Saturday, April 28, 2018

May Day in Finland (and some announcements too)

Next Tuesday, the 1st of May, in Finland it is not only celebrated the International Workers Day but is a celebration that finds its origin back in the remote past, and with the time it has become a sort of mixture of feasts.
So, lets start with the first that is the PAGAN SPRING FEAST. The May Day represents the mid-period between the two solstices and marks the victory of the spring over winter and the sunlight over the darkness. Now to add a personal note, I have to say that spring, although spring has yet to come, we can definitely consider the end of the winter, as we can say that there is no more snow on the ground and the temperatures keep over zero.
In the ancient times, the spring fest was called hela, and it marked the time when the cattle could be brought to the pasture for the first time after the long winter.
The second one is the St. Walburgas day. This is a feast that was started after the Christianization of Finland. Walburga was the daughter of a Saxon king, and she served as an abbess in a convent in Germany. In Finland, the May Day is called Vappu, (in Swedish Valborg) which is a name derived from the saint.
It is also a STUDENT FEAST because this is the day chosen by Students Union of the University of Helsinki to celebrate the ending of the students year.
During the 30th of April and the 1st of May, the streets of the whole country are filled with all sort of colorful happenings, but as you can imagine, the main cities are those where you can expect most of the celebrations.
Helsinki transforms itself in a sort of Rio Carnival (without the dancing girls and the risks for your own life) for one day, and people gather outside to enjoy the sun (if it decides to show up)
The most common thing to do is having a picnic on the main parks, whether it is the one in Kaisaniemi, on the Esplanadi or the largest one in Kaivopuisto, there isnt a place that cannot be suitable for gathering and having fun.
The Finnish way!!
However, the real celebration for the Hela is set for the following week, exactly the 11th of May, and it is called Helatorstai (which is a good chance to have a long weekend from work by taking Friday free.

As a bottom note, I have an announcement, and perhaps you have also noticed by yourself. If not, The Book section contains now the link to my new author website. There, my writings life is taking over my wandering life, and I have all the flexibility I need to showcase all my books, explain a bit of myself, telling a couple of fun facts about my complicated life as a geologist, writer, wanderer, amateur photographer and whatever else.
On the left side of this blog, I have also added the link where you can find all my books in the same place, which is my author page on Amazon. Moreover, I have also added the link to give you all the chance to get to know my writing (in case you arent yet familiar with) and I have set for free a copy of my first novel A Tale of a Rough Diamond.
I wish you all a great weekend as for many people around the world it will be a longer one!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

"At night, a gentle knocking on my door..." (and some news)

The title might sound a bit creepy, and believe me, at least for me, it was more than scary.
As you know, I am working in a remote place in the  middle of nothing for the realization of a new building complex.
I have been thinking many times about what would happen if I need help during the night. The closest inhabited place is kilometers away, and I guess that the next police station is not closer that 20 kilometers away, so if something happens, I think I am on my own.
This thought didn’t bother me before a few nights ago.
It was 02:30 AM, and the silence was complete either inside my house and outside of it, when:

Knock… knock… knock…

A gentle knocking on my door woke me up.
It was the kind of knocking that you hear in the horror movie, when the maniac or the monster is trying to get on your nerves, before smashing the door down with an axe or a chainsaw.
I was frozen.
The only thing I was able to do is crawling to the kitchenette and grab the kitchen knife.
Of course I hadn’t slept for the rest of the night, paying attention to all the small noises coming from the house.
The alarm clock didn’t surprise me, but I was still wondering whether whoever was knocking on my door would have bee waiting for me until the morning after.
However, considering that the night was still quite cold in northern Finland, I considered still unfeasible, so I opened the blinds of the windows and checked outside.
There was nothing to be spotted, so I considered the threat over.
However, as I reached the kitchenette to have my morning  coffee…

Knock… knock… knock…

The maniac came back again…

At that point, I wanted to understand who it was, and grabbing all my courage, I went to look out…
Do you want to see who the maniac was? Here are some of his relatives:

Birds, who were looking for small pieces of woods from the frame of the veranda.
I could not keep my laughter, and I laughed at my sensitivity and to the ease with which I figured out the most scary option. Nevertheless, this also means that spring is finally coming, if the birds are gathering pieces of woods from fences and trees to make their nest, they cannot be wrong.
Starting of Spring doesn't only mean milder weather and birds, but also that I can spend more time in the outdoors fulfilling my second hobby, Photography! and nature. The best therapy for stress

I also have some more news to tell, which concern this blog.

Don't you worry! I will continue to wander and bring you some fantastic destinations in this blog, together with some news about releases.


What I wanted to say is that the blog will continue as usual, but the section "books" seems to be too hard to update in blogger. I have noticed that the page cannot host an endless list of books, so I decided that the section "Books" will contain a link to my new author website (I am going to set it up today, so you want to keep an eye to the updates also in this blog during the day).
Time by time, the wandering writer will change hat into the marketing writer, just as usual, whenever I have some news to tell about new launches of books and whenever, like in this case something interesting and funny happens in my life.
I would also appreciate if you would let me know whether you find the section of my photography interesting (even if not necessarily related to travels), and I will try to fit that also into the weekly blog.
Now, as usual, I wish you a great weekend and stay tuned for the next travel.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Back to the wanderings, an old adventure in the land of clocks and chocolate...

Here we are again, with another adventure that came to my mind just yesterday. This is referring to a journey I did back in the days, when I was still a student in Germany and for the holidays I was coming back home to Italy.
The fact I am going to tell happened in a very interesting country named Switzerland.
At the time I was studying in Germany for my masters Degree and during the summer I was coming back home in Italy for the holidays. The first year, I decided to take the night bus from TΓΌbingen to Milan, and then the train. Since it was night, I cannot say that I could enjoy the scenery or to tell whether I liked to visit Switzerland more carefully or not, but what happened that night convinced me to visit it on my way back to Germany.
So, I was on the bus, it was already late evening and I started to fall asleep, when at the border the bus stopped, and the border police came inside for the passport control.
Without even thinking twice, I took my rucksack fetched my wallet, and with horror I realized that all the IDs, identity card, passport driving license remained on the table of my room at the campus.
The only ID I had was the University card, not much for an ID
The police reached me, and I tried to explain the situation, hoping he would have not brought me out of the bus and send me back to Germany where I could not even come back and get my documents. I needed to have them having mercy for me.
It passed minutes and then one hour later, they came back and asked me about my address back in Italy and in Germany, contact people, family members. Everything that was possible to be asked they did ask, and I replied sometimes feeling hopeless and hopeful.
They left once again, but after another half an hour they came back and said that I could continue the journey. You cannot imagine how did I feel, it was like a big stone fell from my heart.
Of course, the first thing I did when I came back home was to do another ID card, so to avoid repeating the incident. However, I did also something else, I changed the ticket back and decided to stay one week in Geneva. I wanted to visit Switzerland as I thought I needed to know more about it.
So, Geneva it was.
Like many other cities the best part lies in the old part of the town where you can still breathe its history, and be prepared with a good amount of cash, because the city is very expensive. You can definitely arrange yourself in one hostel and have a cheap accommodation, but the general cost of life is clearly higher than generally in Europe. Nevertheless, it is a sacrifice worth doing.
The best way to take a look at the city, is definitely by climbing the St. Peter Cathedral

This is a reformed protestant church built in 1160 but completed only a century after and went through many renewals and additions.
The main style is Romanesque and even if climbing the towers (I haven’t count the stairs) might be deterrent for those who are not really into fitness, I heartily suggest doing it, you will thank me later, when you are able to admire 360 degrees of Geneva city.
Don't miss the chance to have a walk to the old city and stop to one of the many cafeterias to enjoy something for which Switzerland is famous for: the chocolate.
In many variations possible, with so many assortments to tempt you in a warmth embrace, don't think about your diet for a moment and let the maitre chocolatier bring you into their world.
After all, you will have the whole day to walk around and burn those extra calories.
By all means, let this beautiful country entice you with its beauty, history, and delicacies, you will never forget. 
To be honest I am also planning to come back, even I am thinking to travel to other cities and discover something more about it.

I hope you enjoyed this small tour of the beautiful (and delicious) Geneva, and I wish you a great weekend, giving you appointment for next week!

The long road of writing a book.

Publishing a book is a journey on a rocky path that involves several stages, from writing and pre-editing to editing, formatting, selecting ...