“Every continent, every country (in the northern hemisphere), it seems can be divided between a southern, more relaxed and laid back part of the country, a the northern, which is more serious.”
Now it is time to encounter a different part of Asia. We are leaving the south and heading north, to Korea. When we arrive in Seoul it late in the evening – and with a temperature of -18°C and a wind blowing it comes as a bit of a shock for us! This is one of the largest cities in the world, and was the site of the 1988 Olympics.
“The most beautiful view of Seoul is to be had from the tower in the city centre: from there you get an idea of the layout of the whole city. “
We wake up to the sound of ‘cabin crew prepare for landing’ – the landing this time being in Buenos Aires. We had planned our route in South America very carefully and for this first step we have reserved a hotel.
Then on to Osaka, in Japan; again we found a cheap place to eat, and I can tell that it is a myth that Japan is astronomically expensive. After visiting the temple, it was time for a ‘revolving sushi’ – a restaurant with a conveyor belt that moves past all the tables so that you can grab whatever takes your fancy – and then pay only 1 euro for each plate. Between us we managed about 60 plates of food! Osaka, as the second largest city in Japan, is generally a busy place but the streets seemed surprisingly quiet during business hours. Coming from a place where drinking a sociable coffee during the day is so normal this seemed very strange!
Not far from Osaka are two of what were once major cities of Japan, Kyoto and Nara. If you want to see traditional Japan these are two places where you can get to know the culture and tradition of this nation. There are Buddhist and Shinto temples away from the city: both what I would call very zen places. Everywhere in Japan is very well connected and delays are rare. The Japanese are very cheerful people and always willing to offer you assistance when you need it. They always thank you for coming to Japan, ‘the land of the rising sun’. Hong Kong is the city with the most skyscrapers in the world – and with people who seem constantly preoccupied with their cell phone… after a while this can it becomes annoying when yet again someone collides with you as you walk down the street! Another thing you can’t help noticing: a habit people have of loudly burping as you pass! Strange! It is another reminder of the many cultural differences between Asia and Croatia.
I have yet to find a city that will compare with Dubrovnik, a street to rival the Stradun – but I will keep looking!
Ivan Vuković, travel writer
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