After the unparalleled dinner yesterday, the meek breakfast consisting of two pieces of pastry, yoghurt and some fruits felt a bit disappointing. But at least, I could walk lightly. I managed to take a picture with the owner. This is what he looks like:
The trek was nice but long. I hurt all over. Here are some pictures of it.
Finally, I arrived at Hongū after 9 hours of walking. It took some effort but finally I found the place where my stay was reserved. The man spoke fluent English, although his written English is a catastrophe. He is a kind of riddle to me. He has been very helpful in every way possible yet he feels creepy somehow. I have a whole house for myself tonight, including an equipped kitchen. He brought me oil from his café, so I don't have to buy any. I asked him if there was a public phone around, to reserve my accommodation in Koguchi for tomorrow. He said he'd call there. Then he said he did and they are all full.
Everywhere I've been on this pilgrimage, there were very few people and empty or closed facilities. So his statement surprised me. I decided to stay for two nights and take a boat to Shingū the day after tomorrow, which was my plan B to walking to Koguchi and then Shingū.
So anyways, in this village, pretty much everything closes at around 5. I found a supermarket nearby, though, that has till 7. I bought the smallest, still too big packs of vegetables and cooked for myself for the first time since I've been in Japan. It looks like I have enough stuff for at least three meals, so that goes well with staying one more night.
The guy recommended an onsen nearby for just 200¥. They are open until 8. I went there and, dear goodness, this place is even creepier! It was like an abandoned government bureau or something, with just a crooked old man sitting at the reception. In disbelief that I'm in the right place, I asked if there was an onsen around. The old man told me it was here and asked for 200¥.
I went through a labyrinth of dark narrow hallways, tried peeking into various doors until I found one with an empty bath (empty meaning no water inside). I thought I must be wrong and tried looking further but then I just filled the bath and entered. Here a pic for you to illustrate the atmosphere:
I'm not sure this is the place where I want to spend another day but obviously the fate is going to have it so. Well, so be it.