Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Snow, Beer and Fun....

Well we just got back from vacation.  It was our first trip off island to another island in Japan.  We went for 4 days up to the island of Hokkaido.  More notably we went to Sapporo, known for their beer, chocolate, and snow and ice festival.  A few months back I was looking into taking a family vacation.  We hadn’t really been on one since we lived in WA.  Sure we went to visit my parents, went to visit his parents but that’s not really a vacation for me.  We looked at a few places we wanted to go to, but decided on Sapporo because of the snow and ice festival.  This festival is no joke, the pictures we saw online did no justice to these sculptures, they were amazing!  We had an incredible time, so glad we choose to go.  Love making memories with my family!!
To get to Sapporo, there was some major traveling involved.  Well it wasn’t so bad, but when you are 5 months pregnant and have a toddler in tow it wasn’t the easiest.  We took two planes, one about 2 hours and the second an hour, then an hour and a half shuttle to our hotel.  Surprisingly Amelia did very well, couldn’t be happier with her.  I know it was a long day for her.  Once we get there it was in the afternoon, it was COLD.  I knew it was going to be cold, but I wasn’t really prepared for it.  When we got there we just decided to walk around and see the city.  Our hotel was in the shopping and restaurant district.  This was the first time we went on a trip without Amelia’s stroller and she did really well walking.  Morgan had to carry her every once in awhile, but for the most part she did fab.  The streets were so busy.  There were a ton of people all over the place, probably there for the same reason we were. I read that about 2 million people go a year to this thing.  It was really crazy to see some of the local women!  It was 9 degrees out and they would be wearing shorts or skirts with boots and tights.  Can you believe it?  There was also snow and ice all over and they would walk around in their 5 inch boots.  I was in awe…more props to them.  Anyway we decided to just take in the sites and grab a bite and rest up for the night.  With the long day of travel and full bellies we were spent.  We wanted to be all rested for the day after.
The second day we had a lot to do.  We planned to go to the Tsudome Dome.  It was probably 20 min cab ride from our hotel.  They closed off the parking lot for all sorts of snow activities.  There were snow mobile rides, slides made of snow and ice, snow sculptures, snow land for the kids and inside had games and food.  We had such a blast.  I was a little sad that we hadn’t prepared better clothes for Amelia.  I didn’t know this place existed.  I just thought we were going to look at sculptures, we ended up finding out about this place down in our hotel lobby.  Well all the other kids and adults were dressed to play in the snow, we were not.  Thankfully Amelia had fleece lined pants, but they weren’t water proof.  That really didn’t stop her, the only thing that held her back was me taking her inside the dome every so often so she could warm back up.  The whole time we were there she was sliding, riding behind the snow mobile, or playing in the snow.  I was freezing but warmed up quickly when I saw the gigantic smile on her face.  Thankfully Morgan did most of the dirty work, he loves being able to be a kid.  Needless to say, we all had a great time and by the time we headed back Amelia passed out on my lap.

After a good nap we went to go to see the snow sculptures and grab some dinner at the festival.  We decided to go at night, because we heard that the lighting made them look so much more incredible.  They were so awesome.  They were huge.  They were magnificent.  They really were all pieces of art.  There were about 12 huge sculptures and a bunch of smaller ones.  We walked the festival for a couple hours and drank hot chocolate and bought treats from local vendors.  I would have to say my fave was the Mickey Mouse sculpture, I think I’m being bias because of Amelia.  I know she liked that one too.  We got to see all of them, even though it was freezing and towards the end Amelia and I were complaining.  For the last 20 mins the snow really started coming down and it was hard to see and walk.  Definitely a fun night activity.
On our last full day there we decided to go to the notorious Sapporo Beer Factory Museum.  This place looked like something Sheppard Ferry drew up.  It was a very cool looking building.  The Sapporo Beer factory was Japan’s first beer factory ever.  The museum showed a bunch of old ads, old beers, old pictures and of course they had beer tasting.  All of the information was in Kanji so we couldn’t read any of it, but there were tour guides all over the place and they were helpful.  A lot of the stuff was cool enough just to look at.   At the end of the museum Morgan did some beer tasting.  He tasted 4 in all, one was actually made of oyster broth, he didn’t like that one.  He enjoyed the others, but Orion remains his favorite Japanese beer.  I bought some gifts for our friends and some souvenirs for us, so we can always remember the beer factory.  That night we actually went back to eat at their restaurant.  I read on a lot of blogs that it was delish, they were all right.  We ordered a variety of food.  Morgan’s favorite item was the pickled herring.  I enjoyed the crab fried rice.  We ate to our hearts content and we didn’t even finish it all!  It was good while it lasted.
That really concluded our trip to Sapporo.  The rest of the night we packed and in the morning we left. We had a great time and memories for a lifetime.  I don’t know if we will ever be back, but we definitely have recommended to our friends and family if they ever get the chance to go visit.


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