village by then known as Leamington Priors re-discovered the medicinal qualities of the water in a well outside the local church.
Continue reading Royal Leamington Spa
We’ve been for a couple of long walks this week that I’m going to combine in this post. The first was near Northampton, and the second not far from Birmingham.
Continue reading Salcey Forest and Lickey Hills
This weekend stayed with friends in village of Lower Failand (near Bristol). They had invited us to join them on a walk in Wales, just across the Severn River from their home.
Continue reading Clytha and Coed y Bwnydd walk in Wales
About 430 million years ago during the Silurian period, the Midlands area of the UK was covered by the shallow Iapetus Ocean. Because it was near to the equator the tropical waters saw the development of coral reefs, shellfish and other invertebrate creatures.
During this time, most of the earth’s dry land was concentrated in the Gondwana supercontinent, which covered the south pole. In the northern hemisphere, three smaller continents named Baltica, Laurentia and Avalonia drifted towards each other and eventually collided. At the junction of the last two, a ridge of limestone was pushed up out of the sea creating a line of hills that can still be seen near the town of Dudley.
Continue reading Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve at Dudley
Another town we were told we shouldn’t miss is Warwick, on the banks of the Avon River about 15 km upstream of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is about a 30 minute train ride from Birmingham so we arrived by mid-morning yesterday. Continue reading Warwick
One of Felicity’s colleagues told us that we shouldn’t miss the Black Country Living Museum, and it turned out to be excellent advice. We took a local train to Tipton, and walked for about half an hour to the museum entrance.
Continue reading Black Country Museum at Dudley
About half an hour’s walk along the canal from our apartment is an area of Birmingham known as the Jewellery Quarter. We walked around it soon after we arrived, but did not visit the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter when we saw it was going to cost us NZ $15 each. After reading some reviews we realised this may have been a mistake, so after a morning spent working on our computers, we walked over to check it out.
Continue reading Jewellery Quarter Birmingham
Since it is only half an hour’s train ride from Birmingham, we went to visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare today. The photo above is his actual childhood bedroom. As there is a £5 per person walking tour we decided to start with that and learn a bit about the town.
Continue reading Stratford-upon-Avon
Ten points for any reader who can guess the connection between these two areas of Birmingham without scrolling down the page. Felicity had a 10 am appointment in Moseley, so we decided to catch the bus instead of walking and arriving hot and sweaty. We wondered how we would pay the fare, and were impressed to discover that any credit or debit card can just be touched on the card reader. This technology is coming to NZ over the next few years.
Continue reading Moseley and Edgbaston
When we heard that the medieval town of Ludlow on the edge of the Shropshire Hills is one of the most attractive in the country, it shot to the top of our list for a day’s outing. We had to change trains at Shrewsbury, so it was nearly lunchtime by the time we arrived. Continue reading Ludlow
When we told people where we were planning to base ourselves in the UK, the reaction was almost universal: “Birmingham? Why on earth would anyone want to go there?” After our first few days here, our conclusion is that the city’s biggest problem is its public relations, because it is a attractive and interesting place.
Continue reading Birmingham Central City
We arrived in Pisa by train just after lunch, and quickly realised that we could have seen most of the sights with only one night’s stay. We spent the afternoon exploring the section of town that doesn’t have the leaning town and the cathedral. Continue reading Pisa