Travel Thread


I’m here now, teaching English courses at some universities. 15 years. Feel free to ask any questions, particularly about the Kansai area, hopefully I can help out.
Will you have the rail pass? One huge recommendation if you can swing it, is Himeji Castle, an hour on past Osaka heading Hiroshima direction. It’s far and away the best castle in the country if you like that sorta thing.


Bit slow with the pics
Boppard, on the Rhine, not a bad view from our room

Boppard Township


Stopped and had lunch at Koln in a nice little cafe across the street from the Koln Cathedral.


The drive from Koln to Berlin took far longer than it should have thanks to the constant roadworks and a couple of major crashes jamming the roads. We worked out that the longest stretch of road without roadworks was about 22km. My poor little Renault Captur had the cruise control set at 180km/h and that was still nowhere near good enough to keep up with most. My wife even chuckled when an elderly citizen went past us in his Skoda like we were standing still.
Berlin was fantastic once again, weather was high 30’s and as most people know they don’t have great Aircon’s so it was a little tough to sleep at night.
Stayed at the Meliá which is pretty well located and got upgraded to a club lounge room with partial views of the river Spree.


Great drive from Berlin to Prague, beautiful country side although in some of the grain belt area of Germany the effects of the drought were clear to see. Prague is always amazing and probably close to my favourite big city. Would definitely recommend it anyone who been there. Stayed at the Novotel Wenceslas Square which was pretty basic but in a great location. Had a good rooftop bar with views of Prague Castle. Walked just over 8km on the first evening and the hike up to the castle felt a lot worse than previously. I’m getting old and badly out of shape lol.


So today we had a wonderful drive from Prague to Vienna.
Stopped off for lunch in a great little town called Cesky Krumlov. Great place to wander for a few hours if you time your visit as not to clash with the tourist busses.


I know what you mean re the speed limit’s. We’ve been (hubby driving) sitting on about 130, and cars just whoosh on by. It’s been an experience and think hubby will be happy when we return the car.

That will be a while yet as we are currently in Marbella, will be driving to Alicanti Saturday and then onto Barcelona on Sunday. (Dropping the car there). spending a few days there.


Can you use the Pasmo card in Osaka and Kyoto now?

Also as someone who has done the major attractions in Osaka and Kyoto is there anywhere you’d recommend for good local ramen or shopping spots that aren’t the tourist hot spots?



Last stop on the way to Vienna was at the Mathausen concentration camp. Nearly 320,000 people were tortured and killed here, most of them Polish or Russian prisoners. We had visited here in 2006 and was pretty surprised at the changes made, some not for the better. A fair bit of maintenance has been done but it now doesn’t seem authentic and a lot of areas are now out of bounds.

“Parachutist Drop” After working long hours in the quarry below and lugging material up the 1000+ stairs the guards would often have fun and line prisoners up and offer them a chance to jump to their death or be shot in the head. The lake at the bottom has been dredged with many bones reclaimed in the last few years.

Cremation kilns where the dead and sometimes living prisoners were burnt. This area still stinks of death and was pretty depressing.

The Germans called this area the “Autopsy Room” but in reality it was a torture room aswell. Prisoners had gold teeth removed and fingers removed to recover gold rings often whilst alive and were subjected to other torture and experiments such as being injected with petrol. These tables are still stained with blood as is the surrounding floor.


Thanks posting and the bit of background.

I know I would not be up to visiting that place.


@Aceman why didn’t you go to the hungaroring. Danric always kills it there.


Unfortunately our plans didn’t match up in sync and we don’t head into Hungary until Saturday. I’m trying to convince the wife to head back into the Czech Republic on Sunday for the Moto GP but not having any luck. I’ve already got tickets to a couple of Juve games including Ronnie’s debut aswell as a few United EPL games so don’t want to push my luck lol


I’m dreaming of getting to assan assuming F1 doesn’t ruin the track.


That’s great you went Cesky Krumlov. I loved that place.


It seems like it’s all compatible now. PASMO can work in Kansai tapping on IC or PiTaPa.

I’m not much of a ramen connoisseur, I just tend to eat it whenever wherever, generally I think most places do a passable one, and there are thousands everywhere.
With shopping, do you mean for a stroll window shopping in a nice traditional environment, or actually a good selection of shops like in a shopping mall?

I’ll have a better think when I get the chance and let you know.

Edit: just doing some looking in Japanese. Fukushima, one stop from Umeda in Osaka anti-clockwise on the JR loop, has a concentration of highly rated ramen places. A busy area just off the hub, but less tourists. Kyoto seems a bit more spread.


These photos aren’t easy to look at but thanks for posting. I haven’t been there but have been to Auschwitz, Phnom Penh Killing fields and Gallipoli. There is a particular uneasy feeling you get I reckon which is reserved for these sites. Each to their own and I understand why some people choose not to attend.


Yeah, I assume we will get a National JR Pass unless there is a cheaper Tokyo / Kansai JR Pass that will do.
It will be my daughter’s 1st trip to Japan, so will head to Himeji if she is interested. Is it doable as a day trip from Kyoto? We went there in 2002 between Kyoto & Hiroshima & enjoyed it, but I don’t recall overnighting.

I’d like her to see the Peace Museum in Hiroshima, but its probably too far out of our way - I think I’d prefer to keep it to Tokyo / Kansai / Kii Peninsular this time.


It’s probably about 1.5 hours from Kyoto on the Shinkansen, so definitely a day trip, no need to stay. Otherwise, for a first time visitor Osaka Castle is impressive enough. Yeah, it’s wise not to overdo it and soak up a few key areas in one trip.


Thanks for the thoughts.

With regards to shopping we want more like that cooking / restaurant supply street as opposed to the mega shopping centre. We don’t want brands, we want more local if that makes sense.


Ah ok. Kind of like Doguyasuji in Osaka/Namba, have you been there?