Friday, February 10, 2012

Winter Wonderland

As a post deployment trip and to celebrate our 4 year anniversary Brad and I set out to explore the winter wonderland of Nagano, Japan. It was kind of a lot of work getting there with having to take, taxi, plane, monorail, train, bullet train, and a bus ride to get there (and back), but it was totally worth it.

Nagano is completely beautiful. It snowed a lot while we were there making it extra special. We were going primarily to ski/board. Brad had gone snowboarding once before and I was excited to try skiing for the first time. We stayed at a pretty nice resort right on the Shiga Kogen ski slopes. Our breakfast and dinner were included in our room package, so we enjoyed an extensive buffet breakfast with plenty of strange Japanese options and delish Western choices. We loved the fancy resort multi coursed dinners every night. After skiing all day we ate every bite of our meals! The dining room was a big room full of floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the ski slopes to maximize the breathtaking mountain views.
So, prior to this trip I've never skied. I tried to take a ski lesson, but one wasn't available, so I was on my own. Bunny slope?? Ummm my first time having skis on my feet was going through the gate and sitting down on the lift and going up a huge mountain. Freak out central. I was panicked! Somehow I managed not to crash off the ski lift (that time) and proceeded to careen down the mountain with absolutely no control. No way to turn or stop. I was crying and praying and falling A LOT. Man, getting back up onto skis after falling took some practice. But, I did eventually get the hang of it and by our third trip down the mountain I didn't fall. I did fall a lot the 3 days we were out there, but I have officially caught the ski bug. I loved it! Can't wait to go again.

While we were in Nagano I insisted that we take a trip over to the Jigokudani Monkey Park to see the Snow Monkeys in the hot springs. You had to walk through this snowy park along this snow covered path and snow covered trees. So pretty. And it was snowing at the time too. Perfect. Oooooh my gosh the monkeys are the cutest things ever and they were everywhere. The babies were especially adorable. You could get right up next to them, inches away. It took all my self control not to touch! This was an amazing experience.

I could have stayed in Nagano for a while longer. We were having a blast out on the slopes, the food was great, the place is generally beautiful and who doesn't love being on vacation. I'm so glad we did this trip and would really recommend it!

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