I had been told that Kyoto was a beautiful city. Yet on arrival on Thursday night all I saw was evidence of the concrete era - so prevalent the world over in large cities. Beauty was absent from this landscape of tower blocks in dull grey. However I kept an open mind - after all I had just come off a long flight and it was night. My first glimpse of the beauty appeared as we spend through the city in a taxi to the area of town where the geishas are trained. Here the street lights were beautiful and buildings were low. The night was light intermittently with lanterns glowing red and white in the darkness. It was here that I ate the infamous raw chicken and drank my first sake. Kyoto's had begun to work its spell.
On the Friday we woke to beautiful weather. Our perfect guides, Mark and Yumi with their knowledge of the city designed a flawless day of sight seeing. We began at a temple with a glorious garden then followed the Philosopher's Walk and ambled through the city stopping we we felt 'called' and for lunch. I love seeing a place on foot and at my own pace - moving slowly and trying to absorb. I love looking at the little things.
My thoughts on the day - the scent of wisteria hovered around all day as it flung itself down the hillsides clinging to trees, appeared in pots by doorways, and hung heavy by temples. Colour abounded - coordinated and clashing joyously. Gardens small and large were carefully tended. Everything seemed to be prepared with such thought even the loos (but that is another story all together). Of course the politeness of everyone (I wish I could bottle it and shake over the rest of the crazy world we live in).
By the end of the day I didn't see the concrete any more, but the beauty in all the exquisite details.
I am off to London tomorrow and will be attending the Romantic Novelists' Association Summer Party. I will have my trusty camera with me and hope to report back fully on what I know will be a brilliant evening. I don't when I'll be able to connect so you may not hear from me until I reach the airport on Thursday.