Monday, 27 September 2010

Day 10: Hachioji - Chofu

Distance covered: 22.5km
Weather: Rain

I sat by the window in the hotel's second-floor restaurant and watched people with umbrellas pass by on the street below as I breakfasted on freshly baked pastries, a hard-boiled egg and coffee. Not a great day for taking photos or admiring the scenery, I thought, but as I was already in the grip of the urban sprawl of greater Tokyo and would be restricted to busy Route 20 and the slightly less busy Route 229 for most of the day, the rain didn't turn out to be much of a hindrance.

I was in no great hurry to get under way, and it was 8.30am by the time I'd packed, put on my rain gear, checked out and hit the pavement. After about five kilometres of straight road, I made a dog leg and crossed the Tama River. Just before the river I passed a doll shop in front of which stood these two massive, very bedraggled-looking dolls. They kind of sum up how I felt at the time.

The climb over the Tappi bridge was probably the only climb of the day, and helped break up the monotony of the straight, flat roads I would be pounding for the next two days. On the opposite side of the river was a monument marking the spot of the original river crossing.

A little further on I passed a McDonald's and went in to take a break from the rain. The lovely aromas inside made me feel a bit peckish, so I ordered some hotcakes, a hash brown and a coffee. I pushed on and by lunchtime had reached Fuchu. For lunch I found a Saizeriya and had pizza. Nearby was a large shrine, and in the shrine car park I spotted this tiny car, probably the smallest car I've ever seen.

Then it was back on Route 229, which took me all the way to my goal for the day: Chofu. Although it was right by the station, I had a bit of trouble finding my hotel and ended up walking round the block a couple of times. After freshening up, I met a couple of friends from nearby Sengawa and we went out for a nice Indian meal. It was still raining as I bid my friends farewell and headed back to my hotel. I was in bed and asleep by 9pm.

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