We wish you all a joyous New Year and a happy 2018!
We are looking back on a year 2017 both busy and sad. Apart from brief trips to Barcelona and Copenhagen at the beginning of the year, we spent several months in Japan updating guide books, but we could also add a short visit to South Korea. In summer, we had planned a 10 day hike along the Peaks of the Balkans but had to return to Germany early to attend to Natascha's sister who had been hospitalised and subsequently, and very quickly, died of ALS. This death also dominated the rest of our year, although we had more writing work to do and Natascha did tour guiding in Central Asia and in Japan in autumn. In October and November we managed to fit in a bit of hiking and climbing in Bavaria, on El Hierro and Tenerife.
Our most exciting professional achievement in 2017 was our new Tyrol Guidebook (Dumont Reise-Taschenbuch Tirol), which was published in the first edition this summer. We also had revised editions published for our Uzbekistan Guidebook (Dumont Reise-Handbuch Usbekistan) and one of our books on Egypt (Dumont Reise-Taschenbuch Die klassische Nilreise).
Countries visited in 2017
Spain – we went in February to visit Barcelona for the first time. Although this was long before the terror and the Catalan independence crisis, Barcelona was not overcrowded as winter is low season. In November we went back to Spain for a second time and spent two weeks climbing on Tenerife and hiking to Spain's westernmost spot on El Hierro.
Japan – while all our trips to Japan this year were work-related (altogether we spent about 4 months in the country) and we revisited lots of places, we did see some new areas including remote areas of Akita (Oga Peninsula and Shirakami Sanchi), the bizarre island of Gunkanjima, and a couple of industrial World Heritage sites.
South Korea – not having been to South Korea for over 10 years, it was amazing to see how tremendously the country has changed. We returned to some places we have been to previously but also visited new sites in Gongju und Buyeo and explored more of the port town of Busan than we had before.
Kosovo – in the end, we only stayed in Pristina for 3 days and visited a 13th century neo-Byzantine church in the vicinity before heading back. We liked the country, though, and hope to go back soon.
Uzbekistan – Natascha went for two weeks doing tour guiding work along the classical route.
Outlook for 2018
Our first trip abroad in January will be to Brussels for a few days of sightseeing with Isa's mother. After that we have booked a flight to Lome (Togo) and are planning to visit Burkina Faso and Benin in January / February. A period of work in Japan will follow. But presumably we will spend a lot of time in Bavaria next year for personal reasons; so we are planning some shorter trips to the Alps and probably to Italy.
And in case you missed some blog posts, here is a list of the last three months.
Eating out vegan in Munich at Max Pett: Food review of a recommendable vegan restaurant in Munich, Germany.
Wieskirche, or: A Baroque stuccoed dream coming true: The Pilgrimage church of Wies, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983, was one of the highlights of our hike in Bavaria.
The colourful church of Gračanica: A visit to a splendid UNESCO World Heritage site in Kosovo.
Spinning silk at the Tomioka Silk Mill: This 19th century silk factory is a fascinating remainder of Japan's hurried industrialisation, and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2014.