Nov 23, 2008

長野小旅行 2008 ② - Nagano 2008 Part Two

早くも長野小旅行最終日。昨日がとっても充実したこともあって昨晩は熟睡。今日はどんな日になるのか朝から楽しみだった。

機関車が10時過ぎに出発ということもあって今日は7時起き。天気予報とは裏腹にいい天気!しっかり温泉にも入って、バイキングも食べて、準備万端!

さすがに今日は野次馬はそんなにいないかな~ぁ、と思いつつ駅に向かうと大間違い。底冷えする寒い日曜の朝にもかかわらず、結構な数の人がSLの到着を待ちわびているではないか~ぁ!

今日も1時間あまりのSLの旅、満喫しました~!それにしても後になって気付いたことだけど、このSLの旅、信越本線が120周年を記念して今週末の三日間限定で行っているものだった。僕たちは本当にラッキーだったな~ぁ、と改めて感謝。

今日は午後丸々自由時間ということもあって、善光寺までの散策を歩いて楽しむことに。いや~ぁ、本当にこの街は歩いていて楽しい!

それにしても今日の善光寺は晴れの週末の昼時ということもあって混んでること。昼はお焼きのお茶屋さんでのんびりとお焼きと抹茶を楽しむことに。きのこお焼き、美味しかった~ぁ。

夕方になって長野駅から「長野えびす講煙火大会」会場へ向かうことに。それにしても土浦の花火大会のときと違って人がまばら。このイベントはあんまり大きくないのかな~ぁ、と思いつつ会場に着くと、やっぱり結構な人が。そして開始時間が近くなるに連れ、人、人、人(笑)。

この花火大会、いや~ぁ一言。最高!こんな花火見たことない!ウェブサイトやポスターにあった写真は合成写真だろうと思ってたが大違い(笑)。あの写真のまんまの花火が壮大なスケールで見ることができた。てるちゃんも僕も、この寒い中帰りを最終の新幹線にしてでも見にきて本当に良かった~ぁ、って心から思える素晴らしい花火だった。大会関係者、花火師の皆さん、本当にありがとう!

あまりに実のある二日間の素晴らしい長野旅行、帰りの新幹線では僕もてるちゃんもぐったり。ネットの紅葉情報とかもあって、旅行が始まるまでは「そこそこいい旅になるといいね~ぇ」なんて言ってた二人だったけど、実際行ってみると本当に感動一杯の長野SL旅行になった。楽しい旅を一緒に演出してくれたてるちゃんにも感謝!

長野最高!SL最高!北アルプス最高!

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As we realise, it's the final day of our Nagano trip. Because of a packed day yesterday, we completely passed out last night. We were excited about the day ahead from the morning.

Since our steam locomotive was departing shortly after 10:00AM, we got up at 7:00AM. It was another sunny day against the weather forecast. We got ready after having a bath in a hot spring and eating lots of food for breakfast!

We didn't think there would be as many people at the railway station today, but how wrong were we? There were tons of people lining up to see the steam locomotive on a very cold Sunday morning.

What an another lovely 1hr trip on steam locomotive we had! We realised afterwards that, in order to celebrate Shinetsu Line's 120th anniversary, this steam locomotive is running only during this long weekend. We couldn't appreciate how lucky we were.

As we had a full afternoon to ourselves, we enjoyed a long walk up to the Zenkoji Temple. This town is so much fun to walk around!

Zenkoji Temple was packed with people on this sunny Sunday lunchtime. We relaxed ourselves by having a pancake and a cup of Matcha at a cafe. My mushroom pancake was tasty!

Late in the afternoon, we decided to head to the venue for the"Nagano Fireworks Festival" from Nagano station by bus. Unlike the trip we made to Tsuchiura for fireworks, there weren't that many people heading to the event. While we were wondering this event may not be as big, we found lots of people once we arrived at the venue by the riverside. As it got closer to the opening of the fireworks, more and more people started showing up. And more, and more...

What can I say about this fireworks festival? In one word... brilliant! I have never seen anything like this before. Before we came to Nagano, we presumed that all the photos they had on the event's website and brochures were Photoshop-ed. :-P We saw the fireworks as illustrated in their marketing materials... in a much greater scale. It was such a wonderful fireworks, and we felt that it was definitely worth coming by using the final bullet train on the day on such a cold day. Event organisers and fireworks artists... thank you all so much!

Because it was such a packed and wonderful two days trip to Nagano, we were so tired on the bullet train. We were saying to ourselves 'it would be great if this trip is at least decent', but it turned out to be such an amazing and unforgettable Nagano steam locomotive trip. Thanks also to Teruko, who made this wonderful trip with me together!

Nagano, Snow Locomotive, North Alps... all wonderful!





















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