I went to Italy and now I’m suddenly not there anymore. The good thing about travelling in Europe is, that you don’t have to plan anything, you can just hop on a bus or train if you feel like and find yourself somewhere else than where you just a moment ago found yourself. But that makes at least me very lost. I’m lost. Totally unbelievably deeply metaphorically lost. My consciousness underlines the fact that I’m on the road. Constantly on the move. It’s exhausting. I’m afraid I can’t do this anymore but I will. Keep. On. Going.
I miss home, my very own home, I miss the home I don’t have. I miss my apartment in Helsinki, where I haven’t lived for the last 4 years. It’s a beautiful apartment. It talked to me, that’s why I bought it back then, somewhen. I miss my own space. Where no one else could come in without knocking on the door. I’m so tired of hostels for example, that I rather sleep under a bridge than go to hostels and listen to people talking about their travels. It’s a boring topic. All travellers should get a life and talk about something else.
To rescue myself from drowning in the swamp of being lost exhausted and miserable I’m first of all avoiding big cities this week. Kind of. Am staying in the countryside close by to Ljubljana. First day here I just rested. Second day, yesterday to be exact, went hiking in the mountains, climbed up to 1600 meters (above that is too much snow to hike now, maybe gets better in one-two weeks) and walked around the famous Lake Bled. And was happy to be there, invited by my very nice and helpful Slovenian Airbnb-host. Today I’ve read through my stupid novel script. It’s not stupid, actually, it’s quite promising, but I can call it stupid if I want to. I also slept today. And went running up and down the hills, which was good, oh so good, I feel fit. Close to this house there’s a forest and maybe thousand kilometers of paths to run. Got lost in the forest. Met a dead deer. And a living one. And thought about Günter Grass who died today. He was something. R.I.P.
But what about Italy. Italy is now history. I love Italy. Wanna buy a house there and start running a residency for writers and artists. It’s a dream that is, actually, realistic. So maybe one day it really happens. That I buy a house in Italy and offer space to work for fellow writers. Anyways I wasn’t planning on staying this time in Italy for long – and as I visited only very touristic places, I couldn’t have afforded to stay there longer. So now ooops I’m in Slovenia – for the first time of my life. First impression: beautiful. A country for my taste. I love mountains, and now I’m surrounded by them. And as in Italy people are friendly. Very. Nice.
But I’m also desperate. Can’t write; I’m jealoust to myself. Some months ago, even some weeks or days ago, I could still write, and I’ve read my diary and notebook and it’s frustrating. I was brilliant some time ago. But now: lost the touch. Can only write stupid things anymore. Feels like I lost my brain (did I ever have one). But lately I’ve been to too many places and am overwhelmed by everything I’ve seen, by the people I’ve met, by books I’ve read, by scenery, art, feelings. Can’t write anymore. Can’t describe what I’ve seen or been through. That’s frustrating.
Not only that but I’ve come to realize that my boyfriend means to me much more than these places I see. Even more than the mountains. But he’s far and I’m far. So I feel down. Why did I meet him just before starting my travels. I’m tired and lonely. I don’t wanna be tired and lonely. I wanna be full of energy and far from being lonely. I’d like to travel with him. I’m a woman in disharmony (and having periods as well, in case you didn’t notice yet!). That kind of women are not beautiful. I’m an ugly writer on the road, who can’t even write anymore, and I’m crumpy and in very beautiful country and just complaining. Should stop at least complaining. I do. Stop. I’m not complaining. Just expressing myself. I love my life. I love mountains.
I love writing. I love. Only love.
Everything is okay and the rest will be alright. Things always get better. I’m healthy. And in less than a month I’m going to Iceland to my boyfriend’s for some time. In some days I get feedback from my editor – first I should be brave enough to send the text to her. I somehow hope she would say: don’t go that road. But I also wish she would say: keep on going, keep on writing. It’s the first time for this novel that I’m working on to get feedback. First time to show it to anyone. I could slap myself with the text. It’s at the same time good and bad. I’m at the same time good and bad.
You see: being a writer is horrible. If you are dreaming of becoming a writer STOP. Stop before it’s too late. It’s a horrible profession. It sucks all the energy out of you, sometimes it sucks all the hope and future out of you, and it definitely sucks. In general. And if you write good stuff, if you manage to do well, you get so super high. You get drunk. The hangover is worse than any hangover you’ve ever had. You could die. You feel like you could die. And you die if it’s very good book but no one reads it. I feel like no one is reading my last novel. It’s a sad thought. But as I said things will be alright (and I see that my book is being read according to Finnish libraries).
Maybe tomorrow I can write again. Maybe in a week, maybe in a month. One day I can. And if not, then not, what’s the big deal, then I just find another profession. Or start running the residency. In Italy. As a nature-lover and mountain-mistress I have to gather my thoughts. And memories. Italy, this time. I have to praise the mountains. Force you as a reader to get excited. Make you book a ticket to the mountains. Make you sweat. Climb up. Because you see: once you work your way on top the world looks like a fairytale. Because last week I hiked 4 days out of seven, I’m dedicating this post to mountains. Mountains, mountains. My cry echoes there. In the mountains. In the mountains I’m a person. I’m in harmony in the mountains, yesterday everything was okay up in the mountains.
In Italy I visited Florence, Livorno and Pisa before going to Bologna for the Children Book Fair. In those cities I basically walked around like no tomorrow. After Bologna book fair I was lucky enough to have couple of days without any plans with my boyfriend. We took a bus to Dozza, which is a very small and pretty little village not too far from Bologna. There the walls of the houses were full of paintings. From Dozza we hiked just somewhere where our feet lead us. We ended up in a random house of a family, and those nice people adviced us to keep on walking after offering us water to drink. So we did. It was so beautiful that I could scream. Even now, a week after being there I could scream. My soul sings in surroundings like that. I’m full of feelings. Sometimes I think I’m gonna die out of all these feelings. Good and bad ones.
After my boyfriend left home and me alone (thank you very much!) I started going up and down. The mountains. Before that I didn’t have a clue of where to go next. I spent a whole day crying. I was even more tired than now, sad and lost in Bologna, and it was very cold. But in the end I found a place to go (see: things happen to turn alright!). Cinque terre had been on my mind ever since I knew I’d be going to Italy, and finally I found an affordable place to stay there. So on Monday last week I hopped on a local train that took me from Bologna to La Spezia. From La Spezia (btw I love the name of that town for some reason) I got to Biassa, a tiny pretty village in the mountains not too far from Riomaggiore in Cinque terre. And then it all started. My week in the mountains. My body getting exhausted.
My mind and soul taking a rest (not anymore, though, I’m so..lost as I said before and I miss people, not only boyfriend, I miss my nephew, my sister, my family, my best friends in Finland my girls in Munich I miss my soul sister in South Africa and I miss things like…home).
So now I tell you what. I recommend you highly the next hiking routes:
1. Riomaggiore – Monterosso al Mare
Start early, especially if you’re doing this in the summer time – it can get really hot AND there is lot of traffic between Monterosso al Mare and Vernazza. The whole route would take you a whole day – you can also do just parts and hop on a train in every village. Longest hike is between Corniglia and Vernazza, takes about 3-4 hours (I skipped that part and took a train, which I regret; would have rather taken the train between Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare, cause I don’t like overcrowded routes and that one was very crowded cause it’s said to be the most beautiful route BUT I disagree on that!). If you wanna go easy, go along the Via del Amore (right now it’s closed – don’t know when they open it again!) from Riomaggiore to Vernazza or just to Manarola. I don’t recommend going WITH KIDS on any route that goes up the mountain. Was a big shocked by the fact how many parents dragged young kids (I definitely wouldn’t take kids under 9 with) along up and down the demanding, partly dangerous routes. You have to pay 7,5 euros to walk from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare or vice versa. If I’d known you don’t have to pay for other routes, I definitely would have skipped that and walked all the other paths.
2. Biassa (or Riomaggiore) – Porte Ventera
This route is one of the most beautiful in the whole Cinque terre area. Even more beautiful than the „famous“ route between Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. It’s quite easy but at some points dangerous. It’s a breathtaking route. It’s amazing and romantic and wonderful. And if you get lost, like I did, it gets very dangerous, but if you are lucky like I was, you stay alive and in the end find the right way again.
3. Biassa – Riomaggiore – Biassa
Very easy route – if you are fit enough to hike up and down a mountain. And beautiful, as all the routes in Cinque terre. This was my cooling down route, the last hike in Italy, took about 1,5 hours to go from Biassa to Riomaggiore and the same back, with reading breaks. Especially in the garden of a church on the way to and from Riomaggiore there’s great place to read a book or write stuff. I did both. Enjoyed the scenery. And was alone in the whole world.
And now I drink tea and fill myself up with chocolate and read my stupid thing that is going to be a novel in 1,5 years, at least that’s what my publisher expects. I could write about hiking in Slovenia as well but no, I won’t. I’ll be going to Croatia on Friday, by the way. For a while. Never been to Croatia. Interesting to see, how it will be. Greetings from crumpy me. Miss you all and you whom I don’t know I don’t miss because I don’t know what to miss about you.