But by Sunday I'd had enough of waiting around to see if the sun will poke through. I announced we were going on an adventure, and the kids hopped to and were in the car before I'd finished packing snacks. I guess they were tired of waiting too.
We pointed the van north and drove past Nago to see some new sights. Yes, there are actually things on this island that we haven't seen yet and Sunday proved to be a day full of them. My original plan was to catch a ferry to Ie Island to see the Easter lilies blooming, but when the weather was still being temperamental, I opted for plan B - explore two small islands connected to Okinawa via bridge.
Our first stop was Yagaji island which consisted mainly of farmer's fields and a small town. Driving straight through that island, we hit the bridge connecting us to Kouri island. We also hit the rain, can you tell from the photo?
What a shame too, because I just knew that if the sun poked out that water would turn the most spectacular shade of Gatorade blue you've ever seen. We headed on down the road until we saw a sign for Turtoise, which peaked our interest.
Following the sign we eventually found what looked to be someone's home that doubled as a restaurant. But better than that, Turtoise was surrounded by farmer's fields with pock-marked roads - usually the best indication of an awesome beach close by. I don't know why it is, but the best beaches here are the ones at the end of the dirt roads through sugar cane fields.
Stevie did a mean navigation of some pretty wicked ruts and parked us in front of a view of the ocean for our "in-van picnic". We had stopped at Family Mart for our favorite on the road snack - onigiri (rice balls stuffed with fish).
|Ruts big enough to get us permanently stuck.|
|Reminded me of an English picnic...|
After fueling our bodies, we drove a little further on down the road and found a beautiful remote beach. The rain was on again, off again so we at least were able to walk the beach without getting soaked.
|We found a new use for our "beach umbrella"!|
|London was the only one with a jacket in the car.|
|Findings on the beach.|
The weather cleared a little as we came around the far side of this island and allowed for some beautiful photos. Still not the intense color I know could have been there, but the contrast with the dark sky was beautiful in itself.
|Taken as we're driving over the bridge.|
Was our adventure over here? No, not for the trooper family! I had one more stop in mind - a begonia garden I had read an article about a year ago.
This begonia garden is at a private house and was begun 30 years ago by one man. He has tended it and grown it by dividing the original two begonia roots every year. Now there are over 100,000 red begonias and it's a wonder to be seen. It was not easy to find, tucked in the mountains of the Motobu peninsula, but we were persistent and lucky and found it. Of course, the rain also found us again, and this time with a vengeance!
I released the kids and Stevie of any obligations to walk around the garden with me, but Stevie was kind enough to join me. As the torrential downpour soaked our pants, we oohed and ahhed at the beautiful gardens. They really were spectacular, even in the pouring rain so I can only imagine how stunning this place might be in the sunshine. This one wasn't on my bucket list, but it should have been. It was a little pink jewel tucked in the wilds of Motobu.
I don't know what these were but they are some freaky looking flowers!
After our tour of the gardens, we were done. We headed home under clear skies (of course), happy to have had yet another wonderful Okinawan adventure.