Matsumoto – Bloody gorgeous fantastic and wonderful Matsumoto. Staying at the ultimately fabulous Buena Vista hotel (and no it is not fabulous simply because it has a Disney name) makes this place seem like a resort town compared to where we were in Nagoya. Matsumoto is nestled at the foot of the Japanese Alps and it makes for a pretty amazing little setting as you walk around this small almost rural city and see snow covered peaks on the horizon wherever you look. It hints of a ski resort centre and you want to start yodelling Sound of Music tunes as you go hiking off into the natural wonder. The air is positvely wondrous as you take in fresh cool mountain air. I imagine this is what cigarette companies want to try and make you feel like when you have a smoke. It is gorgeous. And very invigorating. The hotel is lovely with beautifully designed bars and restaurants. There is internet access in every room and the rooms are of ample size and have windows that open! YAY. Last night there was an open fir in the front bar where the wine is displayed in glass cabinets as you enter with very comfy couches to repose in. Hence I spent a good couple of hours reading architectural books and having a glass of red or 3 by the fire. People were walking past and coming in to see exactly what it was I was doing sitting there on my own... “relaxing” was my contented response. AND they were playing some funky funky music. Great lounge stuff that was very cool Such a lovely place.
Breakfast this morning was delightful and very tasty with fresh food, great croissants and nice tea; and once again, funky lounge music. It makes such a difference when you have surroundings that are beautiful to enjoy! Makes you smile and be happy. All I ask is for beautiful things to surround me, then I am content. Not very buddhist is it!
So, Day off. Go off on my own (which I am really craving right now as we have been sharing for the past 3 weeks) and visit the Matsumoto castle, a beautiful original 15th Century building of a warlord and it is in it’s original form still. The Castle is surrounded by a moat and still has all the narrow steps that ascend its 6 levels allowing you full access to each level and each room. It is pretty fascinating looking at all the woodwork in the castle construction. It is all very functional and even the narrow steps serve the purpose of defence. This castle was meant for overseeing the battles that raged between warlords and regional despots. The steep stairs meant it was difficult to ascend quickly so that if the castle was ever breached, the Lord could still hold out in the top levels. It was great and I spent a good couple of hours going through the castle and taking in the darkness and the bitter cold winds that were coming through the windows. Of course, there was a lot of ducking and dodging small beams of thick wood as a westerner was definetly not meant to be walking the constructs of the castle.
Couldn’t have picked a more perfect day for sightseeing as the sun was shining and the breeze was cooling. Blue skies everywhere and such gorgeous buds of flowers and plants as they begin to welcome Spring. A couple of performances here over the next 2 days and then we are back to Tokyo for 3 weeks. I am so looking forward to that, but also to seeing Tokyo in spring. Also to be somewhere known where there will be no need to search for food and comfortable places to hang out and so on. Having a routine for 3 weeks will be an advantage as well. Definetly what is desired on tour! This week will be my first swan return after being ill, and I am so looking forward to it. Trying to get the body back to it’s former glory will be primary focus. Won’t be too hard I hope.
Still getting lots of pottery fetishes everytime I walk past a shop or have a meal in a restaurant. Will be definetly buying a new suitcase when I get to Tokyo as I have pushed my little fold up bag as far as it can go in terms of stretching to fit all my new purchases. Nothing too extravagant, but pottery doesn’t crush so a new bag it will have to be!