A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog























































I'm just back home and very tired, slightly shocked by how crap our public transport is and how shoddy it looks compared to Asia. The house is a bit dirty, but not the fetid hellhole it has usually been on my return, and Shea seems OK, so all in all quite good, now must go to bed...


I am just beginning to gear up to my normal busy life, but have felt fairly mellow and am keen to try and hang on to that. Son Shea is still unemployed and needs a rest after doing the washing-up, but at least we're getting on OK and both happier as a result. Son Marc is about to buy a house with Jess and has borrowed my entire pension fund off me as a deposit (!) Erica and I are getting on well - though she is anxious about a number of things in her life, and I still seem to have work coming in despite the 'recession'. I am saddened by the violence and despair I see so much in Britain compared to some other countries, although I think I understand where that comes from, and there is a lot I value about Britain, after all I don't really want to settle anywhere else.

Its taken me this long to review my blog and shortlist the 3,500 pics I took down and down to the final 50 or so that are on this page. That last shortlisting was particularly difficult, and I could only manage it by reminding myself that the pictures I was 'rejecting' were elsewhere in the other 'best ofs', and in other places in the blog.

Highlights of the trip? My first big thrill was going up Dewa-Sanzen in Japan, this fantastic pilgrimage path up a mountain through an ancient cedar forest, temples and shrines scattered around, with a magnificent wooden pagoda right in the middle of the woods. I was also thrilled by the morning mists on Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan and the surrounding mountains; by the magnificent stone peaks sticking out of the forest in Korean National Parks; every trip on a bullet train (although my first was in Korea); temples in the snow-covered forests in Korea; the ornate, colourful and atmospheric Taiwanese temples; tables spread with exotic, mysterious and aesthetically arranged Korean or Japanese food; gorgeous East Asian art in various museums and galleries in all three countries; the traditional and beautiful solid wooden architecture of Korea; the awesome Tai Chi Master in Taiwan; the pleasure of my first Japanese garden in a temple in Nikko; the beauty of some Japanese women; the magnificent fairy-tale castles of Japan; and lastly all the lovely people who helped me out and were so welcoming and friendly as I continue to stumble around the planet.

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