We took the train from the restaurant in Hiroshima about a half hour outside of the city to a port, and then crossed on a ferry to Miyajima island.
Most temples in Japan are structures, but Miyajima is different. In this case, the whole island is considered a temple. There's a temple on the island too, but in this case the island is the temple, as is the water surrounding it, so all must be treated with care (but we can, thankfully, wear our own shoes while in this temple!).
Another interesting thing about this island is it's paper-eating inhabitants: deer. Very friendly, very adorable, very aggressive deer. Arriving on the island, each person is given a map of the island. Occasionally people drop these maps and the deer will eat them. In fact, the deer will often go after the maps while people are still holding them!
We wandered through the winding roads of the temple-city and eventually arrived at the main temple on the island, right near the floating Torii gate. Now, to call it "floating" is a bit incorrect. It sits on the beach of the island and during high-tide the water rises up and gives it an illusion of floating. But during low-tide, like when we went there, the water was draining away from it and slowly the gate was more and more revealed.
Also then, of course, the temple wasn't floating either, and pools of water, moss and crustaceans could be seen in the mud below and around the temple.
In this temple there there was a fortune telling machine. To use it, you pick up a wooden tube and shake it, then put it on an angle and have a piece of wood slide out with a letter and a number on it. You then take that to a cabinet and pull out the drawer with your number and letter on it, and take out your piece of paper. I got my fortune, but had no idea what is said because it was all in Japanase!
I showed it to our tour guide, who is generally very level headed. Upon looking at it her face darkened and said "Oh no. Very bad. I don't know why so many of you are getting these." I wanted a second opinion so Luke and I went and found two young Japanese girls to help translate it. I showed it to them and they paused, laughed and pointed down as if to say "bad". By now I wanted a detailed answer, so I went back to our tour guide and this is what she said:
Direction: Southwest is good.
Sickness: is prolonged.
You will lose something important, only to find it again years later.
I've been waiting for somebody to arrive, but I will have them arrive too late.
Moving locations has a 50% of working out in the better.
You have a 70% of gambling incorrectly.
You will have bad luck traveling.
You will have a poor marriage.
If you go into business, it will fail.
We had a few hours to enjoy the temple before we had to go, and I spent it on the shore after my camera died from using it too much in Hiroshima. After a while I met up with some other people on my tour and joined them on the way back to the ferry. We took it back to the mainland, then took the train back to Hiroshima, and went to our hotel to clean up before supper. It was during supper I realized that they do not sell milk at restaurants in Japan. I'm used to milk in North America, so I found this very strange and it was the topic of discussion for supper.
I am writing this the next day while on the train to Kyoto, so I apologize if it seems rushed.
Until next time.
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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They say hope was the last thing to die in Auschwitz.
It's been just over 70 years since the Allies liberated the death camp and the horrors of the "Final Solution" were revealed to the world. Prior to their arrival, Auschwitz was the most effective death camp ever created, having taken the lives of over 1.1 million Jews.
Block 4 of Auschwitz holds the museum, explaining the best it can about what happened seven decades past. The museum explains what Auschwitz was originally built for – a camp for Polish prisoners of war – and how it became key to the Nazi's "Final Solution". The museum goes over the construction of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II (Birkenau) and Auschwitz III (Monowitz), the increased sizes and effectiveness of gas chambers and the factories of death that stood and smoked over the camp during its operation.
Nestled between the impressive Mount Royal and the majestic St. Lawrence River is Montreal, a city known for its festivals, abstract art, history and mosaic of countless cultures. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, with a population floating around four million people. While the city is a dynamic mix of Canada's two primary cultures – French and English – there are areas of the city that are culturally specific, such as Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Known for its artistic and liberal mindedness, Montreal also boasts the largest community of homosexuals in North America in their very own "Gay Village".
Being nearly 375 years old, Montreal was pivotal to the creation of New France and Canada and at a time held control over every waterway from the St. Lawrence down to the Gulf of Mexico. Having such incredible influence over the western part of the New World, Montreal hosted the "Great Peace of Montreal" in 1701, which started sixteen years of peace between the French and over 40 different First Nation tribes in North America.
Since its early days, Montreal has been one of the most influential cities in Canada. Montreal housed "internment camps" during World War I, became an ideal location for Americans looking for alcohol during Prohibition, and was the official residence of the Luxembourg royal family during World War II. Montreal held host to the incredible Expo 67, showcasing some of the most incredible architecture of that decade. The seventies saw serious political reformation in Montreal, with many Americans arriving, fleeing the Vietnam Draft. The late seventies paralyzed the city as a terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec, detonated explosives throughout the city and kidnapped and killed political figures. These actions forced the Prime Minster to enact the "War Measures Act" and deploy the military into the city to apprehend the terrorists. The eighties and nineties saw two referendums in the province of Quebec to separate from Canada, with Montreal playing a major role in both decisions. The last referendum in 1995 ended with 51% percent of Quebecers wanting to remain part of Canada and 49% wanting to separate.
Had history been different, this article would probably be written in French. New France, the birth child of French colonialism, once spanned the majority of eastern North America, dipping feet in both Hudson’s Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It was only after the British captured the city in 1759 and opened the port of the St. Lawrence River did the once promising dynasty of New France cease to exist.
Although New France is long forgotten throughout most of the continent, Quebec City still embraces the same French language, culture and identity as it did nearly four hundred years ago. Visiting this city will bring you back in time to an earlier Canada – one of cobblestone streets, narrow houses, clanging church bells and horse drawn wagons. Quebec City is a unique location unlike anywhere else in Canada, being a slice of Europe seemingly untouched by the modern world. It is for these reasons and more that Expedia.ca asked me to write about this incredible city.
There are many ways to get to Quebec City, such as by plane, train, bus, car, bike or boat.