Nakatsue Village in the Mountains near Hita on Kyushu

One might wonder how we ended up in a small village high up in the mountains (600 m above sea level). Well, as a volunteer at the Kokusai Center in Kitakyushu, I came to know one of the city employees.

She is retired now and lives with her husband in a log cabin in Nakatsue. With her help, we secured a fairly inexpensive overnight deal in a Minpaku. Our charge was 3000 Yen per person (about 30 euro per person).

What is a Minpaku you might ask. Definition of Minpaku taken from Kyushu Educational Travel Net:

This Minpaku experience, which allows visitors to experience rural culture as typified by local cuisine, beautiful scenery and abundant nature, has been becoming popular. In Kagoshima Prefecture, a NPO organization coordinates more than 700 individual homes.

Staying in a minpaku is the cheapest form of accommodation, next is the Minshuku, topped by a Ryokan in convenience and comfort.

With our Minpaku arrangement, we had a whole log cabin to ourselves, it came without breakfast (instant coffee and tea were available), and it was just great!

Minpaku log cabin

For some reason, I did not take any photos on the inside. Our minpaku was fully equipped with heaters, flat screen TV, and all the amenities one could ask for.

Come warmly dressed though as these arrangements high up in the mountains can be rather cold even in April. The thermometer read – 1°C at 10 p.m.

Mountains of Hita, Oita-ken

On my next trip to Kyushu, I will book a Minpaku again.

Overnight on a Former Farm in Franconia

Although we have family in Franconia, it is not always possible to spend the night at a sibling’s place. Once in a while we have to rent a room or an apartment. For our last trip there, we decided to rent a vacation apartment in my hometown village Hambach (population: 2700), a borough of Dittelbrunn.

Zum Hühnernest, a former chicken farm, has been turned into a big family business. The owners’ grown up children have expanded its lines of service by adding accommodations (rooms and apartment), a guesthouse, a cosmetic studio, a nail studio, horseback riding, horse-drawn carriage rides, horseback riding camps, farm animals, a farmer’s market, etc.

We checked in on Saturday afternoon and found a very spacious apartment and comfortable beds to keep us warm at night.

Pension "Zum Hühnernest" in Hambach/borough of Dittelbrunn

But… when we came back late at night, we found the guesthouse totally locked up. We had forgotten to ask how to get in during after-hours.

It took about 10 minutes and a bit of slow panic crept in, before my husband located a door by going around the place on three sides, entering a former chicken coop, climbing an outdoor stairway, to reach a veranda door leading to the inside of the building.

My goodness, we made it in! With relief, we settled down for a good night’s sleep.

Pension "Zum Hühnernest"

Visit the Gasthaus und Pension Zum Hühnernest for more information. Recommendable, besides the key episode!

Streets of Oberursel

Yesterday afternoon, our son was approached by a stranger asking for directions around the Rosengärtchen. This is often the case as the numbering system around here is chaotic and without German logic, if there ever was any ( More about that from the NY Times‘ article Delusions of German Logic).

Nevertheless, a few words were exchanged in English and our son was amused to learn that this stranger from Australia knew my blog. Based on one of my posts about Accommodations in and around Oberursel, he had taken my recommendation and booked himself into the Beethoven Bed & Breakfast.

Well, this has been said a million times, I know. But it is a small world, especially with the help of the internet.

Oberursel forest directions

To the Australian visitor: Enjoy your visit to Oberursel!

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