Iceland part III

We made it trough the misty tops and glaciers to continue towards Þórsmörk. Weather was far more placid, but not quite hot yet. Easily bearable, even enjoyable. Still a descent few more kilometers to reach the bottom of the valley where we would set our tent and rest our feet. Path leading down was photography-wise truly a dream come true, as most of the Iceland sceneries. Definitely we could have done the route significantly faster if camera had stayed in the backpack. But as in life, it’s not all about the speed or the goal. More about the path.

Luigi moving lightly
Luigi moving lightly

20140724_untitled_2098

20140724_untitled_2092

20140724_untitled_2104
20140724_untitled_2112

Parts of the path motivated to keep your focus solely on your step, still no actual danger exists as long as eyes are kept open and steps placed with care. Other parts of the route allowed all the stress to vanish and become diluted to the stunningly beautiful spacious sceneries. Breathing becomes light as all the senses are filled with feeling of freedom. Somehow it appeared to exist and to blossom here

Shade of the green..
Shade of the green..

 

..was truly magnificent..
..was truly magnificent..

 

..and all around
..and all around

Luigi and Lucas preferred to have few layers less as the sun began to shine on us in it’s full splendor. Fleeting clouds occasionally covered the light, but after hours spent in the harsh winds at the misty tops the warming beams of sun made us feel as if summer was about to return.

20140724_untitled_2140

20140724_untitled_2133   20140724_untitled_2176

In a place where even trees can be exceptional attractions we were lucky enough to have a close encounter with a willow grouse. This little fellow was running around in a dwarf birch forests with his red eye browns.  Actually he or she might have been a rock ptarmigan as well. Someone with more knowledge over the matter could perhaps enlighten us over the matter of which is which. When a place which doesn’t support large quantities of life offers the possibility to meet even just one individual, that moment, is a remarkable experience.

Shot but not harmed as we both kept walking the walk
Shot but not harmed as we both kept walking the walk

Snowy Helsinki

Primula
Primula

Yeehaw! It finally snowed here in Helsinki, and oh boy it snowed well! We woke up to white winter wonderland on last Sunday. I wish I had woken up earlier, since it was so nice to walk around the city. Peaceful and quiet. All the people outside were enjoying the white magic delivered during the night. I just walked around and took photos, which I haven’t done lately at all. Helsinki showed it best of winter and I was totally enjoying the new hoods of my. I went around and about in the city centre, mainly the older blocks with cool streets and old buildings. Especially Kruunuhaka -area is such an idyllic place, lots of cool side alleys and hills. The icing was the dog waiting calmly his/her owner outside the kiosk. After such an awesome day, I made my second New Year’s resolution: “take more photos than last year and carry camera around twice as much”. Shouldn’t be too difficult, since my photography journeys last year were almost non-existent.  Let’s see how it goes!

Snowy and quiet

In ya face

Books and snow

Putsisputsis

Brisk wind

Waiting

Iceland part II

The waterfall of Skógafoss greeted us with tremble and tumble as we ascended the very first meters towards Landmannalaugar. Between Greenland and Europe, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, or actually separate a centimeter per year, Iceland began to rise from the Atlantic ocean about 60 million years ago. Volcanic activity has been shaping and shocking the relatively young and evidently crude scenery over the years. The notorious Volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010 seizing a fair share of the global aviation activities, would be something we’ll be walking past. Knowing the before mentioned and having heard praising comments from fellow hikers was enough to wake up an authentic interest for what is laying in front. Upcoming 80km would hopefully allow us to witness and be impressed by beauty and roughness, tranquility and might of the natural processes.

20140724_untitled_1994

20140724_untitled_1997

“If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes..” is phrase heard both from locals and travelers. Only later I we learned that it would occasionally concern, not only the weather, but pretty much all of the scenery. Skógafoss was left behind and as we began to move north in the misty and moss covered landscapes.

20140724_untitled_2024

20140724_untitled_2009

Yet we did not know that crossing rivers and streams would become a daily routine. Some easily by skipping from a stone to another, some by fording knee-deep in the ice-cold meltwaters streaming down from the glaciers. Here is Lucas placing his step with care as the path kept rising higher.

20140724_untitled_2011

20140724_untitled_2019

20140724_untitled_2026

20140724_untitled_2032

Waterfalls appeared one after another and the edge of the glacier came nearer. Already at this point it was becoming clear that all the overwhelmingly stunning scenery would be impossible to capture on camera in its full and profound essence. A glimpse of 1/100 or 1/200 of a second frozen as a still imagine could not possibly explain all, not even a picture by picture. As altitude increased the temperature decreased to near zero celsius, wind blew stronger and mist grew thicker. Thats when the wave of gratefulness hits you for having a wind and waterproof clothing. In a way happiness is the moment when preparation meets the opportunity.

The post apocalyptic sceneries offered by mother nature consist of poor visibility and glaciers covered by volcanic ash. It was like another world, a bubble where you cannot really hear your friend unless he is shouting. A place where the rain falls sideways forcing your eyes to be halfway shut most of the time. The scenery is just the same no matter where you look. So sucky that the tipping point of comfort zone had been well exceeded, turning plain being into pure fun.

20140724_untitled_2049

20140724_untitled_2051

20140724_untitled_2052

20140724_untitled_2039

20140724_untitled_2053

After enough steps had been taken we began to descend once again. Light grew brighter, sun grew stronger and the mist kept fading away, even the wind was giving up a bit. After the gray-black-brown-white passage the rich colors down in the valley implied of a brave new world. And it was waiting for us.

20140724_untitled_2067

20140724_untitled_2077

20140724_untitled_2088

Antton

Iceland part I

Last summer was a life changer and a eye opener. The amount of experiences sums up to be near overwhelming once observed in retro-perspective. Hitchhiking for 4500km allows a fair amount of change to enter your life. Continuos flow of an adventure was ensured as Luigi received a marker pen to draw us a sign “Skógafoss”.

20140723_untitled_1899

In Porto we became friends during our exchange year with Lucas and Luigi. Incredible moments had been shared as we had already lived, travelled and surfed together. As an special ender for the very special exchange year we managed to book flights to Iceland. At this point of the journey we had ten days, the essential equipment and a plan of hiking the route of Skógafoss – Landmannalaugar.

20140723_untitled_1936Hitchhiking turned out to be rather graceful as Reykjavik was swiftly left behind and the 60m waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss were rumbling in front of us. Don’t plan and be stunned – technique had worked out for us when we were scratching the surface of the Azores, and once again, we did not plan and we were stunned by the beauty and roughness of nature.

20140723_untitled_1927

Actually Lucas was not there to share the falls of Seljalandsfjoss since we had separated to ensure as fluent hitchhike as possible. As you can see in the first picture, he is the one in red in the background already asking people for a ride. Not too long after we left the falls we received text message from Lucas saying that his third ride will take him almost to Skogafoss, but not quite. He asked us if we should stop 7km before our destination and head to a hot pool in Seljavallalaug, we agreed.

Here we met up with Lucas where the road did not continue anymore. We were about 3km away from the main ring road that is actually circulating all of Iceland and I was not completely 100% certain whether it was such a great idea to end our hitchhike here. Lucas told us that a friend of his, Benjamin, the third ride he was picked up by was planning join us later. “The pool should be somewhere there..”

20140723_untitled_1943

And there it was after a kilometer or two, an amazing nature surrounded hot pool powered by the geothermal heat and the imposing tranquility of the nature. Clouds of steam slowly emerge from the nearby mountains as we float around. Eventually Benjamin, an American geologist who had made his thesis on Iceland some years before, appeared as well. After bathing, he kindly offered us a ride to Skogafoss. DCIM100GOPRO

Sharing a walk with a person with a genuine interest on Iceland and fascinating insight on the geological aspects was more than welcome. Gladly this was not the only change we got the change to meet up as the adventure kept unfolding. Signs of incomprehensibly massive forces and proof of unceasing gentle erosion as surroundings allow the scenery to sink in and explain itself, momentarily with a little help from a friend.20140724_untitled_1955 20140724_untitled_1956

20140724_untitled_1963

Where is the beginning and where is the ending, or does such a thing really exist? Skógafoss for many is the ending of the Landmannalaugar – Skógafoss route since it seemed to be widely recommended to be hiked from north to south, not the other way, as we had planned. Maybe it’s only a question of perspective.

20140724_untitled_1966It was evening as we arrived to a scenery filled with tents. As we took a look around met up with tired looking Frenchman who just descended from the mountains and had his backpack almost sideways due to breakdown of some sort. He seemed not to care, almost as he had already had enough. Lucas was enthusiastic to ask the man questions of the route and how it had been. Frenchman told us that he had hiked  400km and this was it. He made it. It was the end. And so it evidently seemed to us also. A spare boiled egg was left of our lunch which Lucas kindly offered him accompanied with the words “Well done”. The genuine, simultaneously surprised, sceptical and amused, facial expression of a man who just finishes a long walk and receives an egg from a smiling stranger was unbelievable. There he went then, with the white egg in his and the backpack sideways. He reached the end, we the beginning. In a way.

Antton

Day at Daytona.

Welcome back to our training camp. Actually it ended six months ago and i’ve been lazy. But still it’s something. Again, long story short!

One day we had a day off and decided to visit  Daytona Beach.

Pier

Lifeguard

Ferris wheel

Camaro at Daytona

The M-Road – A look back

Saturday 28th of June – Jericho Beach, Vancouver

This piece is inspired by the incomprehensible beauty of British Columbian Rocky Mountains.

Last-Of-Canada-8_optimized_2

In four days, I will fly to Helsinki, same route in reverse I took one and half months ago not knowing what I will encounter. A lot has happened since and even though it has only been 5 weeks, it feels like it has been a whole summer. Maybe that’s because summer back home only lasts about five weeks.

Vancouver North Shore
Vancouver North Shore
Under the stars
Under the stars

Home, such a relative concept. In stellar sense, anywhere you go on this planet, you are home. With national approach, you would call your country your home. Home might be a city, a suburb or apartment. Nevertheless, one could say every one of us consider something home. My home could be in Lapland today, but tomorrow it might be somewhere else. Canada and British Columbia as I hoped when I arrived, are starting to feel like a place I could call home. Like a sibling you never knew existed, this place appeared to my life as another euphoric entity replacing every little hole of doubt with its warm and welcoming ruggedness.

The Size of These…
The Size of These…
James setting up a bed for himself
James setting up a bed for himself

I’ve noticed, on the way (consisting everything, starting from acknowledging myself till this day) how fine is the line between fear and satisfaction. Sometimes there is no line, these two strong forces inside you merge like hot and cold air, with seemingly invisible but malevolent behaviour. Not only this, but on the way I’ve met a lot of passionate people and I’ve noticed how all of them seem to be driven by same fundamental inner motives. All of these feelings are bred and born on this constantly changing and stretching fine line. I guess this is where the saying “Rather live standing up than die on your knees” comes from.

Last-Of-Canada-10_optimized_2
Last-Of-Canada-9_optimized_2

We had an interesting discussion in the car with James, on the way back to Vancouver from the Rockies trip. “Are you ready to die?” I asked James as we were driving 110km/h on the freeway, which probably made his buttocks tense up against the motorised car seat as he replied “Does that mean you are about to push me out of the car now?” The point behind this was basically a thought; What are we waiting for? If there is no intention of being ready to lose everything, one is too reliant on the world around you, not ready to change, not ready to give away. Not that you would have to throw everything away right now, but its good to realise; it is going to happen, sooner or later, if one wants it or not and there is no guarantee when or how. Being passionate, living on the line, knowing that now is the only thing that matters will give you goose bumps, it will bring you happiness and peace. As corny as it sounds, today could be your last.

I’m not a preacher, no one has to listen to me, but to question me. For that, one has to understand, but not blindly agree with what I have to say. With my strong opinions, I’ve noticed very few people doing that. If one doesn’t get questioned, criticised or put against the wall, it’s very hard for one to learn. It doesn’t need a master in philosophy to come up with great ideas about existence, nor having to be a legend in physics to discover a new habitable planet, all it needs is pure curiosity.

Feet on the ground, mind somewhere else
Feet on the ground, mind somewhere else

In one hand, I hope no one reads this, as it’s more of a diary kind of writing than a photography blog post. On the other hand I hope someone, even one person will be inspired by it to give a thought for themselves, their own lives and what they can discover. Life is a continuous learning process, being interested in new things will bring something new to life, eventually.

All I can say is be curious, be passionate, be ready and the world is yours.

This is the last post of The M-road–series.

Thanks for reading

M.

Township, Windhoek, Namibia

Again, it’s been a while… Main reason has been that I started working immediately I arrived to Finland in February. On the other hand, this work has enabled traveling to rather interesting countries. I just arrived few days ago from Namibia and before that I was in Kazakstan, 3,5 weeks traveling all together.

I especially loved Namibia, weather was excellent and it is fairly safe compared to other Sub-Saharan countries. We didn’t have much time to explore Namibia, because our agenda was to create business in Namibia, but one night our partner showed us Township area. Township is basically a favela in Windhoek, but like nowadays in Rocinha, there are also people with normal income living in Township. This is caused by rapidly rising living costs in Windhoek city. We were visiting the area with two locals and we didn’t have to fear anything, I walked into a bar with my camera and nobody cared. Basically 90% of the people there wanted to greet us, since they knew our local friends.

I managed to take some photos, even though it was soooo dark there. I had to use ISO6400 almost all the time, so it kind of shows in the photos, but my intention was to capture the feeling what I felt there. Enjoy!

DSCF5158

DSCF5193

DSCF5182

DSCF5164

DSCF5161

DSCF5154

-Aleksi