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The Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, part 12

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

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Twelve

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

We hopped back on our Kobe hop on/hop off tour bus again and rode until Snookums decided she needed a bathroom so we got off near a department store and saw another bride and groom, in Western wedding attire, being photographed. First stop, toilet. Second stop, food hall! We were given samples of what looked like a "normal" salad and it was since the woman then showed us the bottle of Italian salad dressing that she was having us try. The one sample we get and it's "American"! Snookums bought a circular cake that we had seen for sale at all of the bakeries. It looked like a really long roll of paper towels on a horizontal rotisserie. The cake was made of many, many layers and it ended up being coffee flavored. She managed to choke it down. Filbert bought a crab puff thingie. By now it was time to catch the tram to see the sunset so that was our destination.

We got of the hop on/hop off bus and walked to the Shin-Kobe Ropeway that would take us to the Nunobiki Herb Park. There were not many people there and we got the 6-person tram to ourselves.

The Shin-Kobe Ropeway

More after the jump . . . It stopped at a station halfway up the mountain but you had to stay on to the top. It continued on up and we finally got off after about 7 minutes or so. It was a great ride up and the view was spectacular.

Above the half-way station, we sight the Amsterdam
The resort village at the top of the tram
No, we were there, really!

The herb park was on the entire side of the mountain from the top tram station (where we got off) to the other station half way down the mountain. We started walking down and enjoyed the various flowering herbs like Mexican Bushsage.


We saw a purple plant that had many large hummingbirds around it and just watched them for several minutes with their long tongues getting the pollen (not sure "tongues" is the right word, but the hummingbird's "tongue" was about 1 or 1.5 inches long and would curl into a curlicue when finished with one flower).


We started meandering down to the halfway station in order to see all of the herbs while being in a good position to see the sunset. We also saw quite a few large black and yellow spiders in their webs.

More flowers
The herb house
Snookums and the okra

After a few minutes, a short announcement was made in Japanese and repeated three times. Snookums thought it sounded like "The store is closing in 5 minutes" and decided to look at the brochure. (She didn't recognize any of the Japanese words, but just thought it was short and sweet and seemed like something you would hear in the U.S. at closing time.) Sure enough, it was 5:00 and the park was closed! The tram continued to run for 30 minutes, but we now had to hurry to make sure we didn't get stuck high up on the side of the mountain after it closed!! It's open until 8:30 PM on weekdays but on weeknights it closes at 5:00. Luckily we looked at the brochure in time.

We got on the tram and rode down and caught the hop on/hop off bus back to the station to catch the Port Liner back to the ship. We didn't see the sunset from the top of the mountain, but we had a very full day and LOTS of walking.

We got back to the ship and decided that getting in the hot tub would be a good idea for our tired bodies. It was very pleasant outside and Snookums got in the swimming pool, too, while Filbert decided to stick with the hot tub.

More adventures in Kobe in our next post . . .