Day 18 – A Bridge Too Far

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.

The day started well with a delightful walk through the botanical gardens near Temple 31
Market gardening
The misleading sign which sent us back up to Temple 32

Crossing the bridge

Ice cream at Temple 34

3 comments on “Day 18 – A Bridge Too Far

  1. You should have persisted with those swimming lessons Tim.

  2. Tassie Kaz

    I loved that bridge…I thought it was a marvel! I really enjoyed the walk across & the views were spectacular; fishing boats moored safely behind the tsunami wall protecting their village, the harbour entrance, the ocean, surrounding hills with lush vegetation.
    The only ‘miscalculation’ on my part was high bridges have long off ramps…I saw my ryoken below me & had quite a backtrack once off the bridge.
    All in all it was one of my favourite experiences.
    Just goes to show what is unpleasant for some is a joy for others…different strokes for different folks!
    Did you walk along the beach (past the Sealife Centre) & up to the viewpoint with little shrine & directional marker?…stunning…loved that too. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories.
    Hope you have a happier day for your next leg. 🙂

    • Actually I liked the bridge very much. An engineering marvel especially when you consider the earthquake risks. It was amazing to suddenly see it rising up ahead of us.

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