Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Onsen Here I Come (Onsenji Yume-Dono) ^^

IMG_8238The lady at the tourist information centre at Kawaguchiko Station recommended Onsenji Yume-Dono Ryokan to us for onsen. It can be reached by alighting at Ogi bus stop from the Kawaguchiko Retro Bus. 

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Autumn leaves spotted just outside the entrance to Onsenji Yume-Dono.

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The entrance. We cannot wait to soak ourselves in the onsen given the cold weather! I think the charges are 1000 yen? Could not exactly remember. >.<

The male receptionist was kinda good looking. Hehe. We bought the towel from the vending machine and we were ready to soak!

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We were lucky or maybe we were early because the onsen area was totally empty. This is the bathing area. Shampoo and shower all provided.

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This is the outdoor onsen. I really love outdoor onsen because the air is cold on top while the body is hot. 

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This is also outdoor. Each tub is for different health reason.

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This is indoor hot spring.

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We totally love this. The bubbling hot spring felt like massaging on the body. Super relaxing and pressure releasing. ^^

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After soaking and bathing, there are also ionic hair dryers available to blow the hair. In the changing room after soaking. Feeling refresh!

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Us after soaking. Looking radiant?

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There is also a resting area with heater on where we can rest after soaking in the onsen. Free hot green tea along the corridor or buy a drink from the vending machine like me.

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Autumn leaves spotted within the onsen ryokan as well.

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The street outside the onsen ryokan. How beautiful with the blue sky and mountainous background.

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We crossed the street to the bus stop opposite to wait for the next retro bus to our next stop – Shizen Seikatsukan. 🙂

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Taking a selfie while waiting for bus and the wind was so strong! The bus took a long while to come and for a moment, we thought we waited at the wrong place. 

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The retro bus route map. The bus was crowded when it arrived but lucky we still managed to squeeze in. ^^

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Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Kachi Kachi Ropeway (a story of rabbit and raccoon)

IMG_8140At the entrance to Kachi Kachi Ropeway, It was crowded despite it was still early in the morning. 

The Kachi Kachi Ropeway ascends 400 meters from the eastern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko to an observation deck near the peak of Mount Tenjo. From the observation deck, which sits more than 1000 meters above sea level, there are panoramic views of the lake below and of Mount Fuji.

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The significant rabbit at Kachi Kachi Ropeway. So cute. The story of the rabbit and the raccoon is as below. 

Mount Tenjo is the setting of Dazai Osamu’s folk story “Kachi Kachi Yama”, for which the ropeway is named, in which a rabbit gets revenge on a thieving tanuki (Japanese raccoon) by setting him on fire and drowning him in a river.

IMG_8154 IMG_8170We bought the round trip cable car tickets for 720 yen each and queued for our cable car ride. The view of the lake as the cable ascended was awesome and beautiful! There were a lot of locals on the cable car as well. The japanese ladies were hilarious when one of them started with ‘Kirei desu ne~~~ (It’s beautiful)’ and the rest followed with ‘Ne~~~~’, ‘Ne~~~~’, ‘Ne~~~~’ one after another. ^^

Nonetheless, I could feel that they are so proud of their country which is blessed with such beautiful sceneries. How I wish I live in such a beautiful country and I will just be satisfied / happy to travel within my country. >.<

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Magnificent view once we alighted from the cable car.

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As can be seen from the photo, it was kinda fogged on that day. Initially, we could only make out the body of Mt Fuji without the famous snowcapped top. For just a moment, the cloud move away and revealed the snowcapped top which got me really exhilarated.

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Photos were dark because the sun was shining so strongly from Mt Fuji side and hence, the backlight! >.< 

Like I said, for a moment the cloud move away and just for a moment, and the cloud is back. My Mt Fuji snowcapped top! Hu hu!

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And there was free photography too! Not really free, but this postcard was free. You got to pay if you want to buy the photo. Hehe. Nonetheless, I am satisfied with this. ^^

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The rabbit again!

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The view on top from the other side. It was not as fogged on this side. Nande~~~~~~

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The red and orange leaves are pretty!

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I suppose this is the small shrine at the summit of Mount Tenjo?

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A selfie again under the sun. 

Next, we will be going for onsen!!!

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Lake Kawaguchiko So Beautiful :)

IMG_8112Our first stop was to go Kachi Kachi Ropeway and so we alighted at the bus stop Yuransen Ropeway Iriguchi from the retro bus. The moment we alighted from the bus, we were awed by the beautiful sight of Lake Kawaguchiko!

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Lake Kawaguchiko!

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The swan paddle which I wanted to ride but did not. Hu!

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Autumn is peak! Look at how red those leaves were. Cannot help but took a photo with it in an artistic pose. Lol!

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More autumn leaves!

Next post on Kachi Kachi Ropeway. ^^

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Hello Mt Fuji @ Kawaguchiko

IMG_80666 November 2013 – Been eating too much for the past few days and hence, I had mixed vegetable and fruit juice for breakfast in the hotel room before leaving for Shinjuku to board the highway express bus to Kawaguchiko.

We reserved the earliest bus and so we got to leave the hotel at 6.30am. Cold outside, super cold! 

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On board the highway bus, a 1.5 hours journey. We fell asleep on board and woke up to the blue sky and mountainous scenery. Pretty~~~~

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Finally we reached at around 9am or so. Kawaguchiko Station! Still cold because it was still early in the morning. And I was trying to tolerate the cold as I did not want to take photos with the jacket (like all the time!). >.<

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We bought the one-day kawaguchiko retro bus pass for 1000 yen from the station. So beautiful bus pass yo! We also popped by the tourist information centre at the station to get the retro bus route, map and timetable, and to get recommendations for onsen. 

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Since it was still early for the next retro bus to arrive, we walked around the station and the scenery was great! Though it was cloudy and Mt Fuji was nowhere in sight! I am always that unlucky when it comes to weather. Oh and autumn was peak at Kawaguchiko when we were there on 6 November 2013! Autumn leaves everywhere and it was so beautiful. 🙂

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With trains. ^^

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A selfie when there is nothing to do while waiting for bus.

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A map of Fuji Five Lakes at the bus stop at Kawaguchiko Station.

Guess what is our first stop? Heh.

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Yummy Dinner @ Izakaya

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This is the izakaya that we had our dinner and the food are really good! Though not too expensive but neither is it very cheap. We ended up paying around S$75 for the dinner. >.<

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Potato Salad with pork.

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I forgot what was this but I think it was chicken?! But I remembered that it was good!

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Okonomiyaki and this is my favourite!!! The egg is so yummy and fragrant together with the fresh vegetables and pork, we really love this dish a lot.

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This is chicken butt yakitori. So yummy!

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This is a combo of chicken and pork yakitori without sauce but just sea salt.

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Squid! Super fresh and together with the yakitori sauce, totally love it!

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Mushrooms!

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This is Hui Ping’s drink, something to do with Sake. I don’t like. Hehe.

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How can I visit an Izakaya and not drink any beer. I love the beer in Japan! ^^

We chit chatted for a long while at the Izakaya as the ambience was really good too. With great food and beer to go along with, I think we spent a few hours there. By the time we returned to our hotel, it was already 9pm!

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Back to Tokyo ^^

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5 November 2013 – From our hotel, we got lost when trying to find the entrance with elevator to Gojo Station. In the end, we still did not manage to find it and had to carry our luggages down the flight of stairs. And an old uncle was so kind by offering to help us but of cos, we rejected. >.<

Almost could not get on the subway from Gojo to Kyoto Station because it was the peak hour in the morning. Lesson learnt – do not try to board the subway with luggages during peak hour. But luckily, we still managed to make it in time to Kyoto Station and even bought a bento before boarding the Shinkansen to Shinagawa Station.

During a 2.5 hours journey, how can we not prepare snacks and drinks? Hur.

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After 1.5 hours of dozing, snacking and watching k-drama, it is time to start on my bento. I have always wanted to do this since I fall in love with Japan and yes, finally I have done it!

I had the beef with some fried food bento and it was good! This bento cost 1000 yen and I thought it was quite reasonable. Soon we reached Shinagawa and transferred to JR Yamanote Line to Ikebukuro Station. This time we stayed at Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo again. I love the location of this hotel.

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Once we deposited our luggages at the hotel lobby (because it was still too early for check-in), we took the JR Yamanote Line from Ikebukuro to Shinjuku Station to settle all our train and bus tickets to Kawaguchiko and Hakone for the next 2 days.

And after that, it’s shopping time! We again took the JR Yamanote Line from Shinjuku to Harajuku Station. We had a tea break at our favourite Doutor Cafe at Harajuku before starting on a shopping spree!

This is my favourite must-have drink at Doutor Cafe which is Hojicha Soy Latte. Not too sweet and soy latte is very fragrant, yet not too strong like latte. ^^

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Bacon Sandwich or something, I forgot what it is named. But the melted cheese is too good!

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Baumkuchen is my friend’s favourite at Doutor Cafe and I must admit that it’s good too!

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I love shopping at Harajuku because there are cheap accessories and clothes to buy. I love the Forever 21 and H&M in Harajuku. More so for Forever 21. Prices are relatively much cheaper than in Singapore and so I’ll usually go crazy in them. Drugs store is also another ‘to shop’ for me and there’s one Matsumoto Kiyoshi in Harajuku as well.

By the end of the day, I am already carrying a lot of shopping bags! Rest for a while at Calbee shop where we bought the freshly fried chips with apple crumble flavour ice cream. Super good!

We dragged ourselves back to Ikebukuro to check-in to our room. Rot around for a while in the room before we left for dinner at an Izakaya just few steps from our hotel. 🙂

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Last Night In Kyoto and Dinner In Hotel Room ^^

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As it is the last night in Kyoto, we decide to buy food from supermarkets and eat in our hotel room. And we manage to pack our luggage and bath before settling down for dinner. It is a wonderful and relax dinner and I really do enjoy times like that. Eating dinner on the bed and chatting / gossiping about everything under the sky. 🙂

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Look at the spread! Lol!

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Service in Japan never disappoint but exceeds expectation! Ice packs for our sushi and bento to keep these sashimi fresh even after we return to hotel, pack and bath then eat. Seriously, I am impressed!

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Salads in Japan are so fresh and yummy. Especially their sauces! 😀

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The black ‘seaweed like’ thing on the left is really good! Fried chicken on the right.

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Grilled duck on the most left is so tender and delicious! All the grilled stuffs (Yakitori), especially hearts the chicken skin. Tried Chicken Soft Bone but is so-so. 😛

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Siew-Mai in Japan is really different from Singapore. Nice if don’t compare, haha!

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Mushroom, squid and prawn salad. So fresh and good. Love the taste of this. 🙂

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Dessert. Red Bean Pancake is average. The waffles are leftover from afternoon but still taste so good in the evening! 😀

We are leaving Kyoto the next day for Tokyo. A short 4 days in Kyoto but a memorable and happy one. I love Kyoto’s culture and friendly people. Kyoto, okini!! I will come back again soon~~~ ^^

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社)

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Our sad face because we took the express train and it does not stop at Inari Station. When we reach JR Nara Line in Kyoto Station, this express train is already there and we check with one of the station guard if this express train stops at Inari Station, and he said ‘Yes’.

So, happily we board the train thinking ‘Oh how lucky that the train is here and we do not have to wait.’ Only when we realise that the train is taking longer than usual to reach Inari that we realise the train does not stop at Inari and has pass through it. *smacks self*

So… we alight at the next station that the train stops and take the normal train back to Inari Station. Phew~~ lucky it does not take too long. Lol!

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Too happy to see Inari Station that I just have to take a photo with this sign board. 😛

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Once exit Inari Station, Fushimi Inari Shrine is just right outside. My friend call this the Fox Shrine. 😀

It is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto and is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.

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The shrine is really beautiful with bright red-orange-y exterior. 🙂 It is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice.

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Now you know why my friend says this is the ‘Fox Shrine’. 😛

Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital’s move to Kyoto in 794.

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Ema and colourful fox tails. I am not too sure what is the meaning of these colourful fox tails. The downside of a free and easy trip, no tour guide to explain to you about the meaning or history of some places or interesting sightings.

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Before the trip, I already make up my mind that I want to write a ‘torii gate’ shape ema when I visit Fushimi Inari Shrine because it is so cute and also, the shrine is famous for it’s rows of torii gates! 😀

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The famous thousands of torii gates in a row leading to Mount Inari. I should have visited this place in the morning because it is so super crowded in the late afternoon that taking a serene photo of the torii gates is not possible because of the crowd in the backdrop.

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The torii gates along the entire trail are donations by individuals and companies, and the donator’s name and date of the donation are inscribed on the back of each gate. The cost starts around 400,000 yen for a small sized gate and increases to over one million yen for a large gate.

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We complete the first part of the torii gates trail and decide to end there. Lol.

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Exit the shrine and turn to the right, there is this street with souvenir shops and food stalls.

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Queued long for Takoyaki and it’s just mediocre. I still prefer the ones we have at Nara. Nicer. Hehe.

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Hiroshima Yaki! This is really good! The vegetables below are just so sweet and juicy! If we have more stomach space, I would definitely go buy a 2nd one to eat. 😛

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Arashiyama – 嵐山の午餐

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The restaurant that we are going to have our lunch! It’s located just opposite the bridge. It’s around 1 plus, I think. So we are super duper hungry and anything that can be eaten, we will eat. 😛

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Here we are. Seated and ordered. The purpose of this photo is just to show how far apart we are sat opposite each other. The table is longish!

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Happy me with my lunch. I order Udon Stew and we share Chicken Karaage. I love the stew much and the udon is flat and wide instead of those round and fat. It’s very springy and absorbs the stew well. There are mochi in it as well! The chicken karaage has very crispy skin, tender and juicy meat. Yummy.

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After lunch, we stroll back towards JR Saga Arashiyama Station for train ride back to Kyoto Station. And it starts to drizzle lightly. Oh rain, I hate you when I am on holiday!

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Waiting for train at JR Saga Arashiyama Station and takes a photo with this station guard. Fell asleep on the train all the way to Kyoto and is still sleepy / small eyes when I alight. Lol. 😀

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From Kyoto Station, we walk / transfer to JR Nara Line to Inari Station which is just 2 stops from Kyoto Station. By the name of Inari Station, I’m sure it’s obvious that we are going to Fushimi Inari Shrine! Before that, we walk pass this famous waffle shop in Kyoto Station while on route to JR Nara Line. and decide to buy some waffles to try.

One thing about being on a free and easy trip, we live how the locals live and we decide when we want to stop and eat! 😛

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Yummy! Crispy outer layer and soft inside. Bought a original and a white chocolate flavor. Not too sweet at all! Happy with the waffle but make a hoo-haa silly mistake later on the train ride. Till the next post. Hehe. 😀

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Arashiyama – 嵐山のTogetsukyo Bridge (渡月桥)

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Finally we are here at Togetsukyo Bridge! It is so crowded that I finally get a clean photo of me and the Togetsukyo Bridge signage. It’s called 渡月桥 in Chinese or Kanji. The view from the bridge is beautiful even though the photos look normal. You need to be there to know it!

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Togetsukyo Bridge is Arashiyama’s most iconic landmark. It was originally built during the Heian Period (794-1185) and most recently reconstructed in the 1930s. And I realise I did not take a photo of the bridge itself! *smacks head*

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It’s the perfect place for photos taking! 😀

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Once we crossed the bridge, we walk a bit around and spot this kawaii Pooh Bear!!! Cannot resist to kiss him. Lol.

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Selfies with the Bear! I bet he says ‘Stop Molesting Me!’ Heh.

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Fooling around because of the good weather, great sunshine, cool breeze, blue sky and mountainous view!

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More fooling around on Togetsukyo on the way back from the other side of the bridge. We are famished and started looking around for food. 😀