We had a quiet start into 2017 in Berlin, finishing the manuscript for the Tyrol guidebook, but two short-trips brought some welcome diversion from work. We went to Munich to visit family and catch up with old friends. Munich is always nice and between all the social life, we could even squeeze in two museums: The superb Egyptian museum and the Lenbachhaus focussing on the art group Blue Rider and contemporary art.
The Egyptian Museum has a wonderful collection presented in a purpose built modern building. We went with a friend who told us that last time she visited she met the magicians Siegfried and Roy there, but when we visited this time, the museum was quite empty. Of particular interest to us was a part of the gold treasure of the Meroitic Queen Amanishakheto – we had seen the other half in Berlin, and her pyramid where it was found in Sudan.
At the end of January we went to Barcelona for a few days – a birthday present for Natascha. It was our first time in the Catalan capital and we did a lot of the tourist must-sees like Gaudi buildings and the Gothic quarter. Since we got interested in Gin recently we sought out „Bobby Gin“, a famous Gin bar, where we tried the Gin Raw from Barcelona, a relatively new but much-hailed fruity designer gin. Another highlight was the Hospital San Pao, a historic hospital with modernisme buildings. It seems winter was a perfect time for a first visit, as it was less touristy, and pre-booking the tickets was not necessary, even for the extremely popular Sagrada Familia.
On 20 February we left Germany for Japan. We spent four weeks on different islands on Okinawa researching and fact-checking for the new edition of the Stefan Loose Japan guidebook. It will already be the third edition and we have been back to the same places for the third time over the last eight years, which is nice but can also be a bit boring sometimes. But we also visited some new islands and places - some of them will make it into the guidebook, others were rather too specialised to include them in the limited space we have in the book.
Near the end of the research trip we spent two days on lovely Aka Island where we went diving once. We had done an Open Water Diving course in Egypt two years ago, which Natascha quit after two days, so she was a bit nervous about being underwater again - but guess what, everything was just right and we both enjoyed our dive. Whale-watching was another thing we had wanted to do for years and finally we got on a tour this year. Yes, we did see big whales, but only small parts of it, the back and once the tail fin. Apart from that we had to wait for hours to even catch a glimpse of the whale.
We will keep you posted on our facebook page about the so-called Japanese „cherry blossom front“ with a lot of pink pictures.
Blog posts of the last three months:
When we visited Isa's mother in Cologne for Christmas we finally did a guided tour of the Cologne Cathedral:
Many people asked about our 15-day trip to Sudan in autumn 2016. Was it difficult to travel independently and did being two female travellers make it more difficult? Is Sudan a safe country? We answered some of these questions in this post:
And finally we also went out in Berlin for vegetarian burgers:
Eating out in Berlin – Veggie burgers at Shiso burger