As the sun sets on 2013, I would like to thank everyone who visited my blog and took the time to comment, like, follow, etc. Thank you very much for your time. Wishing you all a very Happy, Healthy New Year.
In January 2013, before returning to Ireland after christmas holidays visiting Hanna’s parents, we spent a few days with Hanna’s brother who lives near Urjala in the South of Finland. He took us on a walk of the land surrounding his rural home. A local feature in the vicinity was an abandoned farmstead: A cluster of empty timber buildings on a raised plot of land overlooking a small winding river and a vast plain of flat land. Instead of the usual sounds of birds, animals, and activity, this farm was filled only with the sound of silence, interrupted by our footsteps in the snow, and an icy winter wind.
After roaming around between the buildings for a while, we took a walk through a small forest which covered a nearby knoll. Kalle – Hanna’s brother – explained to us how Lynx climb the trees and lie in wait for passing deer, and then pounce on the unsuspecting mammals. Using his tracking skills he then showed us some recent Lynx footprints. Shortly after this discovery, we turned towards home, and our pace quickened, despite the knee deep snow.
Has a week really passed since my last post? Time flies….
I realise this post is coming a few months late. Better late then never, right?
I love traveling and experiencing new and different cultures, and Scandinavia is no exception. I hadn’t been to Finland – home of my lovely wife – for over two years. I hadn’t been outside of Ireland for over two years, so I was pretty excited to be heading off for two weeks to experience Christmas Scandinavian style.
Our journey would take us from Dublin to Helsinki, from there we would take the night train 700km north to Kemi and across the border to visit Hanna’s dad in Haparanda, Sweden.
Exiting Helsinki terminal the cold hit me like a block of ice. I fumbled round in my rucksack for a thick woolly hat, and then thrust my aching hands deep in to my pockets. The decision to purchase winter boots and a winter coat after we arrived at our destination now seemed foolish.
At Helsinki Central station we bought some greasy chips, hotdogs, shared a beer, and waited until our train was ready to board.
Twelve hours and a restless sleep later, we arrived at Kemi – northern Finland. The thermometer at Kemi train station read -28C. Luckily, Hanna’s Dad was waiting for us and had the inside of the Volvo nice and warm.
First port of call – after dumping luggage at the house – was the shops to get myself some proper winter clothing. Ankle-less socks and trail runners just don’t cut it in these conditions. Luckily, christmas sales were in full swing and (many) bargains were purchased.
Upon returning to the house we took some coffee (one of many obligatory daily cups), spent the best part of 15mins putting on our winter gear – long johns, woolly socks, thermal baselayer, t-shirt, heavy sweater, proper winter coat, insulated ski-pants, scarves, hats, gloves, etc, etc – and finally went out for a walk in the crisp winter wonderland.
More photos to come in a follow up post. Thanks for looking.
We bought a load of fireworks for the new year’s eve celebrations and brought them with us to a local party. The host, Henri (pictured in the red jacket) was lighting the fireworks, he had just turned his back to light another when BOOM, one exploded before takeoff, it was a big one too. Luckily he is an advocate of strict finnish safety laws and was wearing a bike helmet. No harm done.
Kiitos Henri for a great evening.
Sometimes I don’t have anything to say about photos and photography. I just wonder about all of the photos out there and what people do with them. The photo below, for example, has been sitting somewhere in my hard-drive for the past two years. I was always aware that it was there but just didn’t know what to do with it. I still don’t know. Maybe over time, it will become part of a bigger collection of my photos from Finland, or a totally different project. It can take on meaning by becoming an integral part of something bigger. But for now, I’ll just show it to you as a single image, and leave it open to interpretation.