Sunday, after leaving Rokujizo Temple, we headed for the lake. Unfortunately, everyone else in Ibaraki Prefecture had the same idea and the two-lane road along the south shore of the lake turned into a trap with bumper to bumper cars just inching along. Ah well, nothing to be done but wait it out. As we were sitting in traffic, a turquoise 1960 Chevrolet Impala passed going the opposite direction.
An odd looking beast, it has fins as many Detroit Irons (American cars) did back then, but on the Impala they were horizontal instead of verticle. The car looked nicely restored, though it was modified to ride low, and was occupied by four young men trying to look as "cool" as possible. Just as they passed, the rear suspension of their car collapsed, dropping the back end to the ground and causing it to come to a slow, grinding, gut wrenching stop! You can imagine the effect this had on the already stagnant flow of traffic for the next hour and a half that it took for a tow tuck to arrive. Poor guys. So much for looking cool. I would not have been so sympathetic had we been behind them in line.
Once parked we decided to go for lunch. It was already getting close to 2 PM. We walked along the lake shore path toward the museum, which has a restaurant with a nice view of the lake. (The view is a better value than the food.) The cherry trees along the way were well worth the traffic jam we endured in order to see them.
After lunch we elected to follow the path around the other side of the lake on foot, circumnavigating it to return to the car. It is 7 km (4 1/3 miles) around the lake and one burns about 145 calories by walking around it. Perhaps we'd burn off some of the mango pie desert we had. Ha! Actually, we were also eating caramels at about 27 calories a pop as we walked. Oh well, this wasn't a day for dieting.
At this time of year, there are black swans and white swans are nesting along the shore. No comments about omlets please.
The Impala had finally been picked up by a truck, but the traffic was still bumper to bumper in both directions. K chose her exit strategy, but it didn't matter much either way - it took over an hour just to get out of the parking lot. Really. At times like this I view the invention of the automobile with disdain. What joke. I literally could have walked to the train station in less time.
Were we at the SSP - "Sakura Saturation Point"- yet? Not on your life! We next headed for our final stop for the day, a three block stretch of a river called....(drum roll please)...the Sakura River. You'll never guess what you find growing on its banks.
Quite a day. As we headed for the Ibaraki coast and the 50 km trip home, our heads were full of visions of sakura and thoughts of the experiences and surprises the day had held, as well as the lonesome and hungry little dog that was waiting patiently for our return.