In the awful rainy, windy and overall unpleasant weather, which got me sick today, being almost unable to speak in front of the students, I choose to dwell on the pleasant memories of my trip to Turkey during Euromicro 2012 this fall. It was my first trip to Turkey, and I did not know what to expect. It turned out to be very interesting and diverse with several surprises. Turkey appeared to me as a colorful place, with pleasant talkative people, excellent food, and kind calm animals walking freely everywhere around. Thanks to the Turkish friends who attended the same conference I tasted lots of dishes that were new to me, such as mussels stuffed with rice, kumru, ayran and extremely interesting ice cream made of the gum tree. The weather in early September was sunny and warm, and I even got tanned.
But most importantly, for the first time in my entire life I tried wind-surfing. Against expectations it wasn’t that very difficult to hold on and manage the sail. I can say that it was the love from first sight! And I am not even sure what I loved the most – being in the sun or salty water, wearing the surfing suit or the actual sailing 🙂 Anyhow, now I am exploring the opportunities of wind-surfing in Sweden. Fortunately, just 20 km away from Karlskrona there is a surfing school. Unfortunately, the season is very short – May to August, and it will probably take some time until I will be able to try it again here.
A couple of weeks ago, for the first time in my life, I have travelled to the other hemisphere – to Brazil. August – the last month of the winter. At the end of the Swedish summer.
When preparing for the trip I asked several friends who have been to that part of the other hemisphere what to expect, visited a doctor – got a couple of shots and a package of drugs against stuff that one may get in that part of the other hemisphere. I was checking the weather forecast for at least a month, and asked the friends who live in that part of the other hemisphere about the clothes I might need. One said that I should be prepared for anything between 10-25C, while the other insisted that I should take the summer clothes. I did follow both advice.
It was everything between 10-27C. I took my swimming suit with me, so I was even prepared to swim. I did. In the last month of the winter, in the other hemisphere, in an outdoor swimming pool. What can’t Brazilians, Scandinavians can 🙂
Brazil was full of contrast – rich and extremely poor – to the point that I have seen nowhere in Europe. Completely different. And diverse. With chaotic life in regions of private houses on the hills, parks that I would probably call jungle-like gardens, and seemingly dead life in skyscrapers areas, which I “monitored” from the hotel window. Every morning I woke up, and they were still there. I don’t know why, but this monumental view just froze me. Dusty, quite polluted, and yet, once you get out to the historic center in the middle of the night, you instantly feel the beat of music, loud laughs and lively optimism pouring from everywhere. In the other part of the hemisphere.
One week away from work, but my mind is already summarizing all the things I have managed during the summer. Many wonder what have been up to while on the vacation, and carefully ask whether I have been working… as usual. No, I have not… Here is a short report 🙂
I escaped Sweden in the end of June after more than stressful travel period. This time I decided to stay longer in Riga, and do as little work as possible. Yes, yes, it was a plan, and trust me, I have been working on it ever since. My plan was to do as much of things that I cannot do in Karlskrona as I could. And I have been working on it quite well too. For those living in Karlskrona this post might be an interesting insight into opportunities that Latvia and Riga, in particular, has to offer during the summer. Note that Riga is just a night-long ferry away from Stockholm, and is an affordable weekend destination. It has lots to offer and here I share some highlights from the festivals and places I have attended.
Additionally I highly recommend to check out www.liveriga.com
1. Only a few workaholic days. Deadlines. What can I do? But otherwise lots and lots of rest!
2. Sun and balticra.in – Thunder storms. Beautiful
3. Seaside and afternoons on the couch.
4. Late nights, late mornings.
5. Lunch with old and long unseen friends. One by one. Their life changed. They never do. And I like it.
6. Phone calls, long emails, short messages and tweets. I tweeted too! Yes I did!
7. Mushrooms, spiders and mosquitos on Wednesdays.
8. Jazz, bohemic gardens and a glass of white wine on Thursday evenings.
9. Festivals, loads of music and joy on Fridays. And Saturdays.
10. Although no trips to Helsinki this summer, a traditional escape from the heat to the Western Coast with my dearest mother – a trip to Ventspils 🙂
Interestingly spring does not come simultaneously to everyone. In the past few weeks I had a chance to step into its different stages in Sweden, Austria, Italy and for another week return to cold and snowy Latvia.
I have been in Innsbruck before, but during the summer and in the rainy weather, when the town is surrounded by the green walls of the surrounding mountains. This time, it revealed the fascinating beauty of the snowy mountain peaks – an unforgettable scenery. Despite the freshly cold mornings, the day sun’s warmth was burning and I have instantly caught a nice tan.
Although Bolzano is just a couple of hours away from Innsbruck, Italian spring has gone much faster much further. I arrived in the blossom of cherries, magnolia, chestnut trees, lilacs and countless flowers. The good weather however did not last long… and for two days I woke up in the clouds.
My next stop was Milan, the city of famous Duomo, the marvelous cathedral. The weather was fantastically warm, which could easily qualify as Swedish summer (or Latvian for that matter). Although Milan does not have the charm of Bolzano, it was a city worth visiting.