TODAY. HE. WAS. AN. ANGEL!
Today, we went to Nara for a day trip. It's about an hour and a half train ride from us to the east. Historically, it was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784. It was a really beautiful place. It was a nice mix of city - modern and ancient - with a lot of green space and it was nestled against a mountain range (and we got a beautiful - blue-skied brisk winter day). There are MANY shrines and "wild" deer roaming around. We would have liked to meander around a bit more, but it took us a little longer than planned to get there since we got on a local train for a bit of our journey, and we can't just stroll and take our time like we used to due to Prince Maximo. (We're not saying he's not worth it!)
Fortunately , it was a great place for us all to take a day trip. Once we entered the main Nara Park, he could roam free. He was enamored with the deer - which he kept calling cows. We bought some "deer crackers" and let him feed them. They were a little more aggressive than I expected, so I got a little antsy as one tried to stomp Maximo and another was trying to but him. All in all, they were pretty docile and had their horns cut off, so John kept me cool. In between our deer feeding, we visited a couple of shrines, made a wish, rang the bell and enjoyed the beautiful sunny day.
We headed back sooner than we would have liked because many restaurants were near the train station, so we ate (falafel, yeah!), then headed home, on a rapid express train which almost delivered us back to our doorstep over a half hour quicker than our morning trek. Maximo slept the whole way home, and seriously was fantastic, even with the long train trip on either end.
I've posted a couple of our favorite pictures. The rest are here.