Vote for humanity

 

With heavy hearted I have been following the news of the world the past months. Everytime I read the news it chips a piece of my faith to humanity, to human kind. It has forced me to reflect my view of the world and how I see it. In what kind of world do I raise my offsprings. Will there be a happy place for them.

I grew up trusting the world. And that trust led me to explore the beauty of it. Not did I only see beauty, but I found a stronger ground to believe in humanity. Where ever I was, I would be welcomed there with open arms and curious minds. Sometimes the actions of the strangers but mine in shame.

The more I reflect my memories, the more I understand where the cure lies. It is not in the actions of the lost that we should follow. It is in the actions of us, the people who believe in humanity and in the actions of doing good. With kindness we create peace, with love we take away from anger. With courageous actions and trust we build a place where we can move freely, be free.

The more we explore, the more educated we are. The more we know, the less we fear. The less we are affraid, the more we trust.

Travel safe, but travel.

 

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black coffee lyrics

I never used to be a coffee drinker. I would always prefer tea over coffee and of course, consume insane amount of it. But somewhere in life, I slowly started understanding the art behind the worshiped drink.

The family I worked for in Switzerland used to have a coffee machine that would make great coffee (or at least I thought that at the time). I would get my espresso from the machine and warm up some full fat and extremely tasty swiss milk and beat it until it would foam. I can still remember the taste.

It still took me quite a while to start ordering coffee in cafes. Slowly my mind brewed ready for it. Now it has become more of a rule than exception, which I find very pleasing. I have found this hidden comfort zone in coffee that I don’t have any need to step out of.

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Not long after my daughter was born last spring, our new little family drove to a coffee shop by the ocean. It is located in very popular recreational area in Helsinki. Surprisingly that noon in the early summer it was quiet. The storm was approaching the city from the sea and all was calm.

The storm did not take long to gain its full strength and the sky was all about lightning and heavy rain. I wrapped the blanket around myself and my newborn baby and leaned closer to the fireplace. The rain fell so heavily that it poured in from the street. It did not bother us. We were not in a hurry. We sat by the fire and sipped our coffee.

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finding shelter

I moved to Switzerland when I was nineteen. I had set a personal target that I was now following; promising that after graduation from high school I would set my two determined legs outside of the borders of Finland. The map was pointing to Switzerland.

What a year of adventures it was. Not only did I meet my best friend and a future travel companion there but I found life that was very different to what I was used to. I was able to live my youth, early adulthood away from judging eyes and pressure of questions that always went unanwsered. I was able to be what I really was, making all the mistakes necessary and relying on life with trusting mind. There I founded the base for my future self.

I often go back to those times. It represents the kind of feeling that I have not quite reached after that. I have come to the conclusion that it was about the first time of moving abroad. The magic of the first times. It feels that memories of first times are glittered with gold dust. Because they are, oh so special.

Youth and freedom, what a cocktail of life! That was the recipe of my very own beginning of becoming the way I am. How different life would be, if I would have chosen otherwise.

In hard times, the beginning of me helps me to find myself back to me. Life is, at times, overwhelming and harsh. And when it is so, I seek shelter from my memories.

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Leaving traces

I have spend quite a few years feeling the sand in my toes. Now see, one might think that beaches are all the same, and in some way that is absolutely true. The key ingredients are there; sand, water, waves, wind, sun. But once you look a bit deeper to what you actually are seeing and feeling, they are not just beaches anymore.

I have given my time and appreciation to many beaches, but there are a few that have left their traces on me. I cannot quite explain why it is so, since they don’t differ much from the others. But there is something about the feeling of the place. It almost feels like it has a soul.

There are so many people who find their peace by the shore. The beach washes away the dirt of life. It is the salvation that the quiet dawn brings you and you can breath a bit easier then. I have left many of my thoughts on the shores of this planet. And why wouldn’t I? It is like leaving traces that no one can find.

 

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Going North

I left Helsinki over a week ago to drive up to Finnish Lapland to stay overnight in Enontekiö and continuing the next day to my new home; Alta, Norway. The weather had finally turned into acceptable summer when I walked down to the street in the early hours of Sunday. The early morning was soft and people were making their way back home from bars. Their night was ending, my day and sort of a new chapter in my life, was about to begin.

There is something very soothing in car traveling. The slowly changing scenery keeps my mind calm, not rushing to the next thought too quickly. I have always been fond of car traveling – often realizing that it really is not always the best way of traveling. I often dream of biking. Having the freedom of own choice but still a good speed to reach to places. I have heard some amazing biking stories around the world and I often dream of doing one myself too. I am amazed by their will everytime I see a biker facing an uphill for several kilometers. I quietly think in my mind; thank goodness it is not me and I bury my biking dreams.

Finland is a wonderful place to drive through. The nature really does not change much until you find yourself in Lapland. The ever growing number of so called “arctic hills” and, of course, reindeers. In the first day we drove over a 1000 kilometers to reach Enontekiö. My words give no justice for the beauty of Finnish nature. The lakes, forest, arctic hills, swaps. It is all there for us to find.

We decided to stay in a small and cozy cabin for the night instead of tents. It turned out to be a good decision, because the rain fell heavy that evening continuing the whole night.

Monday morning was crisp and sunny. We stopped for lunch at one of the best salmon rivers in Europe, Alta River. A man we met told us his his day’s catch would last for months. The fish was so plentiful there. I was thinking of my brother and how he would like it there.

Alta was in front of my eyes sooner that I had expected. And it charmed me from the moment we met. Shining down that bright sunlight, the fjords sank into the Arctic Ocean. My new chapter had just begun and was looking pretty spectacular.

Budapest

Budapest is good. Actually it’s damn great! It is like a small treasure box that once you open it is hard to close. It has the old atmosphere meeting the young and vivid present. With affordable wine and cozy streets where you find things just by wondering around, Vicky and I felt at home celebrating our birthdays there.

Budapest has two sides, Buda (west) and Pest (east) and they are divided to districts; V, VI, VII and VIII being the downtown area and suburbs represented by the higher numbers. Buda offers a quieter and greener atmosphere with a beautiful park and a steep climb up to the Liberty Statue that gives amazing view of the whole city. We had a wonder around the gigantic Buda Castle area. It probably took us as long to go around the area as it did trying to find our way out again. Bloody labyrinth!

Pest is more vibrant and urban with the right amount of hustle and bustle. The amount of cafés, bars and restaurant it has is delightful! Buda and Pest are divided by Danube river but connected by several bridges. The bridges are an experience, especially during the night time due to their impressive lighting. Budapest is a city of night. Danube river being crossed by several lighted bridges and with the majestic Parliament House and Buda Castle resting on the river banks gave us goosebumps no doubt.

We stayed with Tomkha Apartments which was phenomenal. We booked it through Booking.com and paid all together 69 € for 3 nights. We stayed in the middle of the city at Holló utca 15. where it was dead easy to find our way around.

Tomkha Apartments

There is no real Budapest experience like finding yourself chin-deep in the salt baths in one of the historic bath houses. We admired the world famous Széchenyi Bath House from the outside and headed to the less known Király Thermal Bath. Remember to take flip-flops, fungus is a nasty souvenir!

Tucked behind the arches of an unknown building, Madách Imre út is maybe one of my favourite square -like places with a few just right type of cafés and hang-around places. Feeling hungry, thirsty or in need of a coffee, we were often heading this way. It offered some galleries and shops on top floors of the cafés to satisfy our visual needs. Ykra Store found from this street sells items from the best Hungarian designers. You can find some Finnish stuff there too.

The downtown area is compact and easy to navigate through. District V was especially  fun for us. Lively place with loads of cafés and pubs. Near Holló utca. there is “bar street” that has plenty of restaurants and bars for you to join for a meal or drink. Us two being very fond of wine found a big wine bar called Divino Gozsdu (Király u. 13). Although being slightly more swanky than I usually like, it holds over 120 different wines from Hungarian wineries. You see, I am not a wine expert but I can tell you that a selection like that with affordable (expensive in Hungarian scale though) prices made Vicky and I smile like cheshire cats. From smaller places we got a full glass of wine for 2 euros and our smile got even bigger.

On the way to Liberty Statue

In district V we stumbled across  Szimpla Kert (Kazinczy utca 53), that being the oldest ruin pub in Budapest. It looks like an abandoned housing that has plentiful pubs on its’ two floors. If you feel like partying and seeing heaps of English bachelor parties, that’s your place. Kazinczy street in general is pretty good for nightlife. Being blown away by Budapest we were not left with any time to visit any of the escape rooms that Budapest is famous for.

If you have any extra time in your hands, book a game and have an adrenaline filled hour trying to escape a room you are locked in. Sounds slightly claustrophobic but trust, it is so much fun. BBC Travel show – Budapest escape rooms .