We woke up the next morning (a little stiff and groggy) in Osaka. Umeda, to be precise. On a Monday morning. Right next to the major JR station. We had a few pieces of luggage and we told the boys to hold on tight. The waves of commuters overwhelmed us. Standing still in the sea of rushing workers, we made a decision. Let's just go to Nara now. We had planned to use the first morning to do some much needed shopping in Osaka but the thought of green, luscious Nara called to us. So forty-five minutes later, we arrived in the city that hosted us so well for two years.
We stowed our belongings in a locker and walked around in a haze of nostalgia. We walked past our old neighborhood, and through the arcade, and ventured just a bit into the great Nara Koen (koen means park).
Suddenly the world seemed alive with possibilities and we felt another whim come over us: Let's go to Kyoto. Kyoto had been scratched from our plans due to time constraints but having a little bit of time seemed better than none so we hopped on another train and away we went.
After spending too much precious time in the central shopping district (we were hunting a light baby stroller for Nico) we realized we only had a small ounce of it left. So we decided to go to the gardens at Heian Jingu Shrine.
They were a bit humble but richly layered, giving us a much need reprieve from the craziness of travel. We sat on the red carpeted tables of the tea house and enjoyed milky green tea kakigori (shaved ice) complete with azuki beans and white globes of mochi. Soon it was time to go, too soon. We made our way back to Nara and found our youth hostel where we were to stay for the next five nights.