Saturday, January 26, 2019

Since winter goes on and on

I am not sure if the weather is taking its revenge for giving a great summer last year. What I know is that this year we had such amount of snow to make us all really yearn about summertime.
Although this is not necessarily valid for everyone. There are still those people who prefer to have winter all year round rather than summer.
For me, this is the time when I start to yearn summer, and it generally happens between January and February.
Those are my personal phases of the winter:
October: Oh, things are getting ready for the first snow, I can't see the time. I will take so many stunning pictures, I will see the beauty of the pure white environment, I can't see the time!
 November: Gosh! The first snow, yet it could be more, I hope it will snow so much that I can also make the taller snowman in the world! 

December: Wow, that is what I call a snowfall! Oh damn! the snowplow cars are stuck... oh well this will mean extra exercise! 

January: Ok, ok, I understood it's nice to see this white and pureness, can't we just slowly start melting away? 

February: CURSE YOU! Stop snowing alright!
March, if it is still snowing or the snow persists: That's it! I am packing my stuff and move to a tropical island! 

Generally, here in Helsinki, the snow lasts until mid-March, to melt away quite fast within two or three weeks, although there have been years where the snow remained until mid-May.
I think I am still traumatized by those experiences.
I saw my family living in Italy complaining about the weather that started already to be too hot, and I was still here, between scarves winter coat, hats, and gloves, hoping at least to be able to remove one item.
For now I am still hanging on, but I have already planned to be in Italy for Easter, so if here the winter will persist until then, I will at least have my escape plan ready.
Have a great weekend!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Finnish winter never cease to entice me...

It’s a magical world out there… but it’s also freezing LOL 

Finland like all the subpolar region’s countries can enjoy a long winter and a decent amount of snow. However, Scandinavian countries, although lie on the same latitudes as Alaska and Canada are blessed by the gulf stream, which allows them to enjoy warmer summer even at the northernmost part of it and milder winters than their American counterparts. 

Last summer it was an extraordinary warm summer and we could reach the 35C all over the country, but we feared that this was the start of a snowless series of winters. 

Something we didn’t for sure take into account is the unpredictability of Finnish weather, and as much we had an extraordinary warm summer, we are experiencing an extraordinary snowy winter. One of those winters I couldn’t remember since a long time. 

This is something we all can be glad about, particularly for the practical side of it, which is gaining extra light in an environment that would otherwise be extremely dark, due to the lack of sunlight. 

Nevertheless, there is also another side that makes me glad it is winter, and it is the magical sceneries I can live in every day, and since I am walking my way to work, this is something I wanted to share with you too. 

Therefore, here to you a few pictures of the magic of snow (a bit so to say as there is almost half a meter of snow out there!)  



Some people just simply give up and decide to take the car as soon as the snow melts, and I can totally understand, I wouldn't like to dig my car out of the snow every day. I do almost never use the car we have in the family, if not in extreme cases during the whole year.
This is a glimpse of my backyard. I generally leave something to eat for the birds outside, but recently every time I placed a bowl full of seeds or breadcrumbs, it started to snow quite heavily and the morning after everything was under the snow cover. I guess birds do not have an easy life out there, but they do not seem to be in trouble, particularly because many people leave food for them outside during the periods when the natural resources start to be scarce for them. 

This blog has been mostly dedicated to those enchanting pictures and I hope you enjoy the sceneries I have picked for this weekly post. 

With those pictures, I give you appointment to next week, wishing you a great weekend to you all! 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

LUX Festival or the light show festival in Helsinki

We all know how dark it can become Finland during the winter months. Even though Helsinki still receives a bit of sunlight during that period, this is not enough to be appropriately called 'daylight.'
So we need to recreate it artificially, and what better way to do it than arranging a festival of lights?
Lux festival is an annual five-day happening in the center of Helsinki, and it is arranged on the first days. This year it was between the 5th and 9th of January.
The festival presents light art on the main building sites of Helsinki along with those less beaten paths that maintain the culture and character of the city.
During these two days, from 17:00 to 22:00 buildings turn into urban artworks, created by projecting light shows.
A must see if you plan a visit in Finland during the winter.
For once I will let just the picture speak for me so this might be a shorter blog than my usual.
So here is some example of what you will enjoy whether you will have the chance to visit our beautiful country and city.

 The main church becomes a fantastic tribute to colors, (It should always be like that!)
The buildings of the city center show their dramatic side with strong contrasts and shapes.
when street art meets light the result is so stunning you won't even believe it.
And the main square looks so enchanting to literally fall in love with it.
This is one of the many reasons why I truly love Finland (along with the other places on Earth that were able to steal my heart). I love the attitude of its inhabitant of never giving up, or at least not that easily to the darkness of a long winter that requires more than just positivity to endure. And if necessary they will get out of that darkness that beauty that makes Finland unique.

I hope you enjoyed this 'light' tour to the darkness of Finland.
Have a great weekend!





Saturday, January 5, 2019

Welcome 2019 with some traveling tips

It has been already five days since we started the new year, and every social media was flooded with resolutions, but it seemed like many people stopped doing them. It made me think that perhaps we all know how crammed our lives will begin to look like and every day brings a new goal and resolution.
One thing that me, as the Wandering Writer, could not forecast is how difficult it can be to approach an Embassy when you need to apply for a visa. The difficulties start to arise when in your country there isn't any embassy of the country you'd wish to visit.
I will explain better. Nigeria is one of the targets I have in mind to visit this year, but in my country, there isn't any Nigerian Embassy. This means that I need to send my application to a neighbor country and hope for the best.
I always feel nervous about sending sensitive documents like passports to another country. Despite the option of having your package insured, there is nothing that can guarantee that it won't go lost or stolen.
In this case, I need to rely on my good luck and be ready to inform the police about any problem that can arise.
In this case, the main difficulty was the contrasting information we received from different authorities. A visa service provider we used so far, claimed that there wasn't any chance to get a multi-entry visa and the cost would have been 250 USD, other were saying that we could get the visa on arrival, so understanding what really had to be done wasn't an easy task.
As I always say, whenever you need any information about visa, there is only one office that will tell you the truth, the Consular Service at the Embassy.
But when this might seem an easy task, wait. I have sent them at least three emails and public messages, but never a reply.
Days ago I tried to call them, but the first attempt didn't give any result as the line was closed. I waited for a couple of days more, and finally, it seemed like I could connect with someone, but when I was put in the queue, the line went off.
They said that perseverance lead farther than anything else, and finally, I could talk with someone at the embassy who explained to me what I had to send them by post.
By the way:
Fact number 1. Getting a multi-entry visa to Nigeria is POSSIBLE.
Fact number 2. You can send the documentation to an Embassy hosted by another country by post.
Fact number 3. It doesn't cost 250 USD, but 110 USD plus a 20 USD handling fee.
The verdict: always check the facts with the embassy and trust NOT the first visa service provider you get, as they might not even be aware of the possibilities you might have.
This is already the second time that I have to correct a visa service provider. I think I might start a business LOL.
So end of the story, check only the fact with the Embassy, wherever you need to go, don't stop your quest in the first office that is closer to you. You might end up spending too much money and getting the wrong service.
As I said in a previous post, of the 11/11/17, when we traveled to Russia and Chechnya, and the visa provider wanted us to pay for two visas, one for Russia and one for Chechnya.
I repeat it: know your stuff!
I wish you a great weekend! See you next week.

Are we really happy?

This is a post about the myth behind the happiest country in the world: Finland. Once again, Finland has been declared the happiest country ...