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Japan The Road

Charming Surprise of the Seto Inland Sea – Tomonoura

The spring sunshine made our faces warm and smiling when we sat in the port of the charming Tomonoura. Wooden fishing boats kept the otherwise silent waterfront busy and for a long time, enjoying a local Fukuyama Cola, we watched them come and go. Above us, groups of eagles and seagulls had their own performance nosediving into the water with a hope of catching the fish. On a pier the elegant cranes walked calmly – for a moment it seemed that there were more birds than people in this photogenic old port town!

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The Road

Visiting International Symbol of Peace – Hiroshima City

When we walked along the streets of Hiroshima our attention was drawn to the contrast between the modern, busy city and some old buildings which were left here and there. The aged houses stood still like silent witnesses, the memories of the tragedy that the city faced 75 years ago. It was hard to imagine that once the nuclear bomb was dropped here killing over 100k people instantly scattering down the city to the ground. 

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The Road

Blessing on the Mountain

We were around 180 km east from the city of Minusinsk where Vissarion gave the first public speech in 1991. Finally the only van on the dirt road stopped – yet again for some time saving us from clouds of mosquitoes and the possibility of a close encounter with a bear. We jumped in the back of UAZ van as if it was our home – it’s pretty common automobile in Central Asia. The driver and his friend were not the followers, two fishermen, already semi drunk, knew little of the community at the end of the road, deep in the Siberian forest. Slowly moving we were getting closer and closer to the place which was a long time pinned on our travel map. Suddenly on the dirt road curve, we spotted an older bearded man walking towards the opposite direction – stick in his hand and a clothes in shades of white and gray made him quite noticeable. “Ha, here you go – a wizard” grunted the driver scratching his arm through a camo shirt. After a few minutes he stopped the machine, they packed up their fishing gear and went somewhere into the forest, we still had 30 minutes walk to do. Our faces were more sweaty than we expected once we got to the wooden guard post. After explaining our story in half-Russian the kind man inside made some calls on the radio. Soon we were greeted and warmly welcomed by the members of the Mountain community.

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Japan The Road

Meeting with the Famous Monkeys in Nagano

Japanese macaques, locally known as the snow monkeys, are the most northern-living monkeys in the world. In the Jigokudani Monkey Park, located in the forests in Yamanouchi, we could admire these beautiful primates relaxing in a hot spring! Through the ages macaques have inhabited the area, but as a result of the construction of holiday resorts and deforestation, their habitat began to shrink and in 1964 the park was founded to protect them from harm. The creator Sogo Hara, with the help of other locals, started to leave apples in the valley and soon the macaques started to stick around while at the same time using the convenience of the natural hot springs!

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Japan The Road

Hot Springs and the Snow in Central Hokkaido

Left by a driver, we scanned the parking area. It’s not easy to exit the highway without a car in Hokkaido. Tall, endless fence is there for a reason – we observed a lot of fauna everywhere, both from roads and railway. The crossing attempt was interrupted by a station worker, he called us and opened the only gate. After a short walk we reached our airbnb in a village of Hagino, what a place it was! Except for a traditional style bedroom, there was a real hot spring in the… bathroom! We spent quite some time in it, surrounded by steam, listening to the burbling sound of the stream. Thermal water is common in this area and people use it mainly for the house heating. Our next destination is very much connected to this glorious land’s feature.

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The Road

A Little Scary Siberian Night Ride

“If there would be a dead human body back in the trunk, would that be a problem for you?” Somehow no one asked us that question before. The night was freezing, around us only wild forest inhabited by siberian tigers and brown bears. Looking into the darkness through the van window, we decided that we’re comfy inside, even if we’re accompanied by a surprise motionless passenger somewhere in the back…

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The Road

Days of Heaven at Secret Kazakh Sibinskie Lakes

We had to explain ourselves maybe to 10 drivers. Once you’re in Eastern Kazakhstan and you wish to have a swim in the lake, it better be Alakol Lake. Otherwise locals will give you a hard time describing its beauty and telling you how much you’re going to miss. It might be so, but if we would not reach other, planned by us, destination – Sibinskie Lakes, we would miss a real paradise! 

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South Korea The Road

SPA Heaven out of the Blue – Jimjilbang

Our favorite accommodation on the road is our tent – bought once and sleep anywhere for free forever after. Not everywhere though it was used, oftentimes because of the low temperature or just the crave for better comfort and shower. In South Korea guesthouses are not so cheap and although couchsurfing worked well, there’s not that many hosts outside of the capital city. Luckily this beautiful country has another very special kind of sleep to offer. Jimjilbang is a type of a public bathhouse, which is a rather spacious building with sex segregated hot tubs of various kinds, sauna, salt room and showers. In other unisex rooms there are Korean traditional kiln saunas, snack room (sikhye and smoked egg, mmm…), PC room, TVs and, yes, area for sleeping.

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The Road

Erdene Zuu – Mongolia’s oldest buddhist monastery that survived centuries of persecution

The scorching sun woke us up early in the morning near Kharkhorin town along the river of Orkhon. We ran quickly to cool our bodies in the water and enjoyed its coolness. Our camping place was on a wide steppe and only a few trees and the rugged sandstone wall, that silenced sounds of the adjacent highway, gave us a shadow. After a closer look it seemed that the place was kind of an animal burial ground… here and there bodies of birds, a ram’s skull in a preserved state and horse’s  leg chopped off with all its flesh! We didn’t have time to process everything we saw because soon, after walking to the main road, a car filled with people stopped next to us. There was no common language, but after saying the name of the destination and exchanging smiles, as always,we were offered a ride.

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