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.
A few months ago I entered a contest for a trip for two to visit Philadelphia on Two Bad Tourists. Normally contests like this are limited to United States residents so when I saw this one was open to Canadians I jumped at the chance. I've never won something like this before, so I actually forgot about it until I got the emailing saying I had won. Two Bad Tourists then worked alongside Visit Philly to organise the trip for me and my mother to explore Philadelphia for three days. Visit Philly paid for our flights, hotels and gave us a VIP Pass to experience the city to our heart's content. It is thanks to them that this trip is possible.
Several movies and television shows have tried to capture the essence of Philadelphia over the years – from the boxing Blockbuster Rocky, to the paranormal thriller The Sixth Sense, to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and even Boy Meets World – but each described the city differently. There is no easy way to approach a city as dynamic as The City of Brotherly Love. With countless layers of art, history, religion and the paranormal, Philadelphia is a city unlike any other throughout the United States.
One thing that surprised me the most about Philadelphia was the history. The city was founded and designed by William Penn, who is also the state of Pennsylvania's namesake. Born in London, England in 1644 he lived through The Great Fire of 1666 and The Great Plague of London from 1665-1666. Both events shaped Penn's life so he designed the city to be strictly stone buildings (to stop fires from spreading) and to have plenty of space between the buildings (as to prevent illness from spreading). This led to the older areas of the city to have winding corridors between old stone walls.
Last summer my family and I tried fishing up in Northern Saskatchewan. We had a great weekend, but we caught nothing. I wasn't too disappointed though, as I have never actually caught a fish. After 25 years of fishing and failing, I have officially given up on the sport.
That is until I was invited to visit Medicine Hat, Alberta and go sturgeon fishing on the South Saskatchewan River. I was hesitant, but I said yes. I really didn't want to spend eight hours out on the water just to come home empty-handed, but I figured to give it one more shot.
My guide for the day, Brent Thorimbert, picked me up at my hotel around 8:30 a.m. and drove us to a valley located just outside of Medicine Hat. We got out on the water about 9 a.m. and arrived at our fishing spot twenty minutes later. Brent explained that sturgeon fish are "bottom feeders" so they swim along the bottom of the riverbed and eat up bugs and small fish. Our fishing lines were weighted for this very reason. The bait should sit on the riverbed and would get sucked up by an unsuspecting sturgeon.
150 years ago, Canada became a country, albeit a much smaller one. Since then, Canada has grown much in size, reputation and as a favorite for travellers from around the world. Lonely Planet recognized these accomplishments last year and ranked Canada as the #1 travel destination in 2017. With the addition of free National Parks all year long, 2017 is the perfect time to visit the Great White North!
I am always interested in Canadian adventures, so I thought I'd check out G Adventure's website to see what tours they have planned this year. Since G Adventures is a Canadian based travel company, I figured they would have something going on this year to celebrate our sesquicentennial. Instead, all I saw were the same eight tours as last year, and the year before. Thinking maybe there was some big announcement coming for 2017, I emailed G Adventures asking about it, hoping, praying, that maybe there was something, something, anything at all… but I received no response.
Now, don't get me wrong. G Adventures has eight great Canadian tours, and they all look really awesome, but they only show off a small sliver of what Canada has to offer. In fact, four of the tours are almost exactly the same: