After A Hiatus…Happy Birthday Dan!

It has been another hiatus on the blogging front for the Hayman household…thesis writing, life planning, house moving, and graduation (with honours!), and Covid-19 jabs, have prevented me from picking up my blogging pen.

I thought for this ‘come back blog’, like any good band, it needs to return with a strong opener. So, happy 35th birthday Dan! This weekend on the 8th of August my wonderful, amazing, generous and kind husband celebrated his birthday. As always, it was in style.

August in Japan is notorious for its heat and the abundance of sunshine. We decided to make the most of that, and the bank holiday giving us an extended weekend, with a trip to the Hakone mountains. We had made this trip previously during the wet season, and predictably, it rained the entire time making it impossible to enjoy the ‘Hakone Open Air Museum’ we intended to visit. Take two on visiting the museum with guaranteed sunshine? Perfect…

Oh, apart from the unexpected typhoon on the horizon! Fortunately, like many tropical storms, it had a rather haphazard path and mostly hit the area we were staying in during the night. This meant that we were able to enjoy the museum as well as a mountain cable car, and some light hiking, mostly staying dry!

On the first day, we enjoyed the Hakone cable car, taking a trip over the steaming sulphur of an active volcano, and into the Hakone valley and lakes. On the trip there, the clouds were so low we could see very little of much. It was a pretty spooky trip, as occasionally tall and dead trees would loom out of the haze. However, on the way back the wind had cleared some of the clouds and the spectacular scenery, marred by the sulphuric acid of the volcano, was revealed to us. We also stopped off to enjoy some of the famous Hakone ‘black eggs’, which have been cooked in the water from the volcano and it is rumoured that if you eat one, you will live a further seven to ten years. With three each, Dan and I will be laughing well into 100s!

On day two, we finally made it to the Hakone Open Air Museum. This infamous art gallery nestled high up in the mountains was a wonderful experience – one we were happy to finally get to enjoy! In the Picasso Pavillian, we saw over 300 hundred of his works. The lawns around the area were the home to many different sculptures, including ones by Henry Moore and Niki de Saint. And, it had an onsen water foot spa we got to relax our twinkle toes in! After the gallery, we visited a lesser-known waterfall, where we enjoyed some mountain scenery and a rather magical waterfall cascading over moss. Again, I got to dip my twinkle toes in local onsen water! We finished the day off with a trip to a small shrine where you can wash your money. It is said that if you wash your money, it will multiply many times over. Here’s hoping!

On day three, the day we came home, we enjoyed the Odawara Castle and a brief trip to the ocean. By this point, the typhoon had well passed, and the temperatures started to rise to a cosy 35 degrees, so we couldn’t manage as much outside time. Still, always nice to enjoy the grounds of one of Japan’s castles, even if it was recently rebuilt and included none of the ‘original castle’.

Overall, we had a great weekend, relaxing, soaking in some mountain air, and feeling extremely cultured in the open-air gallery.

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