Solo trip with kids

This trip was a doozy. The last half of the trip Lyndon got really sick and was out of commission. That meant me and the kids were on our own. We were staying in a family hostel type place. Paper thin walls, no tv, or place for us to hang out around the hotel. Out into the Japanese country side we had to go. It sounds a bit scary to go exploring in a foreign country with three kids and no husband to help, but it was okay. The bus system was not very good, so we just took taxis. Our hotel would book us one, which was helpful. It's not like NYC where you can just hail a cab. There were designated taxi stand you would have to go to get a cab, unless your hotel called for one. Public transport check. The second thing that made it easy getting around with my limited Japanese (I'm so embarrassed at how bad it is right now) is that we were going to tourist places, so people knew what/where we were trying to go pretty easily. And once we got to the place we were going it was pretty easy. The kids would get out and walk around exploring, and of course we ended the day with ice cream. The motto for the trip was when in Hokkaido, eat ice cream. You do not appreciate good dairy until you have been without it for a year plus.

Day one with the kids: New Prince Hotel and Furano Cheese Factory. The New Prince Hotel was a ten minute cab drive from our hotel. It has a ski lift, and stunning gardens, plus some other things. We only made it to the ski lift and gardens. We went up the ski lift first to see the view of the beautiful Hokkaido country side. I did not planning on staying very long. The ski lift went up and down every 20 minutes. We ended up staying for an hour. The kids had fun running around in the grass behind the ski lift. There were also some giant beetles the kids had a good time looking at.

The next top was walking around the gardens at the New Prince Hotel. This was my favorite. Raphael napped the whole time while Cosette and Henry explored the three gardens. We found a tree that was swarming with butterflies. It was from a fairy tale. Cosette took over as photographer. I have so many pictures of flowers on my phone now. This was my favorite because we went slow. We took our time, got to do a lot of talking, and making fun memories.

The Furano Cheese Factory had all sorts of dairy products made on the premises. We tried squid ink cheese, got some delicious pizza, and of course ice cream. This one had funky flavors. We chose the more conservative flavors: grape, vanilla, cheese. They also had asparagus, and corn. We've had corn ice cream before, but not asparagus. Asparagus ice cream? And we thought durian ice cream was weird. Maybe if Lyndon had been there we would have tried it. When it comes to desserts I prefer to put my calories toward something familiar, or chocolate.

At just about every place we went there was a coloring "centre" for kids. It was the best. We left with so many pictures. 

My favorite picture Cosette took that day.

Cosette and Henry being sweet hearts. Henry found a dandelion and was so excited about it. Cosette helped him get posed for a picture with her finger.

Posing for the photo. 

Another Cosette pic. 

Dig, dig, digging. This was his favorite day. 

Butterfly catcher. She was thrilled and has been trying to catch one ever since. 

Day two solo tripping the kids, we did a bus tour that took us to the highlights of the Furano, Biei area. We visited the famous Tomita Farm where there are fields and fields of lavender, poppies, etc. It was absolutely lovely. We visited the Blue Pond, where the water was an electric blue. It was other worldly. We visited an art gallery, where the kids ran up and down and all around. The other patrons loved us, haha. And lastly we visited the beautiful Shirahige Falls which looked like something from back home in East Tennessee.

I really enjoyed spending time with Cosette at Tomita Farm. There was a period where both boys were asleep, and we had some "girl time". My favorite part with Henry, was holding hands and walking with him to the Blue Pond. Then it melted my heart a little bit when Raphael fell asleep in arms on the bus. Something that does not happen often anymore, and reminded me that he is still a little boy, one of the sweetest little boys.

Looking way to grown up in his polo and jeans. 

Enjoying the tastes of Hokkaido: lavender and melon. Lavender was the favorite. 

I have no idea what makes the Blue Pond blue, but it was so cool. It is amazing to see the colors that nature produces. 

Shirahige Falls reminds me so much of something from the Great Smokey Mountains. 

Those two days in Furano solo tripping it with kids was really nice. It was overwhelming at first to think about going out in a foregin country without my Lyndon, but then I reminded myself, "Christine, you have done this in how many countries?". Thanks to my brain/rationality, I was able to gain composure and get out there. These outings were really special. We took it slow and literally enjoyed the (bus) ride. 


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