Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Day 57 - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - Yokohama, Japan - Day 1

Today we disembarked the Volendam for the last time this voyage. We met our traveling companions (Rosie and Ozzie) in the 3rd floor Atrium and our Purple 1 tags were called right at 8:30am. We scanned off the ship, walked the short gangplank and gangway, passed through the mandatory passport inspection, gathered our luggage, and cleared customs. 

Since we four had a large amount of luggage, we hired a mini van for the short drive over to the New Grand Hotel which I could see from our breakfast window in the LIDO earlier. It was only 640 yen or $6.40 US. So Rosie gave him 1,000 yen or $10. Our room was ready but they had to upgrade for $20 to get an immediate room. Our room 1303 overlooks the harbor with excellent views of the Wheel, the Volendam, a waterfront park, and a Museum ship Hikawa Maru.  

Our guide for the day met us at 10am and we started our little tour for the day. We got about 2 blocks from the hotel and the skies opened up and we ducked into a Lawson Drug store and bought some umbrellas. We continued our walk down to the Red Brick Warehouses and looked around to get out of the rain. We toured the little Coast Guard Museum (free) with a great display of a captured North Korean Spy boat designed to look like a fishing boat. This little gem could do about 35 knots with 4 supercharged engines and 4 propellers. The back of the ship opened up like a clamshell and a smaller Fiberglas "fishing" boat could be launched. It had 3 Volvo Penta stern drive units. Each of those units were 300 hp and the boat could do 54mph.  Google spy ship captured by the Japanese if you would like more information.  Afterwards and a little further down, we toured the CupNoodles Ramen Museum and Angela and I made our own custom CupNoodles. It's a very cool and engaging process and ends with each participant putting their CupNoodles in an inflated plastic bag for protection (and advertising I'm sure). Afterwards we toured the actual Ramen museum before heading over to a local shopping center where the two couples split up for lunch (we wanted more traditional Japanese food and the others wanted Italian food).  

After lunch we toured the Nippon Maru which was a cadet sailing training ship that was in service from 1930 to 1988. We had a personal guide and we crawled all over that ship. It was really interesting. We then caught a #4 bus back to our hotel where we thanked our guide for a wonderful day. We made arrangements for a shuttle to the Narita airport on Friday. With all of our luggage, we're paying a bit of premium to use a van, but it would be a hassle on the train. We also toured each other's rooms and ours is a notch less elegant, but it works for us.

I spent the evening making our flight arrangements and getting devices charged up. And along the way, we both ate our CupNoodles that we made earlier in the day. They were quite tasty!! We also watched the Volendam back away from its berth, rotate counterclockwise and sail out in the night sky and under the big bridge on its way back to Shimizu.

And so ended our first day in Yokohama. We've been here twice before, but there is so much to see and do in the Port area. We have another guide for tomorrow covering some different items. Stay tuned.

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