Kobe, Japan

This was our final port of call in Japan.  Most passengers headed off to Osaka or Kyoto.  I set off to see what I could in Kobe.  It is fairly easy to get around.  There is a light rail system from the airport which passes through the Cruise ship Terminal and ends at the downtown rail station.  I took it down and then headed off walking up the hill to an area with old foreign houses in it which are National Historic sites.  To us they look ordinary but the Japanese were exploring them quite avidly.  There were even groups of school children, one group of which wanted my autograph.  I think they were collecting them.  They were quite cute.   This district was on the way to a cable car which went up the mountain to an Herborium.  This was an interesting garden which flowed down the side of the mountain.  The view at the top was spectacular but it was too hazy for a good picture.  There were lovely greenhouses and extensive flower and herb gardens.  In particular, there was a large lavender garden.  You walked down the hill and where the gardens ended you could pick up the cable car to descend.  I then walked back to the downtown and found the Chinatown and a large shopping area.  I spent some time in a cheap internet cafe catching up on the news.  The ship internet is too expensive to waste it reading the news.  We do get a one page Canadian news sheet every weekday but it contains mostly sports.  After the internet cafe my feet told me that they didn’t want to go any further so I returned to the ship where a university Jazz band was giving a concert.   I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get around on my own.  There were just enough signs with English to figure what direction to head  and the maps were bilingual English/Japanese so I could point to the English and someone could read the Japanese and generally tell me where to head.  One man even took me quite a long way to make sure I was headed in the right direction.  A lot of people speak some English and anyone dealing with tourists knows enough English to deal with you.   Our next stop is the port for Beijing.  I have been there four times so I will be doing something exploring the local area and taking a tour to Tianjin.

Kobe port                                     The Herborium greenhouse

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