Thursday, December 30, 2010

0, 2, 13, 22, 33, 92

These are the numbers of my year 2010.

I haven't been working at all during the year and therefore the number of working days is pure 0. This has been a exceptional year on my life so far...

During the autumn I managed to break a record on a 2 long distance race, half marathon and Pirkan hölkkä (33 km). It seems I have been doing something correctly, despite of getting older and slower I was able to achieve these remarkably results.

Running half-marathon

On the summer I visited on 13 new lighthouse on the Baltic Sea by kayaking. Currently I have visited already on 22 lighthouse by kayaking. On the coming years I hope to be able to continue to paddle on the Baltic Sea and have a chance to visit still unconquered lighthouses, there are still 17 of them...

Kayaking on Kallan lighthouse

I was travelling and visiting 33 new countries from Bolivia to Ukraine. Ukraine was my 92nd country to be visited. Let's see if there will be new countries to be visited next year :)

Travelling in Ukraine

I learnt new skills during the year. I learnt how to make kayak roll, how to make fire without matches or lighters and how to sharpen knives and axes with sharpening stones. I did a bit sailing too and I hope next year I'm able to continue to deepen the knowledge of these newly acquired skills.

Practicing kayak roll

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Loud, crazy, colourful, dirty - Tirana is simply fascinating

Somwhere in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Trip has continued through Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro to Albania and Tirana. The touch of socialism has been following all the way down, but when it has been mixed with post-socialism with trendy cafes, shops, bars, beautiful young people, the experience has been somewhat, how would I say it : confusing and surprising.

And  brand new Hummer at the street of Tirana

Tirana, as an example. There's ultimate poorness and greyness in the buildings, older people, roads, vehicles, etc... At the same time side by side you can see trendiest wifi-cafes, trendy youngsters with trendy clothes and Hummers and Mercedes cars.

On the other side of trendy cafes : Beach cafe at Tirana

 Mother Teresa was born in neighbour country, Macedonia and it's capital Skopje, but this is Mother Teresa's area as well. I wish joyful and merry Christmas to everyone, especially the poorest of the poorest in this area, but at the same time all of you, who have much much more than these people.

The arms of Mother Teresa

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Night at jail

My jail at Ljubljana

Well, the trip has continued well. Last night I was spending at jail in Ljubljana, but it was a lovely place. The hostel Celica has been reconstructed as a modern hostel and art gallery from former prison. I recommend it for everybody, if you just need accomodation there...

Christmas lights at Ljubljana

During the snowy and cold days in Slovenia and Croatia I have been enjoying local belo/crno kuhano vino, which is glögi as Finnish. On the streets of beautiful cities like Ljubljana and Zagreb people are gathering close to heaters on the terraces and sipping warm kuhano vino when snowflakes are slowly coming to the ground. How lovely athmosphere it has been.

Waiting train to Zagreb at Ljubljana station...

When it started to snow, when I was still in Italy, you can guess what it meant. Right! The whole train traffic was in chaos just like in Finland :) Pendolinos!!!!! Immediately when I entered Slovenia and Croatia, these Eastern Europe countries trains has been on the schedule like swiss clocks, although there has been heavy snowfall during yesterday!!! Tonight I'll be sleeping at Zagreb and heading tomorrow into Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Market at Zagreb

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My 3rd Interrail

Christmas market at Monte Carlo

Has started fluently. This time I'll be focusing on the Eastern Europe + giants of the Europe, i.e. Monaco, Vatican city and San Marino.

Ice rink with yachts background

I started with Monaco, admired the Christmas markets at the harbour and the ice rink just in front of the huge yachts anchored on the bay. Then I took the train and jumped to Vatican City, which was beautiful during the night. The police were guarding the Basilica di San Pietro - church and the plaza tightly and I got a few notes from the police... All in all the night went on in a quiet Rome / Vatican with photographing and sipping some wine and grappa.

St. Peter's Basilica at night

Now I'm in snowy San Marino, which appears to be a lovely and beautiful place to visit! Need to come here summertime again...

Snowing at Rimini (close to San Marino)

After San Marino I'm heading towards the Eastern Europe and starting from Ljubljana, Slovenia first.

Street view at San Marino

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fire & ice

The theme for previous 4 days at Rovaniemi was pretty much fire & ice. We were practising how to make fire without matches at outdoor conditions. It was roughly -20C degrees at Rovaniemi and 30-40 cm snow. This skill can save your life and it's essential you are able to make the fire reliably and fast. I managed to light the fire in 35 seconds, excellent!

How to fire fight a dripping fire

During the weekend we had a fire fighting practices of different fires at the local fire station.


And we learned how to sharpen axes and knives with sharpening stones...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Private show at balcony

View to the Independent Finland from my balcony

It's great to have a private firework show from my balcony every year at Finland's Independence day at 6th of December. Thanks goes to the city of Tampere !!

Fireworks at the heart of Tampere

Tour skating at Näsijärvi

Ready for skating

It was a perfect saturday morning. Temperature was roughly -6 degrees Celsius and the wind was light. At 9 AM we headed to the shore of Näsijärvi lake, from where we would start a skating trip on a frozen lake. Näsijärvi was totally frozen two days earlier and the thickness of the ice would be sufficient already for the skating purposes. The thickness of the ice will increase roughly 3 centimeters per day and therefore it would be at least 5-6 cm right now.

On a way to Pallosaari island and back to the shore, we met a guy, who were measuring the thickness of the ice with the auger. He told us that the thickness were 5 to 10 cm depending on the thickness of snowlayer on top of the ice. All in all we had great 2,5 hours skating trip and now I'm feeling the first skating exercise this winter in my body... All muscles are sore, but it was worth of it, every second.

Break at Pallosaari island. Drinking hot chocolate.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Theory in Rovaniemi

Our "normal" behaviour at lunch table :)

The 4 day period of "Nature Experience Instructor" - studies in November were full of theory. As usual the period started on Thursday and ended on Sunday. The first two days was reserved for First Aid 1 - module. I have participated the First Aid 1 - module already in year 2004, but the qualification is valid only three years after which you need to update the qualification again. I hadn't done it, so it was time to learn the basics of First Aid again.

Resuscitation practice

The instructions of resuscitation had been revised since last time I participated this course 6 years back. Updating your knowhow and skills how to save lives are useful, you never know when you are in a such situation where you need to react fast and know how to act properly, if people are in danger to die.

Practicing of different bandages / splints

For this period we had rented a cottage for 10 people, where all of us could stay and sleep during this long weekend. It was an excellent way to get acquainted with the other students and spend time together after studies. However at the same time it was tough since the amount of sleep were minimal... I slept only 2-5 hours per night, although I need to have regularly 8 hours sleep. The amount of laugh compensated nicely the lack of sleep and when I got back to home I were able to sleep my sleep debt away :)

Our lovely cottage

The studies were continued on Saturday and on Sunday on classroom by going through the safety aspects of nature experience services and keeping a presentation to our group to practise how to be natural and convincing in front of the audience. The presentation were videorecorded and analysed after the presentation. Everybody got the feedback and analysis of his/her presentation.

Practicing kayak roll

Fortunately in addition of sitting 4 days in a classroom we had the normal "extra" sessions of paddling and climbing practices on evening. The topic of the paddling session were pawlata kayak roll, which were successfully done by everybody after couple of minutes practicing!

Climbing on the wall

On the climbing wall we started practicing how to lead when climbing and not using a fixed ropes. Climbing and kayaking practices will be continued throughout the wintertime and on every month we have those "extra" sessions in addition of official course content.

And some acrobatics by me

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It's been awhile since the previous post. The most unpleasent and darkest month in Finland, November, is surreptitiously fading away followed by interesting and mysterious December. I always wonder how people survive from October to December. Do they work like a crazy? Is the hope of coming Christmas holidays keeping them live and kickin'?

Perhaps they play games like Alias in a cottage in the middle of nowhere in the darkest moments of the year in the Lappland and get energy, drive and craziness from the crazy co-players at 4 AM, when everybody is sooooo tired that every word and every facial expression leads to a massive fit of laughter. I recommend this one for everybody.

The other way of surviving is the insane habit of dipping yourself onto a frozen lake and claiming to everbody how goooooood you feeeeeel when the agonizing pain in your legs has finally ceased.

Of course you can combine these ultimate surviving habits of playing Alias and dipping onto a frozen lake to maximize your endorphin boost from laughter and cold / warm treatment of your body. If you do a physical exercise just before of these two, then you have tripled your chances of surviving in this harsh environment.

If you wanna get throu' November, EXERCISE, PLAY ALIAS AND DIP ONTO FROZEN LAKE regularly throughout the 30 longish and darkish days of November...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Door has been closed, season is over

Lighthouse at sunshine

The last week of this season at Märket lighthouse was full of emotions. When 4 members of Finnish Lighthouse Society was preparing marvellous Märket lighthouse to be closed during the winter season. There were lots of things to be done before finally locking and closing the doors of the lighthouse and leaving it empty until next spring.

Group portrait

The biggest thing to do was to continue the plastering of the wall of the magazine building. It took two days, before we ran out of the plaster and we were enforced to finish the westernmost wall of the building. We continued making the inventory of the shop, counted the cash, removed everything from the front yard inside the warehouse, took the boat inside, packed food which could be frozen during the winter time and took it with us to the mainland.

Sushi dinner

Finally at Friday evening it was time for us to leave the island and lock the doors. I felt sad to leave this amazing place unmanned and empty, but I'm sure I'll have a chance to come back and enjoy the athmosphere next year again. Take care and see you next summer!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Utö & Märket


I spent a nice weekend on a Utö - lighthouse island on a Baltic Sea with a full moon on the sky. This weekend trip was organized by Finnish lighthouse society and there were alltogether 34 members enjoying pre-winter athmosphere on this remote island. Weekend was packed full of guiding and stories about the Utö lighthouse, the island and the people living there.

When lying on the rocks in the darkness, looking the full moon and the light of the lighthouse and hearing the roaming of the waves hitting the shore I felt like I would have been another universe, far away from our civilisation travelling through the space guided by sparkling starts on the sky.

Tomorrow I'm heading back to Märket - lighthouse and acting there as a volunteer worker for the Finnish lighthouse society. It's the last week of this season, before the lighthouse will be closed and left empty. New members are coming when the winter is over on May...

You can follow our daily life on Märket from the diary.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rope work

My first rope work "rope circle"

I started to work with the ropes by making rope circles. Not too complicated in the beginning... I'm hoping one day to be such a skillfull person, who is able to make e.g. my own rope ladder. Until then I need still a little bit more practise!

Rope circles, ocean plait mat and 4-strand round crownplait

Monday, October 18, 2010

Last sausages at this summer ?


Are these last sausages at this summer? Well, they might be or might not.. It all depends how long this summer will last and how hungry I am :) The first snowfall was already seen, but after all the sailing trip to Baltic Sea was a pleasent experience. We had wind speed from 1 m/s up to 12-14 m/s, sunshine, snowfall and cloudy. The sea was quiet, we only saw couple of other sailing boats and very few birds, e.g. swans, couple of seals and one mink.

On a harbour at Katanpää

When coming back from 3-day trip to Uusikaupunki harbour, we sailed the boat onto a dockyard for lifting up the boat to the ground for maintenance and storage over the long and cold winter time. The boat will be lifted back to the water after half an year, when the sailing season starts again in Finland on May.

On a steering shift

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Jonie sailboat

This was the weekend for the sailing on the Baltic Sea. We started at saturday morning from the Uusikaupunki and headed towards the south in a cold weather with occasional snowfall.

Lunch :)

During the day we had sunshine, snowfall and cloudy weather. Few seals were greeting us on our way. There were only one other sailboat we saw during the day.

On a Vuosnainen harbour

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rope work supervisor

The studies in Rovaniemi were continued during this weekend. The main theme for this 4-day period was to do Rope work supervisor module I (KTO 1 in Finnish), which is the first module in the series of mandatory modules of Finnish Climbing Association to become an authorized Rope work supervisor.

We headed into Hiidenkirnut, which is a rock climbing place near Rovaniemi and started practising belaying, knots, bouldering, rock-climbing and abseiling. After first day of climbing my fingers are sore, but the mind and body are very focused on learning more climbing techniques and rope work. The day was great and full of laugh due to the teamspirit and the attitude and joyfulness of the other students!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thank you guys!

I'm speechless! After travelling previous winter and neglecting totally physical excercise I wasn't a good shape at all in spring. I hardly was able to run 12 minutes and it felt awful.

During this autumn I have broken my records in half-marathon and now in Pirkan Hölkkä. What's amazing is that I literally smashed my previous record time for over half an hour!! I just can't believe it.

How this has been possible? Well, this was possible only because of my friends. I have had a pleasure to exercise with You all the summer and autumn in a very versatile and fun way. I have enjoyed every moment and I have suffered a bit too :) But that's the name of the game, no pain, no gain.

Big thanks to everybody: Haapis, Kaitsu, Leevi, Janne, Järppä, Greg, Opa, Häkä, Jani !!!!

Looking forward our next gathering, let's break yet another record then...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Why the sky is blue?

Indeed, why the sky is blue and not black as the space? Well, this and lots of other's interesting questions are being answered in the book "Miksi taivas on sininen?" written by the professor of the physics, Göran Grimvall. I warmly encourage everybody to grab this book from the library and read it through to understand better the phenomenons of our everyday life.

Questions like:
- Can you see the full moon during the day?
- Why the sound against the wind doesn't proceed as far as to the tailwind?
- How can you forecast the weather by looking an airplane's condensation trail?
- Why the waves are coming to the shore always at 90 degrees angle (perpendicular)?
- Why the mountains far away are blue?
- Is the wetsnow (nuoskalumi) heavier than newsnow (uusilumi)?

are not trivial and require the understanding of the physics to be explained correctly. All in all an excellent book to start a journey to the nature's wonderful world...

In addition of wondering and thinking of the phenomenons of the nature I have studied how to make different knots used in the climbing, how to survive in the winter conditions even without sleeping bag, how to make a various shelters from the snow, etc. I have been writing my personal plan for the studies (HOPS = Henkilökohtainen opiskelusuunnitelma) and my personal plan for the proofs / tests for the degree (HENSU = Henkilökohtainen näyttösuunnitelma). From time to time I feel like a student!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

614 km

Text on the street at Helsinki

614 km paddling in the universe during this year. I loved every km. Including the last paddling trip today, Saarikylät in Kangasala.

Paddling at Saarikylät, Kangasala

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kaikoura & G1

Kaikoura is a lovely city in New Zealand southern island's east coast. It's one of the best places to watch sperm whales and dolphins and even swim with them. I have had the privilege to swim with the dolphins at the surroundings of Kaikoura in the Pacific Ocean.

One of the most comprehensive PFD (Personal Flotation Device) made for the paddlers for expedition level touring is called Kaikoura (made by Palm). After having my first PFD in active use for a 5 years on multiple kayaking trips, it has started to broke down. The metal zippers are not working anymore, seams are unravelling and the whole PFD has suffered from direct sunshine and harsh ultraviolet light. Accordingly I decided to buy a new one for the coming years. Palm Kaikoura is packed with features and storage space, like extensive amount of pockets of different sizes, it has possibility to have drinking system (water bladder) at the back of the vest. Kaikoura has been praised in the reviews and definitely is worth of buying.

G1 or Gasherbrum 1 is a 8-thousand meter peak in Pakistan. It was the last one for Veikka Gustafsson when he completed the quest for climbing all 14 peaks over 8000m without supplementary oxygen. The story and the photos from this trip were told and showed by Veikka at the event I was participating.

Antsa & Veikka