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Hiking

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When I took a closer look at the map, a relatively big island caught my eye: it does not only work as a barrier between the Gulf and the open Pacific, but it is also, appropriately, called Great Barrier Island. And apparently, there is also a hiking trail. The Aotea Track is a 25 km long trail that loops around the island’s rugged interior and climbs up to the island’s highest peak, Mount Hobson/Hirakimata (627 m). After doing some further research on the island, I learned that it lies about 100 km northeast of Auckland, is about the same size as Auckland, but only has a bit more than 1000 inhabitants (Auckland, on the contrary, has over 1.6 Mio inhabitants). Life on the island is often described as being “life in New Zealand many decades back “.

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Yes, indeed – plural! Many people escape the cold winter weather in Europe and fly to one of the Canary Islands for a vacation and do some day hikes in fantastic weather. But we decided to escape the cold and miserable winter weather, especially in Germany, and hike the length of the GR131 hiking trail that covers almost all of the Canary Islands. Ever heard of these islands? They are a region of Spain, that politically and economically belongs to Europe but is only about 60 miles off the western coast of the African continent.

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Endlich! … Von der Elbe herauf kommt eine kühle Brise, die den Schweiß der letzten Stunden auf meiner Stirn trocknet. Die Steine der Sächsischen Schweiz hatten viel Energie und Kraft gekostet. Die Sonne, die heute heiß und unerbittlich vom Himmel brannte, hatte in der baumlosen Landschaft zwischen den kuriosen Steinsäulen und -plateaus leichtes Spiel.

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Bye bye Mendoza, bye bye Argentina. I am leaving South America by hopping from country to country, airport to airport, slowly making my way north – can’t think of ever having had such long and circuitous journey to a destination: Mendoza, Santiago de Chile, Lima, Mexico City, Los Cabos, and eventually Los Angeles on the way back to the East Coast where I’ll fly out to two days later. 

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