This post will be a brief review of the last three months, giving you a chance to catch up even if you missed some blog posts. Both of us were working as tour guides through most of October. Natascha's long Pamir tour, with 24 days the longest she has ever guided, stretched from September into the beginning of October.
Back in Berlin she had only five days to clear the backlog, wash some laundry and prepare the next trip to Japan. Thanks to a wonderful group and a fantastic, very relaxed itinerary it turned out being one of the most enjoyable tours she has led. Isa also spent most of October with tour guiding work in Japan on a quite unusual trip leading from the far north in Hokkaido to Kyushu in the South, covering all of the four main islands in Japan.
For November we had planned a hiking trip in Palestine, for which we had booked a flight to Tel Aviv. Due to the political turmoil and violent outbreaks between Israelis and Palestinians (and after a lot of talking with different people) we cancelled our plans and forfeited the flight (the fourth flight in three years, but we still haven't got used to it).
Not wanting to buy another plane ticket, we were looking for a destination accessible by bus or train from Berlin and came up with Lithuania, which can be reached conveniently (!) by an 18 hour overnight bus ride. In the end we were very, very happy with this decision: Lithuania turned out as a great and in our opinion underrated travel destination.
December finally brought an extended weekend in Lienz / East Tyrol to see the spooky Krampus rally there. We will research and write a guidebook about Tyrol next summer and this was part of the preliminary research.
And as always we were working on our different guide book projects and other writing work, among them a fact check for the German edition of the National Geographic Traveller guide book "Japan" that will be published next spring. As it gets more and more difficult to publish (i.e. getting paid for) articles in newspapers and magazines we were especially delighted that the Austrian Newspaper Presse Wien published an article about Miyajima in Japan by us in October.
Whenever we are at home in Berlin, we also meet friends, try new restaurants, go to movies and exhibitions. We finally made it to the new permanent light installation of James Turrell at the Dorotheenstadt Cemetery and we went to see an extraordinary Cindy Sherman photo exhibition (until April 2016, do go!).
Summary of the last three months of blogging on WESTWARDS:
As Natascha visited with her tour group we thought we might bring you a post about one of the few UNESCO sights in that beautiful country.
Isa went to some off-the-beaten-track places with her last group.
- Moss balls in Hokkaido's clear lakes – the extraordinary marimo algae in Japan
- Bears and other animals in the Shiretoko National park on Hokkaido (UNESCO)
- Naoshima – an artsy island in Japan's Inland Sea
This post was planned as a prelude to our trip to the Middle East that did not take place eventually.
We spent two weeks travelling this underrated country in November
- Kernave – five steep hill forts near the Neris river (UNESCO)
- Vilnius, a captivating Baltic capital city (UNESCO)
- Wonderful November days on the Curonian Spit (UNESCO)
- Some thoughts about travelling in Lithuania for two weeks
Raving about lesser known cities and countries in Eastern Europe we remembered another pretty town we have visited a few years ago.
- The German Ministry of Finance – a building full of surprises (normally closed to the public; we visited during the annual open day)
- Eating out vegan in Berlin - „Let it Be“ - Try it out!