Happy Memories

Waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes

Waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes

Why are so many romantic novels based in Italy (like Tuscany) or the countryside of France or so on. Why not in Croatia? Why is there in general not so much talk about the beauty of Croatia, and if there is, it’s mostly praising the seaside? Why didn’t I ever before go to that country – though I have been dreaming of that, but only going to the beaches and islands. Never did it cross my mind to go to Zagreb nor the countryside of Croatia.

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But luckily I ended up going there. I spent two weeks in Zagreb, which is a lovely, lively green city, and had much to offer. On (only) one day I paid a visit to the countryside. Next time (there WILL be next time, if it’s up to me!) I’ll definitely rent a house from somewhere close to Plitvice Lakes, in some village which the river Korana flows through, and just stay there and write and praise the beauty of the area.

IMG_20150425_173636Because it is so beautiful that you can’t close your eyes. It’s like being in a fairy tale (last few months I’ve managed to be in so many breathtaking places that I guess my whole life has been a dream). It’s chrystal clear water, waterfalls, deep green forests, hills and rolling landscape, peace (if you avoid going there during the high season – I actually would NOT even think of going there in the high season at all; can imagine it would be wayyyyyy too crowded). There’s everything that romantic novels are about. It’s everything that love could be about.

So. If you have no idea of where to head next, concider Croatia. But avoid it from May to August. I was lucky enough to be there in April. From Zagreb you reach the nature park of Plitvice in about 2,5 hours by bus – and a return ticket costs only about 14 euros (NOTICE: you might wanna concider going there on your own. It’s easy and cheap. I saw lot of tourists groups down there and felt so good being free, NOT forced to walk around in a group and paying way too much for the trip). Additionally you have to pay a fee to enter the amazing lake and waterfall area, but it’s all worth it. I recommend to walk the longest route, if you are fit enough (it’s a very easy hike, takes about 6 hours with breaks and moments of admiring the scenery). When I was there the longest route was partly closed but I’m stubborn, so I just went through the „gates“ (there are no gates, just signs saying do not cross). At one point had to take off my shoes and walk about 5 meters through the water. I actually feel a bit bad – it’s forbidden to swim there, so I guess it’s also forbidden to walk in the water.

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In general my picture of Croatia has changed. I find it very interesting country. And not at all because of the paradise islands or beaches (which I haven’t even seen yet), but because of the beauty and friendly atmosphere. Go go, and say ho ho! I wanted to go from Croatia to Bosnia Herzegovna, but my nose decided to point at my old hometown and the city of my heart: Munich. Paying only 29 euros for a bus ticket I found myself sitting on a bus heading from Zagreb to Munich. In Munich it was freezing cold and rainy, but no question that it was more than worth it of going there. Managed to surprise ALL my friends by appearing in front of them one night. It was a never-will-I-forget-this-moment. Spent four lovely days in Munich meeting most (but unfortunately not all, sorry, next time!) my dear people and walking around the city and even seeing the kids from the kindergarten where I used to work..

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I’m stuffed with good memories. Right now very happy in Iceland. Greetings to all!

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Some Deep & Tired Thoughts

Greetings from Croatia. Have been hanging around and chilling in Zagreb for a week now. Don’t know what’s gone into me, what on earth is happening, but I’m constantly tired. Yesterday was worst of all days: I hardly could stay awake. After working in the morning I basically stayed in bed or on the couch the whole day staring at the wall or falling asleep, trying to read a book, falling asleep, getting up to eat, falling asleep, trying to work, falling asleep.

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Slovenia, snow-top-mountains ❤

Even my brain didn’t work. Got very worried, reeeeeally worried, cause I haven’t been that tired even last year, when I almost had a burn-out. So what I’m trying to do now, for a while, is not to travel from place to place too much. BUT I can’t help my feet crying after hikes in the mountains or my mind insisting on going to forests and the nature, which is in a way bad: I can’t limit my hikes to one or two hour trips. It’s always at least 4 hours and at the best they include lot of going up and down and sweating.

Even if I decide to walk around in the cities, it’s at least about 15 km that I walk around, mostly much more cause I try to a) save money and not travel EVEN with public transportation and b) see as much as I can, and the best way is to walk (or run) from place to place.  And in general I just am fond of finding the limits of my body. I get high if I get to exhaust my body – but now I see I’ve been too hard on me. Not only to my body, but my mind has been busy, too busy. On worrying about the novel I’m working on (and it’s lousy progress) and about how am I going to pay for my living (still no grants in sight). Also constant moving from place to place or country to country, feeling lonely, being all the time a bit alarmed – well. It all has its effect on everything, obviously, don’t even need a brain to realize that.

It's not a selfie, cause sometimes these last days I did have company!

It’s not a selfie, cause sometimes these last days I did have company!

The last 3 weeks I’ve spent mostly alone. By myself. Not even wanting to meet people, because it’s very very tiring to get to know people, and I’ve got to know so many brilliant personalities lately, that I don’t mind being on my own when it comes to that. But that fact, me being for 3 weeks all alone, has made me think (and oh boys, the ones who meet me next time will propably suffocate on the amount of TALK that is waiting to get out of me!!).

Really, it’s made this girl think (thinking fits me, you see, I look almost like a clever person when I think!). This being on my own all the time has made me miss people, that are very important to me, and to whom I am important (I think it’s unfair that one is absent of their lives, who he/she cares, really: think about my nephew for instance: how much that young child would love to do crazy things with his auntie, and the auntie is just somewhere – I never even attented his birthday, was always absent! Not good. Not fair – how to explain a child that well, there was something else going on – something more important than his Big Day!)

After a Finnish writer, whose work I highly respect and admire, died this week, and even before that, I have given lot of thoughts on what is important in life. I have this huge thirst of seeing and exploring the world. I am a traveller, who needs from time to time, every year and many times in a year, to see new beautiful and ugly places in the world, and that is important, it’s actually just in my blood, the need of going around, BUT more important than that is the people.

Ljubljana.

Ljubljana.

And the fact that we only live once. The fact that we never know, when is the end. When is someone we care about suddenly gone. For good. And does it anyhow make any sense to experience all the things all alone? I’ve seen so extremely beautiful places lately – all by myself. Great. I’ve smiled on top of the mountains, sat for hours in beautiful spots staring at the huge world we live in, BUT no matter how amazing it is or has been, I then always wake up to realize that this is great, but I can’t share this experience with anyone, so is it actually that great. Not really. And then I get stung by Loneliness. By Missing. Missing others, missing my friends, family, my lovely sweet nephews and nieces. My boyfriend. And the thought of having a concrete home.

I can share my moments in Instagram and Facebook but it just makes people who are stuck at home jealous or think that I live a supercool life. Which is not true: for example last time I ate in a restaurant was 3 weeks ago with my boyfriend. Cause I can’t afford going to a restaurant. Hardly to a cafe for a cup of tea – but it’s okay, I anyways rather drink a POT of tea at home. Why I share pictures or thoughts is because the truth is devostating: I’m fucking freaking lonely. Because all those people who I care about are thousands of miles away.

One can’t really live in the moment, if he/she misses people. I want to live in the moment. Without big great plans, without knowing, where I’ll end up at the end of the day. But I want to live that way closer to my pumpkins. Now that I don’t have a home anymore – except in my stories – I think it’s easy to go and try to see how life with my boyfriend could be. In Iceland. Which is a scary thought: living far away on an almost deserted island. Gosh. But what can I loose by doing that? Nothing, I’d say. I can win, rather. Because either way it will be good: we see, that life together sucks – so I just back my bag and move on. Or we find out, that there really is something strong between us. And then I just stay AND do shorter than one-year-or-two trips around the globe. AND stay one month a year in Munich and in Finland. With those pumpkins that I care, love and miss.

Lake Bled - looks pretty, but in reality is very touristic and not thaaaat amazing.

Lake Bled – looks pretty, but in reality is very touristic and not thaaaat amazing.

So that’s what I’ve been thinking of. And I think it’s just the way it goes. Was planning to travel around the world for 1-3 years, but wtf, WHY did I plan that kind of silly thing. I never plan, planning is no good because if you plan too much, you get dissapointed. It’s been my dream to travel, but then again for example the years I lived in Munich I travelled all the time. Might have been just a day trip or even 6 weeks to somewhere, but I did travel enough. So now I say: I’m NOT planning to do anything, BUT will go and see. How the life with a crazy viking could be. If it is honey, then I’m the bee. Haha. Adios. I’m gonna walk now to the bus station of Zagreb and get a ticket to a nature park of Plitvice. So I kind of am going to move a bit. Tomorrow if I get a roundtrip ticket. And my butt out of the bed at around 5.30 AM. Get tired already of thinking about that!

(P.S. Don’t have much to say about Slovenia. Stayed there one week in the countryside not too far from Ljubljana. Mostly hiked in the nature. Once climbed up a mountain and saw Lake Bled. One day spent in Ljubljana – one day was enough – talking to teenagers and walking around. Slovenians were friendly people in general. And the mountains – well, every country that has mountains, gets a tiny place in my heart!)

I Don’t Know Why

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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). IMAG7989

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. IMAG7945

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.

Some more of South Africa from Italy (to make it complicated)

Climbed up the Table Mountain - and was celebrating it my way.

Climbed up the Table Mountain – and was celebrating it my way.

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On Robben Island windy dress – I saw a penguin there btw!

South Africa still on my mind I sit in Italy and am tired. And inspired. Finally today in a cafe when rain was pouring down the dark sky in Livorno, Italy (btw I just realised that since I read Maeve Binchy’s novels recommended by my sister maybe 10 years ago I wanted to visit Tuscany and tsadaa: here I am!) I opened my novel manuscript and read it through. It was good. Almost all of the stuff written so far. It’s a good thing, if it feels good after a while.

At the poetry festival - or actually going on a day trip during the festival with Siza and kids from the village

At the poetry festival – or actually going on a day trip during the festival with Siza and kids from the village

It made me write some more and oh oh all the waves and clouds and mountains, oh I wrote. I wrote. Like the heavy rain I wrote! Had to stop once, when appearantly a drunk guy passed by and started praising my looks out so loud, that everybody started staring at me and I hoped the earth would just split in two and suck me in! (notice: I have only trekking clothes that I can wear here, or some silly stuff, like a mini skirt WITH trekking boots because I was wise blonde enough to pack my bag with only light summer clothes when I went from Iceland to South Africa, and compared to tip top dressed-up Italian women in the city centre I looked like a piece of white trash.)

Train from Cape Town to Johannesburg - big recommend, amazing landscape!

Train from Cape Town to Johannesburg – big recommend, amazing landscape!

For two hours I worked hard on my writings and got satisfied. After that I noticed the rain had stopped, packed my stuff in a new backbag that I found for 8 euros in Livorno’s market area (needed it urgently, a handbag is too difficult with laptop and other shit in it, cause my intention is to walk as much as I can in Europe) and stepped outside. A cold day had turned into a warm and sunny one – I think I even ended up burning my nose!

The train stopped. Somewhere. Over the rainbow.

The train stopped. Somewhere. Over the rainbow.

And then I started walking. Walking walking walking, like no tomorrow. While walking I went through all the memories of South Africa – it’s been after all only 3 nights that I wasn’t there anymore. Till the very end of my trip over the foreign continent I collected unforgettable moments in my heart. And those people. Oh. After visiting Cape Town I travelled 28 hours by train to Johannesburg and met even more warm, nice people. And got a chance to meet some poets/artists again – some of those, whom I got to know at the poetry festival in Elim in the beginning of my South African journey, like Ike, Mash and Collen – which was very nice.

Sunrise seen from the train.

Sunrise seen from the train.

I also found out, that Siza, a wonderful person and an amazing poet, is my soul sister. Literally. I didn’t know I would ever meet one again (I mean of course for example my biological sister is also a soul sister). But I did and got confused, in a good way. I will be going back to South Africa next year for the same poetry festival – but if there was no other reason, I would go just for Siza (hugs, sister!) – and of course Ike, Mash, Collen, Alan, JahRose, Hector, Charmaine, Vonani, Goodenough, David, Given, Ayanda etc etc etc (smmmmaaaack to you all!). There is another reason to go as well: co-operation with a non-profit organisation called House of Siza – which would organize a festival for children, bring the joy of literature closer to the kids in townships. Important stuff, close to my heart. House of Siza organizes already lots of poetry sessions. Like the one in Johannesburg last Friday (see the ad).

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One more train pic. Selfie.

One more train pic. Selfie.

All in all I still swim in the landscapes, in the moments, in the people I got close to in South Africa. Even though I physically swim in the landscapes of Tuscany – which are very beautiful, too. I was watching today the Mediterranean sea hitting the shore, waves breaking on the walls, I was watching them like hypnotized for maybe half an hour and just thinking. About my life and the Earth we live in. I might be broke but oh girls and boys I think I’m after all richer than the richest person on Earth. Because of all these moments I have had. All the moments to come. Even right now I’m in good hands. Requested a couch through couchsurfing and had such a big luck getting a place to sleep at a very warm and generous house of an Italian girl that I feel like at home. Isn’t that being rich. To meet people, to hear their stories, get inspired, to be with people. To get help and to help others. Isn’t that the thing. Which we all should concentrate on instead of other, pointless things.

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Mandela!

Anyways in Italy I stand 7964 kilometers away from Johannesburg, feel cold in the rain, am amazed by European art and buildings and the beauty of old cities (and I can’t even start praising the food!!!) but my mind is still far away. In the savannas and green mountains and beautiful black girls and boys and poetry. Strong words. Sound of music. The night in a reaggae club. The evenings at Elim under billions of stars and monkeys in the bushes. The elephants and giraffes. The laughter. Football at the sunset in Cape Town on a beach, bare foot. Writing new poems on the train. Watching miles go by. Jazz and African drum beat in the backyards of Soweto township, jamming, singing, loving the strong words. Putting the life into the lines. Taste of home made African beer and white wine on my tongue. Smell of the sun in my clothes. The touch of freedom on my skin. I a heavy sky. Dancing the night closer, dancing South Africa into me through my skin. I’m a white girl running away, always on the run, but can you see in the distance all those beautiful black people dancing in the moment like no tomorrow. Can you? I hope you can.

Siza and I getting ready for a poetry session with two "kids" on the block (the other one on the right is an artist).

Siza and I getting ready for a poetry session with two „kids“ on the block (the other one on the right is an artist).

Greetings from Italy, darlings! I keep on exploring – and working from Monday on at the Bologna Book Fair. After that I don’t know what to do. Was hoping to surprise my friends in Austria by showing up on Easter Sunday but it doesn’t look good…no busses or trains going there fast enough.

Sounds of South Africa

Heyho let’s go! Greetings from South Africa.
I’ve been here for 10 days now and have already

admired how beautiful hair South African women have

met a dangerous spider (still shaking because of it!)
bought a pittbull puppy (!!) and given it as a gift to a colleague
performed three times as a poet wearing a blue wig
made new friends with bunch of South African poets and a family living in Pretoria
seen elephants, giraffes, antilopes, zeepras, monkeys, rainbow coloured birds, buffalos – and latest I met a bull staring at me making my heart scream (have no clue of what to do when you stand in a garden and a bull approaches out of a sudden towards you and decideds to stare at you)
got a flue, ouchieee
written many pages to my travel book
visited a family in Malulele
taught creative writing at a football stadium for a full day (one more day to go!)
burned my nose
got drunk with funny poets on a veranda
visited a nice former big hearted orpahanage keeper in a township in Pretoria
touched the feet of Nelson Mandala statue
got very impressed of South African poetry and admired lively, colourful poem performances
found out that I could eat platefuls of mashed or panfried pumpkin
driven through beautiful African landscapes for hours
realized that I want a baby (!!!!!!?????) – but not now
enjoyed travelling without staying any night at a backpacker place, spending time only with locals
stood on a spot where I could see three countries: South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe
bought a bus ticket to Cape Town
bought a train ticket from Cape Town to Johannesburg
written a shitty poem or two
missed my boyfriend once or twice
read one book (only)
laughed a lot

 

opened my eyes
opened my mouth
opened my ears

Will stay in Polokwane for two more nights. Teaching tomorrow how to write fiction. It’s so ah. I love teaching. Have missed it a lot. Then off we go to Cape Town. Have to sit in a bus for over 24 hours. But that way of travelling is more. Than less. Take care!

PS. No pictures this time. Internet connection is slow.

Why Not Organized Tours And Goodbye Iceland

So here I am, in the sky, flying away from Iceland, almost reaching Copenhagen. Have to change planes twice, after Copenhagen in Paris, where I’d have couple of hours to chill. If it would be more, I’d go to the city center – it’s been too long since I last was there, 11 years to be exact – but now that there’s only two hours or was it three, the only thing to do is to drink a glass of bubbly and chill. Or write. I like writing at the airports. The best thing to do would be of course drink bubbly AND write. (By the time I’m posting it I notice that all the bars at the airport in Paris are closed – managed to get a glass of wine just before the last open bar closed – and it’s only 22.30) IMG_20150224_211704

My last days in Iceland were full of stuff to do. Like writing e-mails, kind of working so to say, practising for the Vhembe Poetry Festival, which is the reason I’m on my way to South Africa. I’ll stay there for a month and am not prepared at all. Don’t have for example medicine against malaria, actually I don’t have any medicine with me, don’t even have any sunblock, and I most definitely don’t have any plans. What I do have, is too much luggage. Since last October I’ve had to fit my whole life in the suitcase. Haven’t really succeeded in that; quite a lot of stuff of mine is at too many addresses in Finland (and Munich) and now all my winter stuff I left in Iceland. I’m slowly conquering the whole world, it seems, telling everybody I’ll be back and ”can I please leave this here, I’ll come pick it up, soon”. Which is the plan, too, of course, to appear one day behind all those doors and hug the people and say ”how you’re doing baby”.

About Iceland I have to say one last thing – or not only about Iceland, but all the countries in general from travellers point of view – and it is: I WILL NEVER DO THE MISTAKE AGAIN TO PAY MY ASS OFF BY ATTENDING AN ARRANGED TOUR. Never, ever again will I do that in Iceland. I feel cheated. And angry. Dissapointed.

I bought a day tour from a tour organizer called Arctic Adventures (I bet it doesn’t make any difference where and in which agency you book your tour). A glacier day tour called Blue Ice. The prize was too fucking high, but I was stupid enough to pay it, because I felt that I’d be missing something if I don’t go see a glacier before leaving Iceland. I expected it would be interesting, a sweaty hike on top of a glacier etc, but hell no. In the winter time they arrange only day tours. 3-3,5 hours on the glacier. I thought it’d include lot of hiking on the glacier but instead it was 3 hours of walking behind the guides (who were funny and kind as Icelanders in general) like ducks following the leader, stopping all the time, and fucking waiting. Waiting the ones who were slow, waiting the short route to clear out from the groups in front of us. For me it was all the time waiting; I didn’t pay fucking 171 Euros (!!!!!) for walking 10 meters, standing and looking at a whole in the glacier, walking 10 meters, stopping again, walking 10 meters, hearing ”Now we stop, it’s not worth going further, because it’s all flat and there is nothing spectacular to see” (fuck you – the whole Iceland is spectacular enough to see!). I paid 171 Euros for something else (but as my dear boyfriend said: you should never expect anything, otherwise you might get dissapointed – but but but for 171 Euros I do expect things..).

I didn’t know wether I should cry or laugh out loud, when the guides stopped and hammered the surface of the glacier so that there was pieces of ice for everyone to taste. Gosh. Okay, for those who have never seen ice it must have been amazing, at least everybody was taking billions of photos posing with ice in their mouths, but I was basically yawning and pissed off – had noticed already at the root of the glacier or actually already at the parking lot, that this tour is not at all worth the money. So. The ice tasting lasted and lasted, maybe half an hour. Then we walked again about 10 meters, stopped, walked, stopped. Then we got a chance to try ice climbing. Which was basically waiting for 45 minutes, so that everybody in the fucking group had tried it. It was okay to try. But still not worth 171 Euros. Those 3 hours included mostly waiting. So if you like waiting, go for it!IMG_20150224_211854

That’s about the glacier trip. Three hours of walking maybe altogether 1 kilometer (including the way from the parking lot to the glacier). After that we stopped at a waterfall. A small one. A touristic trap one. I’m still sooooo pissed off when I think of spending 171 Euros on basically nothing at all. I should maybe complain and get my money back. But well, I’m not good in complaining. I should send them feedback. Then again what does it help. Iceland seems to be a very touristic country, tourism is growing all the time (I don’t find that good at all and I don’t think Icelanders themselves are happy about that either) and what I saw from the people in my group, was, that way too many people are ready to pay for shitty tours like that, and they would propably pay even more than what it costs.IMG_20150224_212033

All the others were amazed – while I, a nature lover, who enjoyes hard core hiking and getting sweaty climbing up mountains, and who hates supporting mass tourism, was so dissapointed, that I was crumpy the whole day and night and day after. So my big advice is: don’t pay for tours like that. Go and rent a car, go see places yourself. That glacier tour I could have easily done without any guide – actually I would have walked much further and seen much more. It would have been cheaper to rent a fucking car all by myself. Gosh that makes me angry. Have been moody the whole week. Thinking of loosing money in shit like that, volunteerly, drives me crazy. Especially now when I haven’t heard of any new grants.

Well, to calm down a bit, there are positive sides in experiences like that:
– it reminds you of how stupid organized mass tourism tours are
– you see, in any case, very beautiful scenery – the glacier (Heimasjökull) looks amazing (see the pics, see the pics!)
– you might meet German speaking tourists in the group and have a chance to talk in German (oh how I miss speaking in German DAILY)
– you realize how easily companies can rip you off
– when you get home from the tour your boyfriend might feel pity and cheer you up by making you a home made veggie burger IMG_20150224_212213

Anyways Iceland is amazingly beautiful country. I hope mass tourism won’t ruin it. The best memories I have from Iceland have something to do with the person whom I visited and his daughter. The second best from the nature. Will keep those memories on my mind when I next time miss something or somebody (well okay, I do have the boyfriend on my mind already, and especially his cat!). Right now I’m all excited. Stepping into a new adventure. And very much looking forward to get to know all the South African poets there are at the festival, where I’m going. And the wild life, of course! Adios puspus (=kiss kiss)!

Don’t Let The Time Mess With Your Mind!

Another week in Iceland has gone and a new one started and the new one seems to approach the end already and gosh and oh my god. Some time, maybe one or two years ago, I noticed that time is the fastest thing in the whole universum. There’s plenty of it but then again there’s none of it and we all depend on time and it’s frustrating. I don’t want to depend on time. But I do. For example I signed yesterday the publishing contract for my next novel (btw the name of it, if it stays the way I want to, is gonna be „The Tears of Krakow) and now I have just 1,5 years of time to write it. TIME oh time why – and am I going to be on time (unlike in December missing a flight for example), and why is there time and why is there not.

Windy Land!

Windy Land!

You kind of hop on the time like you’d hop on a bus, travel and live your life with it, and then wake up to see that the time has gone, that you kind of missed it but then again didn’t, and that your relationship with the time is over like a game can be over. How rude is that. The time makes you what you are and then it leaves you and you know how it feels like to be left. Alone. Or the time makes you older and you look at your hands and they are no more young hands, they are older hands that have seen a lot (I was shocked about a year ago by my hands – how OLD they look like!) and they remind that you live your life married to the time.

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Here in Iceland I’ve had so much time that I feel like there’s no time at all – but then again right after I booked a flight to South Africa I noticed that the bloody time is fucking with me and soon, like in 10 days or so, the winter for me is over and I’ll be living my life after 10 days in sections; one month in South Africa, after that some time in Italy, after that in Ukraine (and all the countries between Italy and Ukraine since I try to avoid flying), after that who knows where, and I see that time for me is turning into bunch of countries and it’s weird: how can I combine places and time. And people and time. And time and time, and as I know myself: if I am emotionally attached to a person, like a boyfriend, I’ll be counting time to see him again at times, and it would all be easier if there was no time to be counted, and you just wake up one morning to find the boyfriend next to you and then you spend some time together, and then he goes or you go and then there’s no time and there’s all the time in the world, and I should propably write a book about time and consuming time and being married to the time and no time. I should be writing my novel now, to be able to finish it in 1,5 years, but I’m writing this and thinking of time and soon it’s time to do something else than write. Oh time, oh time why are you so…timed!

Geysir stuff, got one good shot and that's about it.

Geysir stuff, got one good shot and that’s about it.

And imagine: we all think we own the time. You say: I don’t have any time. You say: it’s my time. You say: time is gold. And then you think you’re rich or poor, depending on how much time you have, but in the end isn’t it up to your imagination and your consciousness how much time you own and how you deal with it? I used to have my calendar full of meetings and oblications and duties and I felt like „fuck, give me more time“, and sometimes it felt so good to just ignore it and do whatever I felt like doing, I felt free like a bird without any time, and now with a lot of time – well, it’s better this way. But my relationship with time is weird. I kind of ignore it but sometimes I think of it too much. Especially when I look at my hands.

Miracles of Earth

Miracles of Earth

Anyways I’ve had mostly good times here, in Iceland. Good times like last and once this week went to Reykjavik and wrote a lot in a nice cafe called Babalu. It’s very good way of spending time. I also had fun in the city with my boyfriend one night (= drank delicious cocktails and even danced) which lead to a lazy day, where my brain didn’t really show any high capacity to work, but it was okay; sometimes it’s good to have a break to make the time insignificant, because come on: if people say (in Finland; I sometimes remember being a Finn with weird phrases!) fire is a good helper but a bad leader, why don’t we just say that time is a good partner but a bad lover. Or whatever. I’m going crazy I know. After all I work every day (just like most of the people) and can’t really make a difference between free time and work time and don’t have any office hours (I would suffocate if I had to work from 9 to 17), so breaks and lazy days are important. Days with no work. Which is almost impossible and very rare. It’s surprising how much a writer thinks (and works!). Believe it or not: it’s sometimes hard and very often tiring and emotionally rough. Actual writing is just one part of this job. Even the hikes I go for are kind of working hours. There I think, sink, think, sink. Just like now. Right now I’m blogging to avoid writing my novel, because I feel like it’s not a good time to work on the script, though it might be the best time, and oh. Time go away, time stay!

Waterfalls of Gullfoss

Waterfalls of Gullfoss

Anyways why I wanted to blog today is that last week ended so, that I can say now I’ve seen part of the famous Golden Circle Tour of Iceland. We drove off on Saturday midday, even though the weather was horrible: heavy rain, strong wind, bad visibility. Luckily the road was not that icy, I don’t want it to be the end. We were supposed to go for a horse ride on Saturday, but the weather was sooooo bad it wouldn’t have been fun at all. So instead of horses and fun what I did was to almost stand in a circle of pee. Isn’t that the golden circle experience, after all? You can do that anywhere in the wolrd. You don’t need Iceland for a golden circle. But then again you do.

Awwww.

Awwww.

If you want to see something amazing and beautiful.  Like a crater lake called Kerið. It was so very windy, that I just quickly took a look at it but it was a good look. You don’t need to look at things for a long time bacause sometimes a second can be an eternity. Sometimes in one second you see more than in one hour. At the crater lake the wind almost got me, literally and really, and for a second I thought I’m flying. Thank heavens my boyfriend got a hold of me before I flew away, though I’m surprised he did, cause I guess I’m not the easiest one to spend so much time with (like two months now, in a raw!).

Awwwwwwwwww.

Awwwwwwwwww.

Anyways lot of buses filled with tourists were driving back to Reykjavik as we came closer to the famous Geysir in Haukadalur valley. Rain didn’t give us a break as we stepped out of the car and paced to see the hot springs. It looks like a very touristic spot but the amazing thing about it is, that it is real and not commercial, it is natural and funny. And if you go there on your own in the late afternoon when it’s raining in the winter, you don’t have to feel like a sardine in a tin (again a Finnish saying). I can’t stop wondering how full of wonders the Earth is, sometimes I feel like a newborn looking around with my mouth and eyes wide open. At the Geysir place there’s hot springs and steam and burning hot water bursting up to the air from somewhere down under and I find it all miraculous. Okay, it’s all explainable, but still I find it all somehow astounding and not explainable at all. And I like to think it’s magical. Who cares about science when you can explain things by saying it is all a miracle!

Horses and human beings sharing a road together. And time.

Horses and human beings sharing a road together. And time.

After getting wet at the geysirs and after taking some pictures of the steam (because taking shots of the geysir in action with my equipment is almost impossible – and I recommend to enjoy it anyways without stressing about pictures) we drove further to the famous waterfall of Gullfoss. Oh. It is beautiful. Very beautiful. Because of the wind and even stronger (and horizontal!) rain I could just breathe in, give it a look, open my mouth and say awwwww and breathe out and run ice skate back to the car. But it was worth it. I love water as an element and as a moving piece of art created by nature (and of course as a drink!) and running water is just so very stunning, breathtaking, strong, lovely thing, especially when it falls falls falls. I’ve been to Iguazu Falls in Paraguay/Brazil, and from the size Gullfoss is nothing compared to it, but as a sight it is. Very beautiful. Especially in the winter time. Big recommendation, because there’s also snow and ice and it’s exciting! Winter time benefit: if you want to see it without masses of other tourists, choose a rainy, windy late afternoon in the middle of winter and you have your peace.

Contract signed. Time to write.

Contract signed. Time to write.

That’s it about the Golden Circle Tour this time. We didn’t go to Þingvellir, which is a famous national shrine and a natural wonder. So there’s something special left to see. I kind of felt special also when my creative boyfriend made a golden circle to the snow. Would have taken pictures but unfortunately my camera didn’t agree on that. I did also, accidently, manage to show my naked bottom to some tourists passing by with a car. I guess I’ve got a special talent in that (once, some years ago, I managed to show my bottom to quite many people in the middle of Helsinki – of course unconsciously!). Anyways it was a nice day tour without any stress and no thoughts about time. Because you have the best time of your life only by ignoring the time. Some people manage to live their whole life like that and it’s admirable. Wish I rather had a talent for that than flashing my naked cheeks.

Who needs warm countries to enjoy the sandy beaches and sun?!

Who needs warm countries to enjoy the sandy beaches and sun?!

But now, now that I’m writing here when I’m supposed to be working on the novel script, I can’t avoid letting you know, that I finally did it. On Sunday I finally, finally, got on an Icelandic horse! I’ve done that before in Finland, couple of times, and as a horse girl I of course have been waiting for a chance to get on an Icelandic guy horse in Iceland. And now it happened. Even the weather was playing along and the sun decided to shine on us! For one hour I was horse riding (= loving the world!) and it made me happy for a long time to come (I looooooove horses and horse riding and mountains and it all was there!). I’m still happy because of that. It was fun and nice and beautiful. What surprised me, was that my boyfriend went along and that he wanted to go fast and that he didn’t fall. I’ve never had a boyfriend who would just like that hop on a horse and go for a ride with me! He so got some points! (I’m so going to make him buy a horse one day for himself his daughter and me!)

Who needs great pictures of geysirs in action!

Who needs great pictures of geysirs in action!

This week has started with a horror weather (but then again I should remember my own motto: there is no bad weather!) so there’s not much lust of going out but in a way there is. I wanted to go this week for a glacier day tour but if the weather stays this way, I’ll go on the weekend or next week. There’s still some time left before heading far to south and I hate to find myself repeating the word time. Fuck it. There’s no time and there’s time and the time is gold and it’s time to stop blogging and it’s time to NOT look at my hands and see the marks of time, it’s time to be timeless and creative and genius and bye!