The original plan was for an hour and a half hike but this was cancelled. This turned out to be a providential decision as Tan was walking with pain in his leg, and the whole day was wet, wet, wet. If we had hiked, it could have been a showery muddy trudge. This was a sign of God’s care.
From Hanaya inn we rode cabs to Nagiso Station where they rushed back and forth to see a 200 years old bridge while I had coffee in a souvenir shop opposite the station. Then we took a train to Narai, an Edo period post town in Shiojiri city, Nagano Prefecture. We had an hour or so to explore this old town that was about one kilometer of old houses and temples on both sides of a street. Most shops were selling food or lacquer souvenirs. It drizzled intermittently and I had to use a raincoat. This was where we missed a meal in order not to miss the train. Six of us found a restaurant and ordered our food but unknown to us there were many patrons waiting for their orders ahead of us. When we realized we would be late if we had waited any longer, we cancelled our order and rushed off. Good thing the restaurant allowed it. It was at Shiojiri train station that we finally had our belated lunch.
The next activity was to go to a vineyard and pluck grapes for a fee. Right in the city! Took a cab there. There was a store next to a greenhouse. The grapes we sampled were superbly large, round and sweet. And expensive. I thought this was what we came to pluck but it was not to be. They brought the women out to where they plucked grapes that were small, green, ripened, and not as sweet nor as crunchy as the samples we had tried. Was this a bait and switch strategy? I don’t know. Anyway the women came back with few branches of grapes. Smart girls. We bought some apples, grabbed a cab to the train station and went to Matsumoto, where we would be re-united with our luggage at Ace Inn. It was an eventful day but one I would rather laugh away or forget. For me a hearty dinner and a good sleep helped me forget the day’s misadventures.