Thursday, October 30, 2014

Climbing Mount Everest and the Matterhorn, and a Tuscan dinner after a Hokkaido holiday



Last night, we arrived from Sapporo's Chitose Airport after a short but happy holiday in Hokkaido, living a Travelife.

There's never enough time for anything and everything in a never-ending Travelife, and there certainly wasn't enough time for us in Hokkaido.

But it was better than nothing, and we had a very good time enjoying good food, wonderful scenery and some very nice Japanese inns.



GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL

It was really nice, actually, and I especially liked being able to get away from almost everything for some hot springs time.

Noboribetsu, which is one of the hot springs towns we stayed in, is supposed to have some of the most "powerful" geothermal waters in Japan, and it's reportedly excellent for regaining vitality.


But after our trip it was back to reality, and almost straight from landing at Tokyo's Haneda Airport, we headed to our respective dinner appointments.

MEETING UP WITH MY FRIEND S

I was set to meet my neighbour S, who I have been so remiss about catching up with.

The last time we'd had a really good talk was about two years ago, when I was a guest at her beautiful weekend home by the sea in Chiba.




But last weekend, I bumped into her at the neighbourhood Halloween festivities, and we arranged to have dinner last night.

Initially we were going to go somewhere fancy.

But after non-stop eating, especially in Hokkaido where every single meal was the equivalent of at least eight courses, I couldn't think of any more food and would have been happy to just have a glass of water for dinner.



PASTA AND
TUSCAN-STYLE STEAKS FOR DINNER

So at the last minute, we ended up going to a neighbourhood Italian restaurant famous for its Tuscan cuisine.

We ordered the steak Florentine to share and a couple of salads and pastas and exchanged updates.

Talk about an update. 

CLIMBING MOUNT EVEREST



My friend S is planning to climb Mount Everest.

Apparently she's climbed almost all the major mountains in the world, save for Mount Everest and one other mountain.

She's climbed most of the ones in Europe, Asia and Africa, including Mount Kilimanjaro, which I only saw from an airplane.

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THE MOST ENJOYABLE CLIMB

I asked her: "So which is the most enjoyable mountain to climb?"

She replied: "Probably the Matterhorn. Because you can climb it and then get a helicopter to pick you up at the top and take you down. Then there's a spa when you're done."

She added: "Climbing up isn't really a problem. It's the going down that's so hard on the knees."

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PREPARING FOR A CLIMB
UP MOUNT EVEREST

Then I asked her: "And how on earth do you prepare for a climb up Mount Everest?"

She seems like such a regular girl, after all. She runs a company in Tokyo, grows organic vegetables in her weekend home, and likes holidaying at the Aman resorts.


Halloween festivities in Tokyo

When I saw her over the weekend, she and her husband were putting up Halloween decor all over the front of their house.

S shrugged and said: "Climbing isn't really very difficult, especially if you're not heavy. It's really a matter of luck with the weather and getting a very good guide. And hiring someone to carry your gear if you don't want to do so on your back, although I always carry my own."

How's that for an entirely different kind of never-endingly eventful Travelife?

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