My mother has become addicted to birdwatching, and this addiction somewhat has passed on me too. Recent interest has motivated us to look through the photos taken in the past, and we realized that without even knowing it, we have captured quite a number of interesting and even rare birds. Here is the first post devoted to ducks and geese (and alike). More to come later.
Some time in October or November, when it was already dark, wet and cold, I decided to book a flight to Barcelona and enjoy the sunny Spanish winter at least for 10 days. The end of the year was incredibly busy and since accumulated number of working over hours at the end of 2012 accounted 200, I thought that 10 days of rest are well deserved. The end of the year I spent in Riga, and the weather was… not very Christmasy. It was around 0 till +3, mostly wet, mostly rainy but with occasional snow that instantly turned into dirt. So, no white Christmas, no fun at all. Additionally, all through the holidays I couldn’t avoid at least part time work that I was happy to finish before the year ends, leaving all old ties behind. This made the desire to escape even stronger.
I have been to Barcelona several times (one of my favorite cities), and even in December-January once, but this time, in the middle of January, it was warmer and stranger than I expected. Strange because of the contrasts. Sunny warm days, around +13 degrees on average, people walking in light jackets, and some even without. Everyone wearing sun glasses (I bought a new pair too)… (Relatively) green grass, blossoming trees and simultaneously naked trees with dry leaves left from the last year as a reminder that there was an autumn before the winter came.
I travelled with my mother, who always craves for warmth and sun in the winter and kindly supported the whole idea. After long and painful search for a place to stay, we chose a beautiful B&B that was situated just 3 km from the seaside outside of the city with clear air and wonderful surroundings. It turned out to be better than a 5-star hotels we could stay at. Every morning we stayed on veranda facing the sea, to get the morning sunshine. We looked at the mimosa tree in the garden to see whether it burst into flowers. It did a little bit more and more, every day. The goal this time was not to see more of the unique city of Barcelona, but to enjoy the calm peaceful time off from routine and cold in the middle of winter. Unfortunately, the lazy mood made me push the plan of making a photo session to the next day, until it was too late…. One day I caught a flu and was chained to bed… Thanks to the enormous care and kindness of our B&B hosts we survived until the departure (which until the end we were mentally ready to postpone). I spare the details here, as the memory is very fresh and I don’t really want to return there. To make the story short: magically, after 48h the fever was gone. And although I am still recovering, at least my head is clear and I am able to post something about my unusual winter trip to Spain before returning to the duties of working life.
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.
Who wants to join?