Kurokawa Onsen 黒川温泉 – Kyūshū

It is hard to say if the Ghibli-esque village of Kurokawa Onsen is nestled into the land, or is a an organic growth out of it. An entity that emerged magical and complete with buildings and pathways. Something placed by the ancient forest gods to lure humans to settle. Sitting empty for millennia, waiting with its own mysterious purposes. Which are now fulfilled with the Kurokawa Onsen hot springs.

Hidden in the middle of Kyūshū– the southwestern most of Japan’s main islands – Kurokawa Onsen lies a scant 20k north of the trembling Mount AHidden in the middle of Kyūshū, the southwestern most of Japan’s main islands. Kurokawa Onsen lies a scant 20k north of the trembling Mount Aso. The largest active volcano in Japan and one of the largest in the world. It is+1,592m and with a crater 114 km in circumference! Mt. Aso is active, having erupted in 1974, 1979, 1984–1985, 1989–1991,[1] 2009, 2011, 2015[2] and 2016.[3][4] Subsequently, magma running close to the earth, creating a plethora of hot springs (Onsen) in the area.

public foot warming bath in Kurokawa Onsen
above photo public bath © lazy fri13th
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Hotel Lupaia – Tuscany

Magic Magic Magic Magic!!!!!!

Tucked in the hills of Val d’Orcia, staring at the city of Montepulciano is the well hidden Tuscan hotel gem, Hotel Lupaia. Lupaia is everything you dream about when searching for a hotel in Tuscany. Nestled into the perfect 1600s Italian farmhouse, this charming Tuscan hotel has abundance flowing. The joy is easily found in the staff, rooms, views, location, grounds, everywhere you look – everything is what you wish it to be.

Morning View of Montepulciano from Lupaia
La Lupaia
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Service is extraordinary from the moment of booking. For instance, we promptly received a very informative email outlining the different routes and attractions for our drive through Tuscany. Their suggestions  were perfect for us, and as a result, we found several lovely spots along the way.

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Tenryū-ji – Kyōto

Built in 1339 by the ruling shogun of the time, Ashikaga Takauji, Tenryū-ji temple Kyoto is another gem.

The famous garden was designed by Muso Soseki, who also created the fabulous garden of Kokedera (Moss Temple – which requires much advance planning and is on our bucket-list).

Tenryū-ji temple kyoto garden

As Tenryū-ji is a large complex network of temples and gardens, we have the following recommended itinerary:

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Petit Comité – Barcelona

When looking for a Michelin restaurant in Barcelona, consider a visit to the informal restaurant chef Nandu Jubany.  You can learn more about Jubany as he is a member of the “Science & Cooking” talks at Harvard University.

The restaurant itself is of modern design, with clean lines and a general air of significance.   A combination of formality and professionalism abound.

Our amuse bouche was a calamari salad and potato pillows.  They were quite elaborate via the effect of double frying at different temperatures.

Potato Pillows at Petit Comité Michelin restaurant in barcelona

Of course,  we had the Catalan staples of cocas con tomate (bread with tomato), and  escalibada,  (grilled vegetables) with anchovies and romesco sauce. (We would probably order a bowl of the Romesco if possible!)

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+ imperial palace in kyoto Japan

Kyōto Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace in Kyoto is an easy one. The majestic residence of Japan’s Imperial Family until 1868. Immediately on their departure to Tokyo, began the Meiji Restoration in 1869.

From the massive front gates made of imperiously dark cypress wood, throughout the entire complex of the Imperial palace – you will find yourself awed. Which is a fairly common and continuous state of being in Kyoto.

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