As reported last week, we visited Ishidatami's Shidarezakura 石畳のしだれ桜, but it wasn't in full bloom yet. So I was up early on Sunday morning, getting my kit ready even before the mist had cleared, because I knew the weather was going to be great and I knew the tree was going to be in full bloom.
And was it ever. No image can really convey the spirit of this old knotted beauty, completely laden with her white-pink bounty. That didn't stop me from trying though, so enjoy the extended picture slideshow.
I made the last kilometre up to the tree on foot, because I don't know if I'll ever be mentally prepared for short hills of that gradient. But after the tree and the shrine I cycled along to the next town, which I'm not even sure what it was called, but it's part of the greater Iyo-shi 伊予市 area. This was absolutely sublime. There's something dangerous about enjoying cycling through parts where the road is lined with cherry blossom trees and not looking out for oncoming traffic carefully enough. But that's the sakura trance.
In order to avoid Route 56, I stuck to a smaller road that took me back up to higher ground, perhaps more than I'd bargained for. The climb was steep but fortunately fairly short—though yes, it totally involved more walking—but it was worth it anyway. I didn't really see so much of Tachikawa 立川 as what I saw of Tachiyama 立山—that's Tachi-mountain, as opposed to Tachi-river. Once I'd reached a sign that bade me welcome to Upper Tachiyama and that showed Lower Tachiyama further along, I knew the fun part of my return had finally arrived.
Back in town I met up with the husband for lunch, and, inevitably, took even more cherry blossom pictures. Now if only I could scoop up the fallen petals and store that soft pink confetti in a chamber in my heart I could keep this feeling forever.
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Total distance: 31.6km
Time: about 4 hours 30 minutes, including lots of picture taking and soaking up of atmosphere
Highest points: 440m and later 280m
Lowest point: 60m