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The Road

The Road

Abandoned Railway in the Mountains – Miyanue Line Trail and Shuiyang Forest

Over 70 percent of Taiwan is mountainous and it’s full of incredible hiking trails. As you guys know we are fans of the great outdoors and couldn’t wait to explore those natural wonders! Already back in Finland one special hike was in our minds; the trail that follows the abandoned Mianyue Railway Line, zigzagging in the mountains in southern Taiwan’s Chiayi county. It used to be a branch line of the Alishan Railway, and was originally built in 1915 by the Japanese Colonial Government for transporting logs. The length of the line was 9.2 km reaching an altitude 2000 m above and it was known for its spectacular mountainous views. After several typhoons and the 921 Earthquake in 1999 the line collapsed and was closed down. Over the time it became a hiking route with its numerous elevated bridges and nowadays more and more people are visiting the area.  

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The Road

Sheki – Our First Love in Azerbaijan

Sheki was one of the first cities on our way through Azerbaijan and quickly we learned that hitchhiking there on its well paved roads worked very well. Locals were curious to see travellers and they wanted to chat with us, even for a short moment. Soon we had to refuse politely from all the offerings that the drivers wanted to share with us! The same hospitality astounded us at our couchsurfing host Jalal’s home. He and his lovely parents welcomed us to stay in their countryside house in a village near Sheki. Since our arrival the table was full of food. We didn’t have words to thank for all the delicious traditional meals, like dolma, dogva and sweet halva (just to mention a few!), that we ate during our stay. Everything was home-made: the cheese, bread, vegetables and fruits from their garden, milk from their cows…we could also learn how to make sugar!  

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The Road

Lovely time in Autumn City – Our Stay in Seoul

It’s been a long time without a post here, but our time in Hong Kong is quite intense! Anyway, today another megacity came back to our minds, the capital of South Korea – Seoul. Hitchhiking back there from the rural side of the country, we were hit with the noise, crowds and the city lights. Fortunately, we made the most of the couchsurfing service before it changed its policies and let down the majority of their users recently… Yet again we were lucky to enjoy our stay in quite a place! The couchsurfing host named Bibi offered us the flat of her friend who was away, the whole place for us, for free and for as long as we want it, amazing!

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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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