This was a tiring day, but Hakodate is an
interesting city. Nice welcome to the ship from the city.
Our first stop this morning was the Goryokaku Tower,
overlooking Goryokaku Fort.
We rode an elevator up 98 meters to the top
observation deck, from which we could see the city and the fort spread out
below us. The history of the fort is cleverly presented in a series of dioramas
with explanations and graphic-novel-like stories. On the lower observation
level there are parts of the floor made of glass, so you can look straight
down. Not quite as scary as the CN Tower, but impressive.The fort area is now a park and we could see
families wandering there.
We moved on to the Morning Market, which has evolved
from the Black Market of the war and post-war years. There is a lot of seafood,
particularly very impressive crabs – you could use some of them as dining
tables! The fruit looked amazing and so did much of the other produce on offer.
There were many things we didn’t recognize at all. Fortunately I didn’t buy any
of the candy I admired. I found out later it was squid. That would have been a
shock to the taste buds! Our next stop was the Beer Restaurant for lunch. The
beer was good, but the meal was only so-so. Cod with teriyaki sauce was tasty,
though and there were fresh strawberries for dessert.
The high point of the day
was also the high point of the city – the top of Mt. Hakodate. We rode a cable
car to the top, then got out and felt the full force of the wind. The view was
amazing, and we enjoyed wandering up there. The bus met us at the top and we
drove down through a forest that hasn’t been touched for about 2 centuries.
Towering cedars and thick undergrowth. Beautiful. We had asked our guide if we
could stop near the churches and temple that are all grouped on the side of the
mountain. We were able to see them all from the outside on a brief walking tour
of the area. Western religions were banned here until a couple hundred years
ago. Only the Dutch were allowed to trade here because they agreed to leave
their religion out of it. Our final stop was the shopping area that has taken
over the old red brick warehouses near the harbour. We didn’t see anything that
interested us, but many of the people on the bus had purchases. Back on the
ship we found that our butler and suite attendant had prepared a luxurious
bubble bath for us. I enjoyed it for about a half hour before I had to get
ready for team trivia. Another disappointing day, and we’re clinging to third
place. Sigh. We really do have fun with our great team. But it’d be even better
if we were to win once in awhile. Tonight’s entertainment was a great show by the Cruise Director, Kirk, backed by the SilverSea Quartet. He's an amazing entertainer -- good singer, lots of humour and very high energy. Click for other photos of the day Click forward to Aomori, Japan