Monday, 4 November 2013

Island cosmos

Nokonoshima is an island in the bay of Fukuoka. A crowded bus ride delivered us to the tiny ferry port in Meinohama one Saturday in October. The ten minute breezy sea crossing spilled us out onto the balmy, sun-drenched day. Picking up some local squid Onigiri and hiring a mono-gear, no-brakes bicycle, we explored the island on wheels. Steep climbs on twisting roads, with shouts of 'Ganbate' from walkers urging us to keep climbing. Peering down to the deserted beaches tempted a brief face-in-sand-nap before edging higher to the park, each wheel turn an almighty effort

The cosmos is in full magnificent bloom during Autumn and throngs of visitors were there to marvel at the field of pink petals. We ate freshly made hot sweet potato tempura and drank ice cold tea and local mikan juice as reward for making it through the hills and spider webs. We sauntered around the park drinking in the season, basking in the last heat of the midday sun, before flying like swallows back towards the port. The descent through the bamboo lined route of Contemplation Forrest was littered with branches and damp leaves, uncertain footing for my tiny tyres. Awe at watching farmers harvest their rice crops, our awe punctuated by the temptation of an Autumn sea swim. Saltwater sandals, gentle waves, cold chicken skin, wet hair.  A banana milkshake and hot chai at the perfect Noconico cafe opposite the ferry port and we were away, back to sea, then land, then bus, then foot. There was an away-ness about the day, the contented relaxation of being a tourist and relishing the wonder of it all.