Monday, November 30, 2009

Anniversay to Hell and Back

Honestly it only occurred to me two days before our 10th Wedding Anniversary that spending it in Hell was a little ironic.

We went to Beppu, the hot springs resort town nearby. The idea was to stay in a really nice ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn, with a gorgeous bath and superb dinner, then spend the next day touring around Beppu before taking the kids to the monkey mountain the next day, since they'd never been there before.

And touring around Beppu generally means visiting the 'Hells' or thermal areas, with a geyser, bubbling mud, shooting, hissing steam, and 100degree plus boiling pools. There are eight of them, each with its own theme and special attraction. (More below)

We got a recommendation for a nice hotel from a friend of Kanji's. The room was basic, but the bath overlooking the ocean was brilliant. There were two outdoor baths, a salt bath a hot spring bath, both just metres away from the sea.

The dinner was superb, I might have to devote a different blog entry to just the food we ate! Just what I wanted, a very special, multi-course Japanese feast. The girls got a very elaborate bento each, and Erica ate off our plates. They laid out a plastic chair and baby cutlery for her, and even brought her blocks to play with! I love that even really fancy Japanese restaurants are kid-friendly!

The next morning we had an equally special breakfast, then headed back to our room to change - the whole time we were in the hotel, we wore hotel-provided yukatas (cotton summer kimono) only they were not the usual bland hotel design - they had a room with a selection of pretty, patterned ones like you wear to festivals.

Back in our room, the kids played and danced to the iPod and K and I laid back on the futons and rested. Hey, the kids said, I know we're going to Hell today, but this is Heaven! And it was. Just us and a six-mat tatami room and we were in Heaven. The above is a photo of the happy family, in pretty yukatas, after only about twenty attempts to get the self-timer to work!

Earlier, before breakfast, we were up in time to watch the rise over the ocean. The hotel gave us the exact time so we could be sure to catch it. It would have been gorgeous, if not for the thick cloud cover. We finally glimpsed the disk of the sun at breakfast.

Totally superfluous shot of running naked baby - isn't she cute? And very hard to catch on camera!!