Escape to the Countryside

B and I made a very quick trip to Tango while he was in town.  You see, we had an errand to run there and several friends we wanted to catch up with before leaving Japan again.  Unfortunately there just wasn't enough time to see everyone we wanted to, but what can you do?

We had it all planned out to get to the train station with enough time to grab a coffee for the three-hour ride.  Everything was going as planned until we discovered that the Starbucks in the train station didn't open until 8:00am!

Hello, Starbucks in Osaka Station...some people need coffee before 8:00am!

Luckily we had arrived early enough that we had time to walk to Chayamachi where there is a Starbucks that opens at 7:00.  Crisis averted, we boarded our train and settled in for the trip.  It was around this time that it dawned on me that my camera was still sitting in my apartment.  Thank goodness for iPhones, but the photo quality is still not what I would have liked...sorry about that!

While we were in my old town Amino, we got to catch up with two of our favorite people from our past lives in Japan.  It was a brief visit, but still nice!

Since we had an hour to wait until the next train out of Amino (one of the major downsides to being car-less in Tango...the trains are definitely not regular!) we had a conbini lunch and got in touch with another friend, making plans to meet for a coffee.

A bit later we found ourselves at Amanohashidate.  We took a bit of a stroll around before heading to the cafe.  The tourist shops at Amanohashidate sell the most fascinating and strangest things.  On this particular day it happened to be dried baby squid.  The saleslady insisted we sample them.  After living in Japan for five years, I have grown accustomed to the flavors Japanese people like.  So, the squids didn't really disgust me, but I definitely don't want to sit around with a bowl full in front of the TV!

If you can't work it our from the picture, the sign is warning tourists to be careful of the hawks that will steal your ice cream cone!

After a leisurely coffee and catch-up with our friend Toshiko, she dropped us off at our hotel.

The Hashidate Bay Hotel in Iwataki is filled with dried lavender, so it smells amazing! They also leave little origami paper cranes on the beds in each room, which I think is a really nice touch!

To be continued...

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