Bar Harbor Trip Day Six: The Long Road Home

     Our last day in Bar Harbor was to be a short one.  After lunch we would promptly head back to Bangor to fly out to Detroit (deh twah) and then back to Cincinnati.  It would take pretty much the whole day due to layovers and making sure that we got through security.  So with nothing to do, I decided to take up my sister’s offer for a spa day.  And spa I did.

     I went with the mud wrap option for it sounded the most interesting.  This is pretty much how I felt about it: http://i.imgur.com/UEWfQ3Q.gif

     Essentially I was covered in mud, wrapped in foil, serenaded by world music, washed off by a fancy shower, and yeah, it was great.  When I was foiled up, I couldn’t help but think that that must be what a pop tart must feel like.

     After my detoxifying, we headed out for our last meal in Bar Harbor.  After much debate we headed to Paddy’s, an Irish pub.  Luckily we got there right when they began serving lunch so I could grab something pretty substantial for the long day ahead.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Six    Really sweet menu at Paddy’s

Bar Harbor Trip Day Six     A fighting Irish for breakfast, to retoxify.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Six     Paddy’s.

     After a wonderful meal, we said our goodbyes to Bar Harbor and I snapped one more shot of the Margaret Todd as it floated in the mist.  Onward to the airport!

Bar Harbor Trip Day Six

    Getting to the airport four hours early has its perks.  I got to work on my blog from the night before and spend some time reflecting.  That’s about it.

     Eventually we got onto our plane.  This first one was the longer of the two.  It was good to get it out of the way.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Six     This guy played the same game the whole flight.  With nothing to do, I watched intently.

     After landing in Detroit around 6:30, we felt the need to get some food in us.  Since we had almost four hours until our next flight, we figured we had time to sit down and grab some good eats.  To continue our seafood binge, we headed to a Japanese place called Sora for some sushi. 

Bar Harbor Trip Day Six

Bar Harbor Trip Day Six

Bar Harbor Trip Day Six

     After another lovely meal (the last of our vacation food), we found some more chill time to wander about and explore the airport.  And here is my conclusion: I love the Detroit airport.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Six

Bar Harbor Trip Day Six

     With all my free time I was able to finish the blog post from the day before and catch some Gravity Falls on my laptop.  It is a most wonderful show and it definitely helped pass the time.

     Soon enough I was Cincinnati-bound and on the verge of passing out.  Travelling is tiring for some reason.  But soon we found ourselves home and the trip over.  I promptly fell asleep.  The end.

     Thanks for sticking around folks.  It’s not quite over though.  I plan to do one more overall review of the trip, share some favorite moments, and make a video from all the footage I grabbed while I was there.  Not sure how it’ll turn out but be on the lookout for that.

     Well… back to work.

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Bar Harbor Trip Day Five: Jogging Along Jordan Pond

Well maybe not jogging, let’s not get too carried away, but it was definitely time for some hiking.  Within Acadia National Park, there is a very large pond.  It’s name?  Jordan Pond.  Apparently it is the smallest pond in the area but it also one of the deepest.  It also have a very large trail that goes all the way around it.  Let the walking and LOTR quoting continue!

Bar Harbor Trip Day Five Bar Harbor Trip Day Five Bar Harbor Trip Day Five Bar Harbor Trip Day Five Bar Harbor Trip Day Five

What makes this trail interesting (and with three miles you need interesting), is that it is split up into three sections.  The first part is just a normal nature trail, nothing special.  But after you make it to the other side of the lake, it becomes a rock trail that you need to carefully climb and balance over to make it to the third, final, and most awesome part of the trail.  The final section is a wooden plank trail.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Five

After our hike, it was time for some much needed lunch.  We went to the Jordan Pond House for one of the best meals I’d had yet.  The Lobster Stew was phenomenal!  Also, JPH is famous for their very hard to define pastery-ish, awesome, yummy, fluffy, things called popovers.  They’re super good and taste great with butter, jam, and as I found out, Lobster Stew.  This is a “must-go-to” in Bar Harbor.

Walking around in another foggy Maine day was great.  Since Cadillac Mountain was just next door, we figured we would try to see the view again, even though it was still foggy (that doesn’t make much sense now in hindsight).

Bar Harbor Trip Day Five   Some folk chillin’ by Jordan Pond.

After another “disappointed” experience at Cadillac Mountain, we headed back to the Inn in the harbor to kick back and relax ourselves.  These days are really starting to add up on us.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Five     A foggy day in Bar Harbor.

With an afternoon of relaxing and enjoying the weather and the harbor going by, it was no surprise that sooner or later, something interesting would happen.  And it did.  It came in the form of a pissed off seagull.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Five                          He has spotted me.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Five                          He and the crows don’t seem to get along.  But they kept squawking at him and soon enough…

Bar Harbor Trip Day Five                      He went in for the kill. Bar Harbor Trip Day Five                  Bar Harbor Trip Day Five                 The Victor awaits more challengers from his perch. 

After a lot of debate, we picked a place to serve as our final dinner in Bar Harbor.  Rupununi’s was our prime candidate.  And it was good.  Mostly cause they knew how to cook steak (see Bar Harbor Trip Day Four).

After an evening of fine eats and good drinking, we went back to the Reading Room Lounge for some live piano music and some night caps.  I was fortunate enough to find a port that was almost as old as I am and cost less than half.  It was a good evening.  But it wasn’t over yet.  For my last act, I went out and tried to do some long-exposure photography.  But between all the good food and wine, I soon gave in to the beautiful yet strong call to sleep (hence why this post is late).  Tomorrow would be our last morning/afternoon in Bar Harbor.  And there is just one more item on my list of things to do.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Five Bar Harbor Trip Day Five Bar Harbor Trip Day Five   Long exposurey stuff.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Four: Living a Landlubber’s Life

     Today was a late start for the first time.  Waking up at 8:30 a.m. I opened my eyes to another rainy cloudy day in Bar Harbor, but this time, we had fog. 

     After checking it out but never eating there, we finally decided to stay in and eat at The Reading Room at our Inn.  The view was wonderful with the fog over the bay.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Four

     Seeing as you couldn’t see anything anywhere near the sea, we headed inland to the mountains… which were just as covered in fog.  To many, this would be a drag but honestly, it was a fantastic experience.  I came up with a semi-pseudo deep thought.  Ahem.

“Too often, we see things from afar.  Yet so little do we look at things up close.”

                                                                   -Philosophlicese

     You would maybe be able to see within 20 feet of yourself.  Other than that it was a fog bank everywhere you looked.  Any “view” that might normally be there was replaced with a large white wall.  And it was glorious.   It created an experience like nothing else. 

Bar Harbor Trip Day Four   People wander in the mistBar Harbor Trip Day Four   The mist did not stop the hikers.Bar Harbor Trip Day Four   A stone stairway leading out a basin and back into the fog.Bar Harbor Trip Day Four   This is the view we were promised.

This is the view that I got.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Four

     Cadillac Mountain is named after Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, the Frenchman who founded Detroit.  Here’s my fun fact section for the day:  Detroit is actually a French name pronounced something like deh twah.  Try to say it in your most Frenchish accent.  The car company in Detroit was also named after him by its founders. 

     Cadillac Mountain is in the Acadia National Park, a mere 5 minute drive out of Bar Harbor. 

     I also decided to take some time to run around in the mist and quote Lord of the Rings.  Cause I’m a huge nerd like that.  Here’s my shameless self-promotion section for the day: at the end of all of this, I’ll be putting together a video to bring to life some of these stories I’ve told you.  Hopefully it’ll be cool.  If not, at least my one LOTR part might bring some smiles to your lovely faces.  Moving on.

     We drove around the park for awhile but soon fell prey to an outstanding hunger.  Feeling pretty wiped from my “orc hunting” and the hiking around in the mist, we decided to return to town and go check out Geddy’s for some lunch.  Having already been there two nights ago, I was really happy with that decision.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Four   Geddy’s!

     Although our bartender from the other night wasn’t there, we still had a great time.  We ordered so much food and it was all good and still so much cheaper than most places.  We had macho nachos served on a hubcap (not used, no worries), salad, lobster roll, chowder, pizza, beer, wine, you name it.  It was just a good fun place to return to. 

     Since we didn’t have much planned and all of the “sights” were essentially out for the day due to extremely awesome fog, we decided to take the day off to chill and wander a bit on our own.  After snapping some photos of the fog in the harbor, my sis and I headed out to Matsumoto Joe’s for some coffee and chill time.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Four   The Margaret Todd makes another another appearance.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Four   A macchiato and a latte fight off the cold of the rainy foggy day.

     I finally got to feel like a local spending some time sitting in a café, reading a book over some strong coffee and watching the rain mist down on Bar Harbor as the city moved on with its day.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Four   My view out of an open door at Matsumoto Joe’s.

     After lazing about for bit we headed back out once more for some eats.  We went to Testa’s, an Italian place right across the street from our Inn.  The food was good.  But more importantly I got to satisfy my port craving.  I was a happy camper. 

     I hate to end with such little content today because I feel like I captured so little of what was a beautiful and fun day.  Like I said before, all the rain and fog could come across like a fun-sucker.  But truth be told, I felt more connected to Bar Harbor because of it.  No longer was it about the big fancy tourist spots but rather it forced many to either watch television in their hotel rooms, or they had to experience the town for it’s little things.  The things that you can only see when you get up close and personal after all the buses and boats give up.  Today was a good day.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Four   A misty Bar Harbor.

     Thanks again folks!  Come back tomorrow for my last full day in the wonderful town of Bar Harbor.  Although it seems another day of rain and fog is ahead of us, we’re going to go back to Acadia National Park to explore an area called Jordan Pond.  After that, the sky is the limit.  All I know is, I’m going to get some much needed sleep.  I’m still sore from all that Heave-Ho-ing.

Bar Harbor Day Three: Lighthouses, Beer Tasting, and lounges. Oh my!

I can’t believe it’s only day three.  I feel like we’ve done so much in so little time already!

Today began around 7 a.m. with a knock at the door to get out of bed for a breakfast on the other side of town.  Despite the feelings of my family, I was quite pleased to find myself walking out to a cool rainy Bar Harbor.  Off to Café This Way.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   It took most of the day to realize that the title of the café was a play on words.  My brain is fried.  White footsteps lead you to the café a block away from the main street.

After another lovely breakfast, still keeping with the challenge, we headed out to wander about a bit before another boating excursion.  We ran into a guy who knew a lot about the stained glass of a church we were looking at.  Although it was closed that early in the morning, we would be back later to check it out.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   Awesome church with some sweet stained glass.

The point of our aquatic exploration was to check out the coastline of the mainland as well as some of the surrounding islands and their lighthouses.  With the cold and the rain I had to wear three layers and purchase a hat from a shop nearby.  I think the weather is in cahoots with the tourist traps.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   It’s not my usual yellow hat but I love it.  I say that mostly because it kept me alive.  The whale helped a lot.

We headed out into the bay and beyond, catching some sweet sights, learning some history, and riding most of the way up front on the bow, disregarding the cold winds and rain.  It was worth it.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three     I feel like I’m flying!

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three    That’s really where Martha Stewart lives.  She has the gravel and pines all washed and evenly dispersed every year.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   A ferry takes a dump truck across a bay.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   A lobsterman goes through his recent haul, tossing out a lobster he can’t use.  There are only certain lobsters that you are allowed to keep.

Although the journey was nowhere near over, I finally submitted to the rain and cold and retreated to the galley for something warm to drink.  My drink of choice?  Hot chocolate with a splash of whiskey.  The crewman working the galley gave me a look of confusion but was happy to help out and let me do as I pleased.  I’m hoping to have it added to the menu in future months.

After about an hour or so, we got to our first lighthouse.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three

And another.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   The sun was in my face, but I swear I could see!  Well, kinda,

We rode around for almost three hours, checking out rich people’s houses and some sweet lighthouses.  All the while, I had a lot of time spent at the front of the bow, imagining what life was like for sailor’s way back in the day,

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   The family fights against the cold to stand at the bow.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   An army of seagulls and a lighthouse.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   A poor attempt at some HDR.  Oh well, gotta start somewhere.  I’m on vacation so I’m gonna play around a bit 😛

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   A seal got really close to the ship.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three    A group of fishers taking a break back on the dock.

After our three-hour excursion, we headed back to the mainland for so much needed lunch.  I had seen a place awhile back and wanted to check it out.  To be honest, at this point I had been slightly disappointed in a place or two, but really everything had been delicious.  This place was no exception.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three     The West St. Café Seaside Grill.

We decided to go for a light lunch, primarily soups and salads.  Afterward, we didn’t have any plans so I went back to the Inn to give in to my food coma.

After sitting around for awhile, trying to regain some energy, it was time to go back out and check out that church.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   Another experiment, some long exposure shots.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   And another HDR attempt.

After wandering around some, with more time to kill before cocktails and dinner, I saw with my two eyes, a brewery with both beer and wine tastings.  I knew how I was going to spend my time.

The Bar Harbor brewing company not only makes fine beer and wine, but it also has a great staff of people willing to talk to you about their products and the area.  My Dad and I had a great time talking with the beer guy about our beer experiences, swapping stories and suggestions.  We also got to talk to a couple from Boston.  I love that accent so much.  I wish I could replicate it but I just can’t yet.  But soon!

Then it began.  It felt like the building was swaying.  Turns out, it was me who was swaying.  Apparently the effects of riding a boat for so long made me get all weird and vertigo-y.  Even now as I write this, the room I’m in feels like it’s rocking back and forth atop the water.  Blarg.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three

Enough of that though.  Back out of the brewery, we wandered around and checked out some shops for awhile before going to a place we had been told to go to for dinner.  Galyn’s.

Galyn’s was a nice sounding place.  It was said to have delicious food and the best view of the harbor in the area.  False!  Not only was I disappointed in my meal, but the view was just ok.  I found the view from my Inn’s restaurant to be far superior and allowed for more people to partake in it as they ate their meals.

Insert long rant about how steak should be made and eaten here.  It was their “specialty” and I can confidently say that I could do better with a $5 hunk of whatever meat and some simple seasoning.  This is why I keep arguing for “hole-in-the-wall” joints as opposed to the “big deal fancy-pants” restaurants.  The way I like to eat out on vacation is to find out where the locals go.  It tends to be better and usually cheaper.

After dinner, we headed back to our hotel for some drinks in the lounge.  Aided by live piano music, we enjoyed a classy evening complete with fine cocktails and good company.  Although I was tempted to go out to try some long exposure photography over the bay, I felt the need to return to my room for some much needed sleep.  Oh wait, I’ve got a blog to run!

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   My drink of choice, always, A Manhattan.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Three   The piano man.

Well that’s that for today, folks.  Thanks for reading, as always and come back tomorrow for another update.

We’ve still got a lot of time out here so if you know of any cool things to see or some great food places to try, please comment or tweet at me @Pdidion.

Adventure is out there!

Bar Harbor Day Two: A Bright Early Start

     Day Two of our Maine extravaganza included a solo adventure that took place in the slow early hours of the morning.  Which, if any of you know me personally, you know I hate being up early, especially at 5 a.m.  But this wasn’t so bad.  I went out to catch the sunrise.  And it was grand.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two

     After spending a good hour plus outside, wandering around the bay, enjoying the morning, and getting as many shots of the rising sun as I could (before my camera battery died, bah!), I began to head back to bed when I ran into my parents taking a walk.  We decided to grab some breakfast at a local place called Jeannie’s Breakfast.  The most challenging part of my morning had come: finding a lobster-based breakfast to continue my Maine eating challenge.  I thought for sure I was doomed.  I was wrong.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two  May I present: Lobster Benedict

     After a wonderful breakfast and a couple cups of coffee,  we took to the streets.  It was strange how quite Bar Harbor was this morning.  The streets were empty despite the heavy flow of both vehicular and humanular traffic we had experienced the whole day prior.  Little did I know.  The horde was on its way.

     I figured I could head back to the hotel for a quick rest as I was already feeling sluggish after a long and early creative morning.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two  Main Street in the morning, completely empty.

     And then I saw it.  A 4,000 capacity cruise ship had entered the bay.

Bar Harbor Trip Day TwoBar Harbor Trip Day Two  The tourists are coming!  The Tourists are coming!

     I knew there was only one way to survive.  I had to blend in.  And thus, I received a disguise.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two  Decked out in all vibrant Bar Harbor gear, I was ready to hide in plain sight.

     Donning my new fine apparel, we took to the streets to do some exploring before a sail boat ride around the many small islands in the harbor.  The streets felt a little more normal with life returning to them and shops opening up to lure in people “from away” as the locals say.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two   After hearing good things, we decided to find Stewman’s Downtown, a place we would later go to for dinner.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two   A spiffy olde antique shop.  Sadly, they had no olde cameras around.  I like to collect them.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two     Grr manly things.  Sports.  Booze. Cigars. 

    After some shopping around, we figured we should grab an early lunch before our boat ride.  We were all so hungry we went for the first place we saw, Cherrystones.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two   Lobster and Crab Club and a lovely local beer.

     We still had a decent amount of time before our sail boat experience so we headed to a sweet internet café called The Opera House.  It was quite the sight.  It had a whole room full of computers for gaming, board games, tables, etc.  It was fantastic.  I had enough time to grab a local paper, sit down and read.  It was great.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two    The Opera House’s main lounging room.  Great atmosphere and cool people.

     Now you’d think I would have a trillion shots from a sail boat ride.  Well, you’ve actually seen the boat we rode multiple times already.  It’s that large 4-mast (I don’t know my naval terms) that keeps popping up in my bay pictures, the Margaret Todd.  Other than that there wasn’t much to see.  I had a blast anyway though.  The sea was rather calm and little wildlife showed up, but I got to learn a lot about the area, it’s history, and why Maine has so many lobsters.  But I will provide this shot of my father and I helping to lift the sails.  We volunteered and it was awesome. 

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two   We got to yell “Heave!” “Ho!” 

     Once again, I hate to say the ride was uneventful but nothing spectacular happened.  It was just fun to be out riding around in the bay.  The cool air from the north was cutting through the heat of the day and the bay water spray felt refreshing as it washed away a day of sweat and the stresses of a busy school year.  And best of all, we completely avoided the masses of tourists from the cruise ship.  Two-for.

     We headed back to our Inn for a quick break, some drinks, and some reflections before heading out to Stewman’s Downtown as planned.

     Feeling a little tired of the usual.  I decided to get something a little different.  I got a salad…. a lobster salad.  Boom.  The challenge continues.  I hope this is a tan I’m getting.  If my skins turns red I’ll begin to fear that all of this seafood is turning me into a lobster.

Bar Harbor Trip Day Two   A lobster Cobb salad.  Delicious yet not all that filling.  I’ll need more later.

    Apparently the surrounding area (Acadia) is famous for blueberries.  Or that’s a tourist trap.  Either way, I figured I’d try something Blueberryish.  I went for a local blueberry beer.  It wasn’t overpowering like most fruity beers.  Although it wasn’t my favorite beer, it’s certainly better than most fruit-flavored beers.

     Our group began to fade as Dad went back to the hotel to sleep and after some walking and shopping, my sister Emily went back as well.  My Mum and I weren’t quite ready to end the night at 8:30 so we went out for a drink and a snack at a place an awesome shop-owner suggested.  I bought a sweet mug from him that I’ll have to show later.

     At Geddy’s, my Mum and I ordered some drinks and a small pizza to try out.  We soon began a conversation with a young lady sitting alone at the bar and the bartender.  We had some good laughs and swapped some stories about our experiences in bar harbor.  After ordering a 2 1/2 lb. lobster, the bartender shared his lobster-shell cracking skills with the young lady and we listened intently, learning the tricks of the beast’s defenses.

     We ended the night still rather early but it had been a long day and we had another one coming up the next day.  That didn’t stop me from spending some time on my porch, watching some other Inn residents pass by.  It was a good day.

     Thanks for reading folks!  As I’ve said in other posts, follow me on Twitter @Pdidion if you want some extras and more in-between content.  Check back again tomorrow for another day in Maine.

Day Thirteen: Matsuyama

We woke up early today to see the high tide at Itsukushima shrine but sadly found that the tide hadn’t come in yet.  We returned to the hotel for an early breakfast before heading out on ferry and train rides back to Hiroshima and then on to Matsuyama.  Today was mostly a day of travel.  Upon arrival in Hiroshima, we took the street car all the way to Hiroshima port, where we boarded another ferry and made our way towards Matsuyama. 

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Looking out the window of the ferry we were on.

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Our ride.

 

Once we got there we found out we had missed our bus by only a few minutes.  A taxi driver quickly approached us to help with directions as well as offer a ride to our hotel.  Seeing as we’d have to wait an hour for the next bus to come, we decided to take the taxi all the way to our hotel.  Matsuyama is a little different from the other areas of Japan we have seen so far.  Because the public transportation system here isn’t as well established as it is in other areas of Japan, many citizens drive cars to get around. 

We made it to our hotel where we dropped off our luggage and made our way out to get some lunch and head on over to Matsuyama Castle, the last sightseeing we would be doing on our trip.  But first, we were definitely a little overdue for some lunch.  We stopped at an Italian place right across the street from the Matsuyama chair lift station that would take us up to the castle. 

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Small Italian lunch place.

 

After a quick lunch, we headed over to the station and hopped on the chair lift, which was pretty awesome.  It had single person seats with no seatbelts, something unheard of in the States.  The chair lift took us all the way up to the castle in a short time. 

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Chair lift to get to Matsuyama Castle.

 

Matsuyama Castle was built like a fort, with a path comprised of many corners overlooked by towers leading up to the main structure.  Once we entered, we were told to take off our shoes before proceeding through the castle, which is common in Japan.  Many times there are places to drop off your shoes and pick up a pair of slippers whenever this is the case.  More signs of the strategic build of the castle became apparent as we traveled through the building. 

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Matsuyama Castle

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One of many stairways in the castle.

 

Closer to the end of the route through the castle, two pairs of samurai armor were placed aside to be worn by visitors.  Of course, we had to try them on. 

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Dad the Samurai.

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Dun dun dun!!!

 

After our quick run through the castle, it was time to head back down the chair lift where I was able to take a fun photo of the family. 

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Chair lift back down.

 

After coming back down, Em and I headed over to Okaido, a large mall located right next to our hotel.  The mall is a large stretch of shops which takes about 15 minutes to walk all the way through. we checked out a couple of shops before heading back to the hotel to see how the parents were doing.  

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A small portion of the Okaido shopping mall.

 

We all decided to stay in and enjoy the comforts of the hotel.  On the 14th floor there was a “western” style restaurant that sounded pretty good.  We made our way up and found ourselves a little under dressed.  It ended up being one of those places where you’re supposed to wear suits or dresses and the whole menu is in French.  Stumbling in wearing jeans and my Gundam Cafe shirt must have been an interesting sight.  To amuse my fellow hotel mates and to keep up appearances, I ordered pizza and a beer.  The smirk on the bow-tie wearing waiter didn’t go unnoticed.  After dinner, Em and I decided to hit the bar and use up the last of our yen as it’s worth more than the dollar and changing it back over costs an additional fee.  As you may notice, this blog entry is a little late.  Now you know why 😀

Five hours later, I was waking up to begin the journey home, which includes a seven-hour airport layover, six airports, four airplanes, and over twelve hours of flight on top of that.  Its going to be a long day. 

Day Twelve Part 1: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

At 8:15 a.m. on August 6th, 1945, Hiroshima was engulfed by the world’s first nuclear bombing.  Six-hundred meters above the city, a 280 meter miniature sun burned with a core temperature of over a million degrees Celsius, raining down radiation, heat, and a shock wave that was so powerful that it leveled buildings within two kilometers of the hypocenter.  The damage was catastrophic.  Between the blast itself and the radiation that followed, over 140,000 lives were lost.  Hiroshima has since been rebuilt and a Peace Museum stands within sight of the hypocenter.  The museum tells the story of Hiroshima before, during, and after the A-bomb was dropped, as well as educating visitors of the dangers of nuclear weapons and their devastating effects, all the while standing as a memorial for the victims of this horrifying event. 

Today, we visited the museum after walking around the memorial park, which covers a large area near the hypocenter of the explosion.  One of the first things we saw was the A-bomb Dome, the closest surviving building to the hypocenter.  It has been preserved and made into one of the many memorial sights within the park.  Much of the building was destroyed but some of the walls and part of the dome itself still survives today. 

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The A-bomb Dome.

 

Walking around the park, we also saw the Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students.  It was built for the 10,000 youths who gave up their schooling to perform labor services and were killed throughout WWII.  6,000 of these students were killed by the atom bomb alone. 

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Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students.  The Goddess of Peace and eight doves adorn this memorial.

 

Walking towards the museum itself, we came across the Cenotaph for the A-bomb victims.  Between the A-bomb Dome and the Cenotaph burns the Flame of Peace.  All three of these memorials are directly in line with the museum.  The Cenotaph holds a registry of all the victims of the bomb, regardless of nationality.  On it, words are carved that say, “Let All the Souls Here Rest in Peace; For We Shall Not Repeat the Evil.”  Many travel from all over the world to pray here and say these words, joining in on the promise to never let this happen again. 

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A woman prays in front of the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims.

 

We entered the museum and began our long silent walk through the exhibits, stopping at each one to read them, watch them, or listen.  The museum is comprised of two buildings, the main building and the east building, which has three floors.  When we began, we were in the 1st floor of the east building which has an overview of the event which includes Hiroshima before the bomb, the development of the Atom-bomb, and the drop.  All of this is done with film, photos, documents, models, and some artifacts including a watch stopped at 8:15, the time of the bombing.  I had learned about Hiroshima in school before, but this visit really put it all into perspective.  The very first video played upon entering brought a tear to my eye as it explained the need to destroy nuclear weapons so that this kind of catastrophe against humanity could never be repeated. 

The first floor ended with the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima.  In the center of the room were two models, one showed the hypocenter and the area around it before the bomb fell, and the other was an exact duplicate which showed the after effects.  I learned that the target of the bomb was the T-shaped Aioi bridge, a bridge I had walked earlier that day.  _DSC0064

A watch that stopped when the bomb dropped.

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Before and after models of Hiroshima from when the bomb was dropped.

 

Moving up to the second floor, we found more photos and models, but this time they were focused on Hiroshima after the bomb and the victims’ suffering from burns and all the side-effects of the radiation.  The problems of housing, medical treatment, and black markets also were brought up here.  The bomb was only the start of the damage.  But the citizens of Hiroshima remained strong.  This part of the museum then goes into the rebuilding of Hiroshima and the change that turned the city into a symbol of peace. 

The third floor goes on to talk about the current state of the nuclear age, which includes the hydrogen bomb, which is exponentially more powerful than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.  After seeing the effects of the bomb here, I get sick thinking of what else has been made since then, all in the name of war.  In 1961, a hydrogen bomb was tested by the Soviets and was said to be 3,100 times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.  The citizens of Hiroshima know that humans cannot survive alongside nuclear weapons and now share their declaration of peace with the world.  The third floor of the museum also shares the story of the Mayors of Peace, a group started in 1982 by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to begin a worldwide peace movement.  Their major mission is to abolish the use of nuclear weapons and ultimately to physically destroy all nuclear weapons.  The “2020 Vision” plan is to have this done by the year 2020.  They also have two petitions in order, one of which is for elected officials, and the other is for citizens like you and I called the “CANT” project.  CANT stands for “Cities are Not Targets” and demands for nuclear states to make assurances that they will not target cities with their weapons.  You can sign the CANT petition by going to this website:

http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/index.html

The Mayors of Peace also run exhibitions within the United States to make its citizens aware of the current nuclear state as well as the need for immediate nuclear disarmament around the world.  If you can go to one of these exhibitions, I highly highly encourage you to do so.  They contain a lot of information as well as stories from the survivors of Hiroshima that will really bring into perspective, just how real, and just how dangerous the threat of nuclear war is.  Which brings us to the next topic brought up by the museum, nuclear winter.  In a nutshell, if enough nuclear weapons are fired off and the direct damage of the blast doesn’t kill us, the effects on the world will.  Radioactive dust and soot would cover the skies, blocking out the sun, kill most of the creatures of the world, and eventually lead to global starvation.  We are not safe as long as these weapons exist.

The next part of the museum is the main building which consists of belongings of the victims of Hiroshima, and also gives us more details about what happened that day of August 6th, 1945.  The rooms are full of burnt and torn clothing.  Most were worn by the victims on the day the bomb dropped.  There are also video recordings of statements made by survivors of the bombing sharing their stories.  Numerous drawings line the walls depicting events as seen and drawn by the survivors.  Due to the graphic nature of what was all shown in this part of the museum, I am only sharing one of these drawings on this blog, as I am trying to keep it pg.  But I assure you, you will most likely walk out of this museum feeling queasy, crying, or both.  At the end of the museum, there are signatures and messages from world leaders and other important persons sharing their opinions on how they felt about the museum.  You may also share your comments and thoughts in notebooks as well as leave your signature. 

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A survivor’s drawing of the devastation of the bomb.

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Young students on a field trip to the museum.

 

This visit was a real eye-opener for me.  I plan on doing my part in paving the road for world peace and I hope you will follow.  Even the small steps count.  I encourage you to find one of the exhibitions brought to you by the Mayors of Peace, or if you find yourself in Japan, visit this museum or even the one in Nagasaki.  If you want to help the Mayors of Peace in their mission to save the world, then please visit their website to learn more and maybe even sign the CANT petition if you’d like.  The information I’ve shared with you today is only a brief overview of what is to be said on the matter and also what is to be learned.  We as inhabitants of the Earth, must work together to unite ourselves in world peace so that we may learn from our differences and enjoy each others’ cultures.  Thank you for reading.

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The A-bomb Dome seen through the Cenotaph.