Hagia Sophia was wonderful to visit and photograph. It totally made up for my less than stellar experience at the Blue Mosque earlier that day.Read More
Our first stop was Athens, where we stayed for six days. Our first day was spent visiting the Acropolis and we were sure to visit the other sites of Ancient Greece in the following days.Read More
We just arrived in Kyoto, after a long flight, an overnight in Shinagawa (near Haneda Airport in Tokyo), and my very first ride on the Shikensen (Japan's bullet train).
We found our way to our Machiya, a traditional wooden townhouse, down a narrow street, and then an even narrower path.
This place is very authentic and is just wonderful. It felt very "Memoirs of a Geisha"!
The inside was very authentic, with a lovely little entrance, wonderful large chests. Going up and down the stairs was another surprise! they were so steep that it felt more like a ladder than a staircase, so steep, in fact, that we could really only come down backward, each step so shallow that you couldn't manage them forward. Every time I went down, I thought of what it must have been like, a hundred or more years ago, when they didn't have many of the comforts of today.
The bath/shower room was another interesting surprise. The little tub looked to me to be shallow at first, but on closer inspection, I saw that it was in fact almost one meter deep. Not a bathtub, not a showerstall... Made for an interesting time!
But the toilet was a treat! The Japanese, I discovered, take their toilets very VERY seriously! Heated seats are just a basic thing you come to expect EVERYWHERE, even in public washrooms. And most of the ones I visited had built-in bidets and dryers... Some even had a little "sound-machine" that you could turn on, for privacy! Wow!!!!
So all in all, we love our little Machiya. We could have rented an appartment in a modern high-rise, but we're more than happy to have given up a few comforts for this neat experience.
This place feels very "memoirs-of-a-geisha" ;-)