Happy New Year 2021 – Year of the Ox

Travel Review 2020

Ox cart with 2021 sign
Ox cart on Yubushima island (Okinawa/ Japan)

We wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

As always, we conclude the previous year with a review of our travels in 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we had to cancel almost all our private travel plans and most of our work-related travel ceased, too. But overall we did not so bad in 2020, travel-wise.

January: Austria and Norway

Northern Lights in Alta

In January we went to Eastern Tyrol for a cold, snow-filled week of winter sports. We don’t do downhill-skiing, but we took the snow shoes and rented cross-country skis. At the end of January we went to Alta in Norway together with Isa’s mother to see the Northern Lights – and we did see them! Other Norwegian winter activities included reindeer-sledding and dog-sledding.

February: Eritrea and United Arab Emirates

Woman selling spices at a market in Eritrea

Getting the Eritrean visa was a bit complicated (although the embassy staff in Berlin were lovely) and with the news about Corona we worried about not being able to travel there. In fact, Eritrea stopped issuing visas as one of the first countries worldwide, but they still let travellers with valid visas into the country. We spent 12 days there and travelled up and down Eritrea. On the way back we had a one night stopover in Dubai which we visited for the first time.

March: Japan and Germany

Todaiji Temple in Nara
The Todaiji Temple in Nara without tourists

Natascha went to Japan for work in March with one of the last tour groups that started from Germany before the Lockdown. As flights were not suspended altogether between Japan and Germany and most sightseeing spots remained open in Japan, she could finish the tour as planned and came back to Berlin at the end of March.

Brandenburg gate in Berlin

Japan without any tourists had felt eerily empty; but of course the darkened Berlin airport during the German lockdown was even more so. Although it was not required at that time, Natascha self-isolated for two weeks. Isa had already packed her luggage for almost three months of Japan when her trip got cancelled at the last moment.

March to May: Germany

Like everyone else, we stayed put at home, venturing out to the supermarket once a week. From April on we did smaller excursions and cycling trips within the city. In May, when the hotels were allowed to open again, we travelled to Cologne to celebrate the 82nd birthday of Isa’s mother. Being at a restaurant, sitting outside, for the first time after months was amazing!

June/July: Germany and Luxembourg

Cyclist between green fields

With our new bicycles we combined two longer cycling trips along the rivers Spree and Oder in Germany.

Narrow passage on the Mullerthal trail in Luxembourg

In Luxembourg we did a fabulous 5-day trek, the Mullerthal Trail. While we were hiking in Luxemburg the country was (again) declared a Corona high-risk area by the German government and we had to quarantine after our return, although we had only been in the woods meeting almost no-one. A negative PCR-test after a few days released us early from the travel returnees’ quarantine.

And finally, we spent five days on the water, paddling along the river Peene in Northern Germany.

Yellow kayak on the river Peene

August/September: Austria, Germany, and Denmark

In August we went to Austria for two weeks of outdoor climbing and hiking. We especially enjoyed the Gesäuse area and the beautiful city of Graz. After some time in Germany, we had planned to travel to France for another cycling trip. Unfortunately we could not find a way to take the bicycles to the Atlantic coast.

Natascha hiking in the Alps

So instead we cycled to and through Denmark for almost three weeks, exploring steep cliffs, royal hunting grounds, and the cities of Copenhagen and Aarhus on bike. On the way back to Berlin we spent a few days on the island of Sylt.

October: Germany

Hiker between vineyards
Autumn colors on the Romantic road

We stayed in Berlin for the better part of October. Isa visited her mother in Cologne for a few days and we went hiking for four days along the Romantic Road from Tauberbischofsheim to Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany.

November/ December: Germany and Spain

With Germany in light-lockdown again, we decided to travel to the island of Gran Canaria in Spain for some climbing and since the German lock-down got stricter we have extended our stay here twice.

Right now we try not to make plans for 2021 and take the new year step by step – or rather, month by month. We will write a new travel guidebook about the Swiss Wallis region and hope that research there will be possible in summer. We also have bought tickets for the Tokyo Olympics in good faith. And we think there is a good chance that we will do some tour guiding in Japan later this year!

How was your year affected by Covid-19? Did you get to travel or did you stay at home? Let us know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *