#19 Completing the jigsaw

It’s been a successful week with two great weekends either side. I still haven’t written my ‘to do’ list but I’m doing bits and bobs when I think of them. Travel insurance is sorted and I’ve ordered the main clothing items that I still needed (thermal tights, waterproof trousers and a ‘buff’, which is basically a snood in 1980’s speak!), although I still have multitude of other things to get like gloves (x3!), hat (x2), toiletries etc. and a new day rucksack as apparently mine is too small …

I’ve finally booked my accommodation in Japan between Tokyo and the Monastery. Hurrah! I’ve decided to go the Airbnb route and stay in Kyoto for six nights instead of two nights in each place I hope to visit; Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima. My plan is to go on day trips (Golden Week permitting, see #14) using my bullet train pass, and hopefully find time to stop off in Kobe to taste a Kobe steak! I think it will be nice to stay in one place for a while and eat some home cooked meals as I’ll have a kitchen, and I can relax in the evenings and watch TV – or more likely, catch up on my blog – I’m looking forward to it already.

It was very exciting to go and get my Nepalese visa, it involved a trip to Kensington Palace Gardens in London and the whole thing took 25mins! It is possible to buy on arrival but if the airport’s anything like Egypt I don’t want to fight the melee for my place in the queue and if it’s anything like India I’m not going to feel like joining one queue for the paperwork, then another queue to get a ticket and then yet another to actually get the stamp and for it to be copied in triplicate (those of you who have been to India will know exactly what I’m talking about!) after a long flight. I was standing in the Embassy looking at all the photos of Kathmandu and Everest on the walls and realised that in just over a month I will actually be there seeing those sights in person. My trip has taken on a slightly dream-like feeling the last couple of weeks, something I write about on my daily commute on the train, and it was good to have a reality check and remind myself it’s actually going to happen. I am now Officially Excited.

While all of my trip preparation is going on I’m also trying to balance my normal life, work, and spending time with family and friends. One of my friends, Matt (the first person I had showed my blog to), had offered to accompany me on a walk – which ended up taking almost 2.5hours. I felt a bit sorry for him as I wanted to do hills so we went in a circle to do the steep one in the woods twice and then another circle to go down and up the road one. Hehe. He coped fine, and as a reward we had a nice lunch so both of us were happy. The weekend just gone my cousin Paul came with his wife Sarah and 7yr old twins Jaime and Callum. We went ice staking on the Sunday, which apart from doing some exercise was good practice being in a cold environment. We had a lovely time in the woods for an hour or so on Monday and I’m pleased to report that my horrid new boots are beginning to feel less horrid, which is a great relief.

In other news, the jigsaw puzzle was finally completed! I’d borrowed it from Callum when I visited back In October and had promised to have it finished by the time they paid me a return visit. With a little help from my friends – thanks Kate and Rob! – it was almost done when they arrived and then me, Callum and then Jaime put in the final three pieces. A job well done, and just in the nick of time as I needed to clear the dining room table for breakfast 🙂

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