Kanazawa Hostel Adventure
As the train approaches Kanazawa, I open my guidebook and search for the location of the hostel, which is supposedly only 20 minutes from the train station. What I find is an arrow, labeled ‘To Kanazawa Hostel’, leading off the map.
At the Tourist Information office, I pick up another map but again the hostel is nowhere to be found, with another arrow as the sole artifact.
“How do I get to the hostel?” I inquire at the desk.
“Here,” the girl indicates, showing me the arrow on the map. “Take a taxi,” she adds.
“Is it possible to walk?”
“Faster by taxi.”
“Yes, but I’m used to walking everywhere.” Judging from her face, she doesn’t seem too keen about this so I add, “…and I only have one backpack, and I like to walk…” She is still hesitant. “…and I’m fast…” Still reluctant. “…and long distances don’t bother me…” Now I can see her trying to weigh my backpack on a mental scale. “… and this bag is very light, and…”
“Taxi,” she repeats.
Outside the station, I soon realize that I don’t have time to drop my bag at the hostel before heading to the city’s sights, which all close at 6pm. In fact, I will need to hurry or risk missing something on my list. Therefore, I spend the afternoon walking back and forth throughout the city with my backpack on.
At 6pm, after an afternoon of sightseeing, I’m slightly tired and looking forward to releasing my backpack.
However, since it’s a clear day and still bright outside, I decide it would be fun to walk to the hostel anyway. After all, it’s only 20 minutes away, right?
As I get closer to the arrow on my map, the streets get narrower and narrower. Before long it is impossible to distinguish between a street and a regular walking path and my map is becoming more of a frustration than an aid. Finally, I give up on the map and pull out my compass.
However, I still find it difficult to head in the correct direction because I keep running into dead-end after dead-end. It seems everywhere I turn there is another temple in my face. The whole area is covered with small tiny temples, scattered randomly throughout.
After some time and more wrong turns, I breathe a sigh of relief as I finally emerge from the temple area, and follow a path uphill into the forest.
By now I’m tired, hungry, and cursing the hostel for not being closer. You can imagine my reaction upon discovering that I had entered the ‘Monument Zone’. Now each turn in the forest brings me face to face with yet another monument as I wind my way slowly up the hill. I begin to question whether this universe is real or not....
...Meanwhile, the sun slowly sets on my hopes of finding the hostel.
Well that’s when panic begins to set in.
Nevertheless, I manage to reach the hostel. With a measure of relief, I check-in and collapse on my bed.
Looking back on the journey, it was actually a pretty cool area to explore, with all the temples and monuments. I would have liked to spend more time there (under less stressful conditions).
Only 20 min from the station? Yeah, right. This was only halfway there.
Hungry, yet far from the nearest restaurant or convenience store, I see what the hostel has to offer in terms of food. Dinner consists of: chips, a Cup-of-Noodles, and beer from the vending machine. Yum.
Afterwards I found out it wasn’t even real beer.