|A henro rest hut|
The following day we were up and away early, early for us anyway, and were on the road by seven o'clock walking back along a quiet winding road into Tokushima for the next cluster of temples. Temples 13-17 are laid around the outskirts of the city and we visited them all in one day, before heading back into town to sleep.We camped in Kuramoto Park which looked leafy green on the map but turned out to be a massive baseball stadium. Still we found a patch of grass between the stadium and the main road and tried to get some sleep while the traffic roared by.
The following day was a long walk through Tokushima but at last we were heading south. The first 17 temples feel like a mini-pilgimage, a training run as you circle around the city before taking on the Pilgrimage Proper. Hopefully we were up to the task this time.
We stocked up on gas on the way out of town before looking for somewhere to stay. For the second night this turned out tp be next to a busy road, this time in a small but very nice henro hut. The only difficulty was there was nowhere discreet to have a wee which I overcame with the judicious use of an empty pot noodle container.
'We'll just have to walk through the night,' said Mick.
'Won't that be dangerous?' I said doubtfully. 'What with traffic on the road parts and narrow paths in the woods?'
'Ok, we'll leave at first light,' he said. 'We'll get up at four and set off at five.'
This did not sound tempting but I decided not to argue. Instead I said, 'it'll be cooler on the coast anyway.'
Temples 20 and 21 are both up mountains. We decided to stay at the michi-no-eki at Katsuura below number 20 and tackle them both in one go. At Katsuura we headed down to the town where there is a sento tucked away next to the hospital which opens to the public in the evening. There was a little confusion when we turned up, as my very short hear resulted in me being mistaken for a man. It was only when I opened the door to the changing rooms and gave a little shriek that the poor woman showing me in realised her mistake. 'Sorry, short hair,' she gestured apologetically, showing me to the ladies changing room.
As it turned out it could have been worse. We asked for directions and were told we had a 6k walk back to the bottom of the road we should have come down. But bad enough after two mountains climbed that day. We both secretly hoped that the woman who explained this to us would offer us a lift but none came and we trudged off down the road.
|Crap place to camp|
|Snake in the grass|
But we had a grand day, despite a 5k detour to a non-existent supermarket. Instead we feasted on fish from a local shop which was delicious although I have no idea what it was. While we were stopped resting on the side of the road we met the pilgrims from temple 12 who had laughed so heartily at our plans. It was really nice to see them and they seemed pleased to see us too. We exchanged snacks and address details and then for the rest of the day we kept passing each other, all the way to the coast.
|Now THAT'S what I call a rest hut!|
Today we reached Hiwasa and after visiting the turtle museum spent the day doing some long overdue laundry before tomorrow's big push down the coast.
|Camp at Tainohama Beach|
|Fish sorting - Kiki|
|Ohama beach Hiwasa,|
|Street light, Hiwasa|
|Foot spa for weary travellers at |
|Doing the laundry|