I return to you after a brief lapse in writing due mostly to normal day after day. But in a good way. so the week of school went by slowly as we all anticipated our fall break, which started at 345 Friday afternoon. Or was it at 8AM Friday morning… I think we were all checked out Friday!
Saturday we went to the school so Paul could proctor the SSAT. After that, around 2ish, we headed for Osaka.
It was a nice drive, only about 2 hrs and $60 in tolls. Yeah…they get you with those tolls! But, the mountains and tunnels we drove through were lovely. it’s hard driving and taking in the scenery.
We are staying in an old Love hotel from the 70s.. a friend stayed here previously and liked it. Plus it’s only $50 a night and right in the neighborhood we want to be in. problem
…parking. lots are $$$¥¥¥ but we finally found a lot that was $20 for 24 hrs. a really good deal!
Saturday we shoppd, found authentic Mexican food on a rooftop overlooking the river, and just took in the sights and sounds of Dotonbori. We stayed in a room that was outfitted with a wall mural of a castle somewhere in Europe.
We checked out Sunday morning and had pancakes at a Hawaiin restaurant that was delish but it was huge! I mean really…enough whipped cream. On the plus…they had coconut syrup. oooohhhh yeah! I love coconut anything.
We just walked around Osaka, went searching for Sally Beauty Supply (silly waffles…never found it), ran into a festival at a local shrine, got coffee out of a car…literally. Found a street of Lamborghinis and as we were leaving town went to the floating garden which boasts an impressive view from the 40th floor…open rooftop. The open rooftop view was amazing!
We drove over to Mt. Ktoday to spend the night in a 1200 yr old temple. This mountain, temple, and the Buddhist monks left such an impression that I will dedicate a whole other post to just them! I will post some pictures but the majority of pics and words will be done later. Check back soon for that!
We we left around 10:30 or so Monday because of rain…didn’t want to drive down the mountain in that. See next post for more info.
We decided to go straight to Kobe to try some steak since it would be cheaper for lunch. It took about 2 hrs from the mountain and we drove into the port city with a bit of rain. we stopped for coffee and a creme brûlée at this cute French cafe on a nice tree lined street…a great melding of Europe and Japan. We them ventured over to a steakhouse that the locals eat at for good Kobe meat! The place was small and smelled like my grandparents house. I was instantly in love with the wooden decor and the antique stemware lining the shelves. We sat at the bar where the chefs cook your food for you…right there. I had Kobe set for $50 and Paul had sirloin cut for $30. Umm that was lunch. But the set included drink, soup, salad, steak, vegs, coffee and dessert…so pretty good. The steak was the very most best steak I have ever eaten. He made us try it in three different ways before picking our favorite. sea salt, pepper, and fried garlic chip with wasabi mixed in soy. That was my favorite!
Paul wasn’t getting the gist of what the chef was saying and kept getting hollered at. It was funny. After dinner we drove back to Osaka, about 45 minutes where we rested (been up since 6am)…then went searching for Sally’s again…in a different location. We chased waffles for about 35 minutes before giving up and walking to Osaka castle. It was impressive! biggest we have seen so far. The best part…it was 8:00 and NO ONE was at the park. Technically it was closed so we couldn’t buy tickets to go inside…but the exterior was open and we had the whole park to ourselves!! So, fyi…go to castles after dark when no one is there.
Tuesday morning we tried the owl cafe but it was closed for two more hours. So we killed time having breakfast at yet another Hawaiin cafe. We killed two hours walking around and shopping in new areas we hadn’t seen yet. Finally the owl cafe was open and we played with owls for a bit. Some you could pat their heads and beaks, others only their beaks. They are kept clean and rotated out every couple hours. Some were babies and we couldn’t touch those…they were adorable. They all were! Really loved the owl cafe and talking witht the owner.
After that we drove to another tow outside Osaka to have lunch and find the tempura battered and fried. maple tree leaves. yes…friend maple. leaves. America…stop frying crap like Oreos and, butter, and snickers…and start frying nature!! They were Delish…and it’s a town tradition for hundreds of years. we got to watch the little old ladies make their better and fry them…right on the street in their little stalls. Bought a bag!
We we then attempted to see the ramen museum and make our ow ramen bowls…but of course they are closed on Tuesdays. Why didn’t we think of that? Great little town though and found a yummy bakery. So that’s a win. and, we know where the museum is. so…win win 🙂
We attempted to go toward Kyoto but traffic was so bad that we went to the Osaka aquarium instead. Totally works for me as I looove the ocean and what’s in it! the aquarium wasn’t very busy so we got to wander around without much distraction. I will say I have never seen such animated marine life as here. Otters, pengains, sea lions, Dolphins…all very playful. Even saw a bit of dominance between some sea lions.
Our last night in Osaka ended with another lovely walk…and small snacks for dinner at various restaurants we wanted to try. Local meat on a stick at one place, yummy dessert at another, and fish and chips at a pub…and wings with the best blue cheese dressing ever at a final stop…owned by a man who lived in Illinois as a child. He decided to open an American type bar.. yummy! And we enjoyed talking with him.
So…that brings you up to speed up til now…where it is past my bedtime…12:37…and I write you in our final night. Tomorrow we head for the old capital Kyoto to see a parade of history. ( all periods starting in the 700s) and some famous temples. That will be a separate post as well. So, for now…hope you enjoyed Osaka! We sure did!