Summer is back. 31 degrees (88F) and humidity at 125%. It was a hard walk from Temple 31 to 34 through mostly agricultural landscape. Lots of fruit and vegetables growing in large plastic greenhouses (don’t ask what happens to the plastic at the end of the day).
The signs were a bit poor after Temple 32. After descending the mountain there was only one sign pointing back to Temple 32 and what I thought was onwards to Temple 33. That is the normal arrangement. But it was actually indicating a scenic route. After half an hour of hacking our way through the insect infested bamboo forest we emerged back at the familiar gate of Temple 32.
The signs remained elusive but I used the map book and GPS to work our way through the market gardens. Ahead was an estuary with the choice of a ferry or bridge. I suspect the absence of signs is due to the committee being unable to agree the best route.
The ferry times are printed in the map book and we were likely to miss the next boat so we opted for the bridge. It was slightly farther but would save time. Perhaps I should have noticed the number 50 on the map next to the bridge but I led the way along the road and Sandrine followed.
As we turned a bend in the road the bridge came into view. I caught my breath. It was out of all proportion to the rural conditions on either side. A monster bridge 50m high, almost as high as the QE2 bridge at Dartford. What was it doing here on Shikoku? I started the climb up to the massive central arch and when I finally reached the top I looked down at a few small boats far below. The pedestrian pathway was very narrow, less than a meter wide and trucks thundered past with large mirrors overhanging the path. I waited for Sandrine in a small escape area but she gestured for me to continue so I set off down the far side and waited for her at the end. She was not pleased. Apparently she suffers from a condition called vertigo and had tried to call me back but of course all the noise had drowned her out.
As soon as we cleared the bridge the happy pilgrim sign resumed its duty pointing us to Temple 33 where we met Cecile, the French lady we saw yesterday. Now we are all staying in the Tosa business hotel.
Tomorrow we have another choice of routes to Temple 37: the shortest route (56Km) or the Yokonami Skyline which climbs and falls along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean. The map says “breathtaking views and hilly roads. No food or water available”. Sandrine decided on the Skyline route. Either she has overcome her vertigo or she has something else planned.