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The Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, part 11

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The Grand Asia & Australia Voyage - Holland America Amsterdam, September 19-November 23, 2008

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Eleven

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October 3 (Friday, Day 17, Kobe, Japan, continued) -

After our lunch we caught Kobe's hop on/hop off bus and rode it to a stop that was close to Sorakuen Garden which is Kobe's premier Japanese garden. We were disappointed to find out that the chrysanthemum show wasn't starting for another 3 weeks, but we did see a few blooming mums and the structures for the rest of them.

The garden's pond

More after the jump . . .

A bit of fall color
Early for the flower show

It was a very nice (but small) Japanese garden. There were three businessmen scattered throughout the park eating their lunches and there was one that was actually sleeping on a large bench (with his shoes off).

Catching a nap in the garden

It cost 300 yen ($3) to enter which made it that much more interesting to see some workers willing to pay the entry fee to eat their lunches amidst the peace and quiet. When we exited, we were treated to a bride and groom in traditional Japanese wedding attire having their picture taken with the zelkova wood front gate as their background. The bride was beautiful in her white kimono and they said it was okay for us to take their picture.

Your travelers at the garden's door
A happy couple

We walked back to the hop on/hop off bus stop and decided to go into the tourist place there. It was called Kitano Meister Garden and was billed as a building filled with Japanese craftsmen. What we found were six artisan chocolate makers selling their goods in the shops. They gave samples so that was okay with us. We got on the bus and decided that we needed to take the tram up to Nunobiki Herb Park to see sunset. That meant that we had to waste a couple hours.

We got off a stop harborside and walked around a large public area that the city had set aside. There were a number of attractions, like a maritime museum and an amusement park, and right next to it was a new-looking shopping area. The maritime museum included a full-scale replica of Christopher Columbus' Santa Maria, which caused Filbert to meditate on crossing an ocean in something that small and open--that thought made Snookums a bit queasy. As we walked around the area, we speculated that it might be an urban re-development district after the Kobe earthquake, but never followed up to find out for sure.

Replica of Columbus' Santa Maria
Japanese kids
More Japanese kids

But wait! There's more Kobe coming up in our next post! Stay tuned . . .