On the second day, we went skiing in the morning and sight-seeing at a port town called Otaru (小樽市).We had a good hotel breakfast in the morning. After which we spent some time clearing away the snow on our car before we set off. The snow was really heavy that day and it was very difficult to drive.
I wasn’t too keen to go skiing, having tried before in a previous trip to Korea. I didn’t particularly enjoyed it as I have very poor hands and legs coordination. Most of the time, I find myself falling flat on the cold hard snow. The two ladies were not keen too, both not being the sporty types. However, all of us tagged along for the sake of Mark, our tour guide, who is very persistent to try skiing.
In the end, only Mark rented a set of ski which we shared among the four of us later on. All of us paid for a one-day pass to use the gondolas though – a major mistake as it costs 3800 yen (S$64) per pax. We discovered that given none of us were pro-skiers, we won’t be able to ski down the high peaks the gondolas bring us up to. In the end, we just took the gondola for sight-seeing… lame man… moreover, you can ski for free at the lowland area.
While we break for tea, Mark did went to ski down one of the giant slope up from the gondola though. He said he tumbled down almost all the way and was shocked by the speed of descent.
We reached Otaru at around 5 plus in the noon – very late according to Hokkaido winter timing. As a result, all the shops were already closed or closing (we were too hungry to shop anyway). We had a hard time hunting down a small, cosy restaurant to have our very late lunch. Otaru faces the Ishikari Bay, and it has long served as the main port of the bay. With its many historical buildings, Otaru is one of Japan’s leading tourist destinations. There are a lot of interesting handicraft shops in Otaru; particularly those making blow-glass and other glass artifacts. They were very pretty to look at, but also too expensive to buy and too fragile to attempt bringing back to Singapore in our luggage.
The drive back from Otaru to our hotel takes around 2 hours. As shops all close very early during winter time, we decided to head straight to the supermarket near our hotel, whack some discounted sashimi and sushi; then have dinner in our hotel before turning ourselves in early. Oh… we went to the open-air onsen (温泉) in our hotel that day – damn shiok! The water was like over 40 degree Celsius while the outdoor temperature was negative zero. Hot on the inside, cold on the outside.
That’s it for the day. We went to the zoo the next day to see the penguin march. Stay tuned for my next post if you like penguins.
Meanwhile, you may want to read my Day 1 blog entry if you haven’t done so.
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