Jane’s Midlife Journey

South Korea Day 3 – DMZ

Tuesday 31 January 2023 DMZ Tour Today we are going on a trip to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ); a 4 km wide buffer zone, 2 km either either side of the border between South and North Korea. It’s an early start, we have to be at City Hall by 7 am. We’ve already timed the walk to the meeting point – it takes 7 minutes. The old man wants to leave at 6.30 am. That’s 23 minutes contingency. I’m not sure what he thinks can go wrong in 7 minutes? Maybe all 4 of the hotel lifts are out of…

South Korea Day 2

Monday 30 January 2023 There’s a special offer on the hotel breakfast buffet if you join their club. It’s not easy – it involves filling in a three page questionnaire. In Korean. But I am determined. The old man holds his phone over mine to translate and we get there in the end. At reception, we produce our newly acquired membership and get breakfast for W13,200 each (£8.67). I feel extra smug as a young American couple behind us announce they have given up and pay full price. I think you can say we got our money’s worth! Well fuelled…

South Korea Day 1

Sunday 29 January 2023 Flight to Seoul Our time in Japan is over. We seem to have been here forever and no time at all. We drive the final few miles to the airport and drop the hire car. Then begins the convoluted journey to the terminal. The care hire shuttle only goes to the domestic terminal, which drops us further away from airport entrance than where we’d started. But at last we don’t have to cross the motorway with our luggage (again). Then another shuttle takes us to the international terminal. We arrive in plenty of time- the check…

Japan Day 23 – Dazaifu

Saturday 28 January Our time in Japan is nearly over, today we head back towards Fukuoka ready for our departing flight. Just time for my final morning rooftop dip watching the sun rise over the petrochemical plants of Beppu. Drive to Dazaifu Today are driving to Dazaifu, a shrine town on the outskirts of Fukuoka. We had planned to stop in the mountain village of Yufuin en route, but with sub zero temperatures after a day of snow, we decide not to risk getting stuck in ice/because the expressways are closed and head straight for Dazaifu. It was definitely the…

Japan Day 22 – Beppu

Friday 27 January 2023 Awake at 8.22 am. In the rooftop bath by 8.30. I still haven’t got the hang of Japanese public bath etiquette and I’m not sure how to improve without observing others, which might look a bit weird and Perry between two naked strangers. But I have lovely bath, even if I am lying on my back like a giant starfish with tits, while the Japanese ladies are sitting demurely in huddled balls around the edges. Also I don’t think I’m doing dressing/undressing right. The Japanese ladies get completely naked before removing their masks, while I’m more…

Japan Day 21 – Kumamoto to Beppu

Thursday 26 January 2023 On yesterday’s schedule was Kumamoto, ETA 2 pm; castle and gardens, then today a drive to Beppu via a volcano lookout and a gorge where you can hire a boat and row through the gorge. In reality, we arrived in Kumamoto long after everything was shut and aren’t prepared to veer off course today after yesterday’s struggles with Japanese road closures. So, most of our plans are shelved, but we get up and take a walk up the hill to Kumamoto Castle, which has recently reopened to the public after being destroyed by an earthquake in…

Japan Day 20 – Kumamoto

Wednesday 25 January 2023 Today all my preconceptions about Japanese efficiency were shattered when a little bit of snow took down the entire transport infrastructure. Nagasaki Peace Park But first we start the day with a a walk/slide along the icy pavements to Nagasaki Peace Park, which we thought we’d visited yesterday, but apparently we went to the wrong park. The Peace Park is a little further along the road from the Hypocentre Park, which is opposite the Atomic Bomb Museum. It is on the hillside, but there are escalators to the top. From here, you walk along a pathway…

Japan Day 19 – Nagasaki

Tuesday 24 January 2023 Today we pick up a hire car to drive round the top half of Kyushu. But first, breakfast. Hotel Wing offers a complimentary breakfast. There are four choice, three of which are fish, including the porridge with a dollop of pollock roe. I can think of plenty of nice things to add to porridge. Fish eggs isn’t one of them. The only fish free option is pancakes with fruit and whipped cream. So, dessert for breakfast it is then. After breakfast, we check out and take the metro to the airport to pick up our car.…

Japan Day 18 – Fukuoka

Monday 23 January 2023 Not the best night’s sleep. I thought the Dormy Inn toilet was noisy until I tried to sleep through my neighbour’s showers, which happened at 10.35 pm and 6.25 am. Who showers twice in less than 8 hours FFS? Never mind, this morning we check out and head for Fukuoka. Bullet Train to Fukuoka It’s the final day of our JR Rail Passes, so we are taking our final bullet train 170 miles south west to Hakata Station in Fukuoka. We catch the shuttle bus to the station. The Dormy Inn has a free station shuttle…

Japan Day 17 – Miyajima

Sunday 22 Janaury 2023 It’s the penultimate day of of our very expensive JR passes. There are two things you can do in Hiroshima on a JR pass; take the tourist loop bus and take a ferry to the island of Miyajima. So that’s our day planned. Ferry to Miyajima You can get a ferry direct to Miyajima from Hiroshima Peace Park for Y4000. We have to take a more circuitous route with a bus to the station and a train to the port to reach our JR ferry. We start by getting on the wrong bus and board the…

Japan Day 16 – Hiroshima

Saturday 21 January 2023 Today we are heading for Hiroshima. Having studied history at university, I am always fascinated to visit places where things happened which shape the world we live in. Even if those things were terrible like in Auschwitz or Chernobyl or indeed Hiroshima. If we don’t learn from the past, how will we prevent atrocities in the future? Horinouchi Park Parkrun But first, parkrun. Today we are doing Horinouchi Park parkrun which takes place in a nice, flat park at the base of Matsuyama Castle, just a 10 minute walk from our hotel. En route I ascertain…

Japan Day 15 – The Shimanami Kaido

Friday 20 January 2023 There are three ways to reach the main island of Honshu from Shikoku, the Shimanami Kaido is one of them. This series of 7 bridges across 6 islands spans a total distance of 70 km, most of which has cycle paths. Only the final bridge is a road bridge and cyclists must take a ferry. The plan today is to hire bikes and cycle a chunk of The Shimanami Kaido. Working out how to get to the start is problematic. There is a cycle hire shop right at the start of the route. This cannot, however,…

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About Me

Hi, I’m Jane. 5 years ago I stopped work so I could travel more. I spend my summers in Bournemouth and winters on my adventures around the world. So far I have notched up 70 countries. Next up, Morocco…

On Saturdays I parkrun. I have run over 250 parkruns across 10 different countries.

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