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LP Pathfinders: prime posts from February 2018

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Scenic traditional post town in Japan from Edo period. Famous Nakasendo trail goes between Magome and Tsumago towns © Milosz Maslanka / Shutterstock

Take a stroll along the scenic Nakasendo Trail in this month’s blog round-up © Milosz Maslanka / Shutterstock

Spectacularly shedding its reputation as something of a sleepy month, this February bombarded us with tales of adventure from the globetrotting Pathfinders community. Thanks to them, we’ve vicariously walked ancient trails in Japan, relived epic battles in Scotland and even searched for erotic artwork in Pompeii.

Selecting our favourite posts is never easy, but here are our top five from February.

Three days of debauchery at the Aalst Carnaval – Lorelei Frey

A little-known carnival featuring monstrous, satirical effigies of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un? Count us in. Lorelei’s report on Belgium’s Aalst Carnaval strikes a balance between humour and respect, noting the frivolity of the spectacle while also taking care to acknowledge its history – the parade dates back to 1851 – and significance to local people. Excellent imagery also helps bring this experience to life.

Nakasendo Trail (following ancient footsteps in Japan) – Paul Farrugia

While wanderlust-fuelled thoughts of modern Japan likely conjure images of Tokyo’s neon skyline, arguably the country’s most rewarding travel experiences lie in its natural landscapes. In this post, Paul details his hike along the Nakasendo Trail, an ancient walking route that linked Kyoto to then capital Edo (modern-day Tokyo). The narrator illustrates his journey with images of wooden villages, steaming onsens and woodland scenery, which left us ready to strap on our hiking boots.

Understanding turbulence: a pilot explains – Kristin Reinhard

Falling somewhere between poor wi-fi and sweaty bus journeys on the list of traveller irks, turbulence is an aspect of long-distance travel we all endure, but what exactly is it? In this post Kristin poses flight-related queries to a senior Swiss Airlines pilot. Opting for an engaging Q&A format and incorporating expert insight, the article makes for essential reading for anyone who starts to sweat as the seatbelt sign is switched on.

Beyond Braveheart: uncovering the real battle of Stirling Bridge – Christophe Gaillard

Simultaneously exploring a picturesque part of central Scotland and correcting Hollywood inaccuracies (in this case, Mel Gibson’s Braveheart), Chris does a great job of bringing a compelling historical event to life while painting a vivid portrait of the city of Stirling, and explaining what it offers to modern-day travellers. Handy illustrations, striking imagery of cliff-edge castles and informative advice on how to reach the medieval market town makes this blog post a must-read.

The erotic side of Pompeii – Ryazan Tristram

Examining a popular tourist site from a fresh perspective is no easy feat (especially one that’s over 2000 years old), but Ryazan’s article delving into Pompeii’s erotic heritage (including the use of concealed phallic symbols to point the way to the nearest brothel) makes for an entertaining read. Yes, it’s a little lewd, but the post offers an insight into how liberal Roman society was, providing a more evocative image of life in this ill-fated city than its weathered ruins.

RUNNERS-UP

  • Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival – Jessica Palmer
  • My viewpoint on the working animals at Petra – Bethan Hodges
  • Eat, pray, sleep: yoga teacher training in Rishikesh – Rob Lendon

Find out what else the Lonely Planet Pathfinders are up to (or sign up yourself!) by checking out the Travel Bloggers: your stories forum on Thorn Tree.