Last year's spooky coincidence was that I met up with three people I know from Wellington, when I was on my travels and in London. Ok, well two of the meetings were pre-arranged and the third was a chance encounter.
This year, it was Japan that provided friendly faces from New Zealand. In Shizuoka I was able to have coffee with a former work colleague during a break in my train journey to Tokyo. Victoria is teaching on a special programme in Japan for a year and having some interesting experiences. She is a traveller, like me, and is always thinking about her next adventure :-) It's a shame I didn't think to get my camera out and take a photo.
In Tokyo itself, I had a delicious evening meal with no less than two of the people I've studied German with over the past couple of years and the partner of one of them. Peter (and his other half Charlotte) are also now in Europe. They'd stopped in Japan for a couple of nights on the way. Hiroko, who is Japanese but lives in Wellington, selected the restaurant for our meal in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo. She was very helpful to me in providing a lot of information and advice about Japan. The best tip of all being that I should pre-purchase a Japan Rail Pass for travelling around the country. It was a great saving on what would have been the total sum of individual fares.
Now I'm in Spain, where I will head south tomorrow for the wedding of two lovely friends from Scotland. You'll hear more about that in the coming days. I'm also spending some time with a dear friend here in Madrid, which is something of a base for jaunts within Europe... to Germany, Portugal, Bulgaria and of course the UK.
It means a lot to me, to be able to spend quality time with friends during my travels. I look forward to the later part of this trip when I will be joined in India by one good friend from Wellington, and in South East Asia by another.