I woke up a blustery, drizzly day and found that temperatures have fallen a whopping 18 degrees celsius from yesterday, which placed us firmly back in Spring weather. Ichiro Baba suggested that I paid Lake Onneto a visit in Ashoro-cho, a trip that I took and in all honesty, found useless given the weather. All lakes look the same when it’s raining – grey, washed out and sort of colourless.
I turned tail and headed back to Lake Akan, the last place I’m stopping at before I depart from Kushiro airport tomorrow. A half-hour drive from rural Teshikaga, it’s a place that appears to be built solely for tourists. The main street is lined with hotels and souvenir shops and the Ainu Kotan (Village) at the end of the street is more like a collection of small shops that offer wooden knick-knacks of the indigenous people.
In the slight drizzle, I took off for the short hiking trail at the end of the town that led to a small bubbling mud pool, heated volcanically and then up into the forest to look at…vegetation.
Then it was back to the hotel to check in properly. I was completely unprepared for the separation anxiety I felt when I left the Subaru to a valet to park it somewhere out of my sight. They even kept my keys! Bereft of a car, I sulked for a while, went to my room, changed and proceeded to visit all of the hot spring baths available to women in the hotel.
Now, if only my room would stop smelling of roasted seaweed.
Mileage of the day: about 85 km
*7.30 pm update: Still feeling the loss of the car, but I suspect it’s not even close to how I’ll feel when I turn it in at the rental station tomorrow.