I am not sure how many years ago exactly, but around years ago, someone decided that it was time for the old ferry to retire and to build this bridge instead. They brought and and gravel to the extend the road onto the lake and then started to build this bridge. When you walk across it you can still see the docking points of the small ferry. On the Eastern shore you can still see the old wooden house of the ferry pilot. A family had bought it and renovated and I saw the father and his three children jumping from the pier one late night last summer.
Now in winter the bridge stands upon the frozen water. The metal makes a sound now and then when the temperature lowers even further than today. It is -10C.
Yesterday. It was just four thirty in the aftwrnoon buy it was already dark. The sign on the road told us to turn left. We followed a forest road for about three kilometres. The snow on top of it was pressed by some cars that had passed by during the day. It made the surface smooth and not slippery. We passed few cottages with decorative LED light on but nobody inside. We reached the fireplace. It was cold. Maybe minus five or minus six. I put on the small pieces of wood I had cut at the cottage. Put under them some birch tree bark and lit the fire. In fifteen minutes we would have a late lunch or early dinner.
I travelled to Eastern Finland for the beginning of the year. The forest is quite, silent. There is no wind. The snow stays on the branches of the trees. I can hear a woodpecker hitting the bark up on a tree nearby. The lake is frozen and the ice is covered by a layer of soft snow. Everything is still.
It was a very hot day in the southern Terai. We were few kilometres from the Indian border. We had left the hills behind us and reached the flat area and the temperature had gone up considerably. It was dry season and the main color my eyes could see was the light, dry, brown of the barren fields. The weather has become more erratic over the last few years, they told up at the meeting in Tikapur. Dry and wet seasons have changed in their intensity and duration. This makes life very difficult for farmers.
“By prostrating before a stupa, we turn our face away from our egos and toward our enlightened nature. By circumambulating—walking around the stupa in a clockwise fashion and reciting prayers—we keep the image of enlightenment at the center of our attention.”
Boudhanath is a stupa in Kathmandu. Located about 11 km from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.
The Boudha Stupa dominates the skyline; it is one of the largest stupas in the world. The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu Valley by the village of Sankhu in the northeast corner, passes by Boudha Stupa to the ancient and smaller stupa of Charumati Stupa (often called “Little Boudhanath”). It then turns directly south, heading over the Bagmati River to Lalitpur – thus bypassing the main city of Kathmandu (which was a later foundation). Tibetan merchants have rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Boudhanath. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha (Wikipedia).
We had about 15 km behind us. We followed the cross-country ski track through forest and miers covered under a deep layer of snow. At one point the track made a long gentle turn to the right. It was the Northern tip of the Pyhäjärvi (Pyhä Lake) and of the ski track we were following around it. At the end of the turn the track started to follow a long series wooden electricity poles in a straight line. The track run between the village of Pyhäjärvi on our left and vast snow-covered frozen lake on our right. We stopped when we saw a young boy selling warm coffee and juice to skiers. While I was sipping from my paper cup I looked around. Up on a gentle slope the wooden houses where deep in the snow. I imagined the dark months of December and January. How many hours of light do they have up here? and when the summer arrives, does the sun set belows the horizon or not? what jobs people have? are they all working in the tourism sectors? what other work exists so up north? do young people stay here or do they move when they finish their studies? how is it to live so up north?
We finished our drinks and skied for about 1 km to the cafe Mummola to have something to eat before the last stretch of 8 km to get back to our cottage. Temperature -14C. Blue sky. Not a cloud.
One thing you do when in Lapland during the winter is to go out in the night and look up to the sky. And so I did. I also found an app (there are many) that given 30 min forecast of the northern lights: how weak or strong they are. It give time to get ready. Put the winter clothes on. Read a some blogs about the camera set up for taking photos of the Northern lights. Switch on the head torch and get out. There are northern lights every night, but they are never the same. I learned that they come in a scale from 0 to 9 (9 being very rare and being visible also in central Europe). So, I got out at nights during our trip to Pyhätunturi and look up at the sky. The first night they were barely visible. The second night they were a faint greenish cloud at the horizon. The third night they were a bit more visible, between 2.5 at the horizon. The last night they were up above our cottage. Like a cloud of fine dust, very high up in the sky, that moves along a wind stream and slowly changes shape as it moves.
At the start I follow the track with my eyes. Two parallel lines in which the cross-country skis find their way forward. It takes me few kilometres to get into a rhythm and be able to see the landscape around me. When I do, I can fully realise where I am. When I stop to catch my breath I see sky which is totally blue. Not a single cloud. No wind. The temperature is -15C, but I do not feel it. I feel warm from the sun and the exercise. I listen to my breath slowing down and realise that around me nature is totally silent as if I were in a landscape painting. I start again moving. First the right ski, then the left one, then again the right one. And so on and on. I try not to push too much with the sticks and let the legs to the work. In half an hour I will be up at the cabin and look forward to the coffee and the wood-fire stove warming up the room.
The classic cross-country skiing style is often used on prepared trails (pistes) that have pairs of parallel grooves (tracks) cut into the snow. It is also the most usual technique where no tracks have been prepared. With this technique, each ski is pushed forward from the other stationary ski in a striding and gliding motion, alternating foot to foot. With the “diagonal stride” variant the poles are planted alternately on the opposite side of the forward-striding foot; with the “kick-double-pole” variant the poles are planted simultaneously with every other stride. At times, especially with gentle descents, double poling is the sole means of propulsion. On uphill terrain, techniques include the “side step” for steep slopes, moving the skis perpendicular to the fall line, the “herringbone” for moderate slopes, where the skier takes alternating steps with the skis splayed outwards, and, for gentle slopes, the skier uses the diagonal technique with shorter strides and greater arm force on the poles (Wikipedia).
Stockholm has many museums. The one I love the most is Fotografiska, the Museum of Photography.
Fotografiska is the largest photography museum in the world. We celebrate photography, but beyond being a simple museum we offer inclusive spaces for conversation and community. We believe in creating a common ground that invites everyone in, where our guests can listen to lectures, stay for dinner, or meet friends. Our mission is to inspire a more conscious world.