September 6, 2014
It has been a very long day. We got up early to finish packing and then had to get over to Itaewon to drop Truman off before catching our flight at 3.
During our previous vacation we left Truman at an animal hospital. We had only been in Korea for a few weeks and I really didn’t know what it would be like. Well, it was pretty sad, folks. Basically Truman was kept in a wire cage the whole time with one walk a day – I think. It was a traumatic experience for all of us, particularly for Truman. We were told he whined, A LOT. So as soon as we got back from that trip I started looking for an alternative to boarding. Luckily, I found an American girl who lives in Seoul with her husband. He is stationed with the US Army at Yongsan so she started a pet sitting service to keep herself occupied. We met up with her and her dog, Jax, before this trip to make sure the doggies would get along and thankfully they do! This trip Truman will be much happier staying with them. She has already sent me several photos and videos of them playing.
After dropping off Truman we grabbed a coffee before leaving Itaewon. Standing Coffee is a small walk up coffee shop with some interesting drink combos. Several of their coffees can be made with liquor? We didn’t try any of those – well, not this time.
Unfortunately we didn’t get into Kyoto as early as we had hoped. Our flight was slightly delayed and then immigration took a very long time. We eventually hopped on the JR Haruka Express Train and arrived in Kyoto around 7:30. We walked over to our hostel – K’s House – and checked in, dropped our bags, and headed out for dinner. We were starving!
We had both read about a great ramen place and wanted to check it out. Santouka is very small. The seating surrounds the kitchen and has a nice atmospheric effect. It was warm and cozy and the perfect choice on a rainy evening. We each ordered the miso ramen with an extra plate of pork cheek to split between the two of us. IT WAS PHENOMENAL. I can’t adequately describe any of it. The pork was tender with just the right amount of fat to make it sweet and the broth, oh the broth. That broth was unlike anything I’ve ever had. It was all perfect. It was perfection in a bowl and a great introduction to Kyoto.
After our stellar dinner we walked around the Gion entertainment district and Ponto-cho. Ponto-cho is a long, very narrow street full of bars, restaurants, and alleyways with more bars and restaurants. It’s very densely packed and a good place to potentially see a geisha. We were lucky and saw 3! Sorry, no photos! Each time it would have been awkward and rude to whip out my camera. But trust me, they are really beautiful.
We eventually decided to try out Cafe Nobu. It was a small bar with a great, relaxed atmosphere and delicious cocktails. I had a moscow mule and Zach went for Suntory whiskey. Sipping on a cocktail while the BeeGees play over the sound system takes you to a strange and very happy place.
We called it a night after one drink and are now back at the hostel ready to collapse into bed. We have a full day ahead of us tomorrow!