Sep 4, 2008

北海道はでっかいど~ぉ① - Hokkaido.. OMG! Part One

いや~ぁ、ついに実現しました、北海道旅行!

生まれてこの方、北海道には3X年行ったことがなかったのです。ということで待ちに待った北海道旅行、それにしてもてるちゃんが随分いいツアーを見つけてくれたものです。HISでやってる丸々二泊三日のツアー、飛行機温泉泊込みで4万を切るとは!

それにしても朝が辛かった...。飛行機が6時半発ということもあり、4時前に起きて準備をする有様。でもお母さんが準備してくれた舞茸ご飯のおかげで朝から二人ともテンションが高い!(笑)

昨日まで土砂降りだったらしいのだけれど、飛行機で着いてみると何とも素晴らしい快晴!日差しが若干強くて気候がカラッとしてるのはバンクーバーにそっくり、ということで僕にはぴったり。

早速旭山動物園に向かうも、開園10分前に着いてしまいゲートの前で待つ有様。イコール混む前から若干余裕を持って見れるということで問題なし、と思いきやこれがまた混む動物園だこと。一時は旭川のお荷物とまで言われ、市が廃園に向けて準備を進めていたとは思えないほどのとても充実した動物園。頑張ってる人はいるんですね~ぇ。レッサーパンダから白熊、ライオン、などなどいろんな動物を二時間丸まる見ることができ大満足。そして疲れ(?)を癒すために熟れまくりのメロンを頬張るとこれがまた美味しいこと!朝からテンションはあがるばかりです(笑)。

その後美瑛の丘を車窓から楽しみつつ富良野に向かい、大きなお土産屋さんのようなところの二階でジンギスカンを昼食に。これも美味しいこと美味しいこと!さらにテレビでもたまたま見たことあって売店で売っていた幻のトウモロコシ「ピュアホワイト」もしっかり購入!いや~ぁ、北海道旅行、やっぱり食べ物が凄い!贅沢です!

富良野ではファーム富田というラベンダー農園に。残念ながらラベンダーは時期はずれで数週間前に刈り取ってしまったらしく、温室栽培のものしか見ることができなかったけど、コスモスを始め咲き乱れる花を北海道の山々をバックに堪能することができました。

富良野を後にするとしばらく高速での旅が続くも、雄大な北海道の大地が車窓から眺められるので、僕にはまったく苦にならず。途中、松山千春の町、足寄で松山千春の親友が経営してるらしいお土産屋さんにも寄ることに。ここでは美味しいワインを購入しました~ぁ。

そしてちょうど日が暮れたころに今日の滞在先、阿寒湖ビューホテルに到着。ネットで調べると結構安宿っぽかったので若干心配だったんだけど、いざ行ってみると夕食のバイキングもなかなか美味しいし、温泉もなかなかいいし。いや~ぁ、やっぱり温泉はいいな~ぁ。日本にいるからこそできる贅沢です!

ご飯を済ませてからは、てるちゃんと買い物がてら町の中心まで散歩。といっても歩いて一、二分で着いてしまうんだけど(笑)。それにしてもこのローカルなコンビには凄い、普通のジュースやコーヒーが半端じゃなく安い!ホテルでは「観光地価格」でのものしか売ってないから、教えてくれたガイドさんに感謝!

明日は阿寒湖の日の出が見れるといいな~ぁ。でも4時半起き!(涙)

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Trip to Hokkaido has finally come true!

I have been waiting for a trip to Hokkaido for thirty-odd years, but well done to Teruko for finding such a fantastic deal! We got a deal from HIS for a three day tour full of events including flights and stay at hotsprings... for less than $400! Bargain!

It was hard this morning... because our flight was at 6.30AM we had to get up before 4.00AM! But thanks to the breakfast my mum cooked for us, we were buzzing from so early! :-)

Apparently it was pouring down like a bucket until yesterday, but when we arrived in Hokkaido we had clear sky! The sun's rather strong with dry air, which is very similar to Vancouver. Perfect for me.

We headed to Asahiyama Zoo as soon as we landed, but ended up getting to the zoo 10 minutes before opening the gate. That would mean that we would be able to enjoy without concerned by a huge crowd, but more and more visitors started arriving. Apparently, this place was seen as waste of local people's tax, and the city of Asahikawa was planning to shut it down. It's hard to believe now considering this is a very exciting zoo. They have all sorts of animals from Red Panda to Polar Bear, Lions, etc, and we really enjoyed two hours of wandering around this place. And we munched melon to re-energise ourselves(?!) It was soooooo delicious! How excited were we?

We drove past beautiful Biei's hills and arrived in Furano where we had delightful stir-fried lamb for lunch. It was yummy! I also bought legendary white corn called 'Pure White', which I happened to see on TV a few weeks ago, for souvenirs. We cannot talk about Hokkaido without food!

In Furano, we went to a lavender farm called Farm Tomita. Unfortunately lavender was no longer there as they picked them up a few weeks ago. But we were able to enjoy all sorts of flowers including cosmos with mountains in the background.

As we left Furano, we were on motorway for a long time. But it didn't bother me because we had a magnificent view of the land of Hokkaido through the window. We stopped at a souvenir shop that is apparently run by Chiharu Matsuyama in the city of Ashoro, where I ended up buying tasty white wine.

We arrived at our accomodation for today Akan View Hotel when the sun was about to set. We were rather concerned about the quality of this inn because it looked like a cheap hotel on the net. It turned out that the dinner biking was good while its hot spring's also pretty decent. Hot spring is soooooooo good! This is luxury that I can do because I am now living in Japan!

Once we finished dinner, we went for a walk into town (which only takes one or two minutes!) By the way, this local corner shop is amazing... drinks are so cheap there! Because drinks are sold for "tourist price" at hotel, thank you our tour guide!

Let's just hope we can see the sunrise at Akanko lake... because we are getting up at 4.30AM!!













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