If I were to pick a favorite place visited during our time in Kyoto, I would choose Kiyomizudera (清水寺) and the infamous Gion District - which we visited during the second part of our journey.
I don't know why it was my favorite.
Maybe Kiyomizudera made the list because of it's immense size and intricacy. Maybe it stuck out in my memory because of it's location in the mountains or it's stunning view, overlooking Kyoto.
Perhaps it was the tradition - the ancient ways that were almost palpable in the air.
There were fountains of good luck, and pavilions of wishes.
There was a "Love Temple", and there were even monks-in-training...begging for money.
I was constantly struck by such a modern peoples' pursuit of aged tradition.
It's a very Japanese concept, you know - always progressing forward at record speed while keeping the heart's eye on the ways of old - and I'm kind of intrigued by it.
It has me constantly surprised and absorbing every distinct detail.
I'm going to miss that about Japan.
Gion followed the same theme.
Despite the fact that there was a prominent Starbucks a few hundred yards from the gates of Gion, and there were cars clunking over the cobblestone streets, there was an innate cloud of mysterious customs and culture that surrounded the place.
We strolled quietly, taking in all the nuances and tiny characteristics of the District.
Once again, I felt like I stepped back in time.
And despite the fact that I did NOT get to see a real live Geisha,
I think I'm more than satisfied with my quiet stroll down Gion Dori.
It was perfectly fitting.
Because sometimes, the most is absorbed by quietly captivating the subdued rather than boisterously racing for the most obtrusive attraction.
So that's what we did.
And once again, I am so very overwhelmingly thankful for the time I've had here - learning to quietly absorb.
It's caused me to grow, I think.
And for that, I hold nothing but gratitude.
Because growth is such a good thing.
So here's to more intriguing moments.
Here's to more strolling and storytelling...more observing and learning.
Here's to more growing.