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breathe in the snowflakes

I’ve managed to catch some breath from work and actually sort, edit and so on all the pictures from the Via Alpina trip this year. More emotions from the trip are also on the way.

pictures here

 

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I tripped, fell and landed on her strings

from Alastair Humphreys ” Thunder & sunshine”:

“Outside the snow sat a few inches deep. With a chewed and dirty fingernail I traced on my map a glorious route across China that would set the heart of  all intrepid souls racing. In a couple of day’s time I should reach the Great Wall. I brushed aside biscuit crumbs and looked at the Yellow River and Inner Mongolia, the land of Genghis Khan. On through Gansu province and into Xinjiang I continued. It showed all of that on my map, and a ring from my coffee mug, and my finger traced the expedition in my imagination. Maps are an invitation to adventure. Snow was falling and I was in a grubby, windowless room next to a pig. That was not on my map. Nor were the black muddy alleyways between the snow-covered mud-brick homes grimy with coal dust. Men were slewing homewards on mopeds, their blue workers’ hats and jackets covered in white. My socks were steaming and stinking on the stool beside the hot coal stove. None of that was on my map. A map is an idea, nothing more, a framework of geography for an adventure germinating in the back of your mind. From the frame of the map you hang your own discoveries. A blizzard curtailing a day’s ride, a pigtailed girl on a red moped, a quirky smile and a wave from a blacksmith. None of that was on my map. If it was then I could just have stayed at home and read my map. But those small details and glimpses of lives are what will stay with me  in years to come.”

I found this to be probably the best passage in his story from cycling around the world. But for myself, I didn’t connect it with maps, but pictures. Some pictures I take, actually turn out to be quite good. And they remind me of the days or places I’ve visited and can bring back the moment, when I had finished a 4 hour ascent to a col or found campsite after 12 hours of walking, even if years have passed.

via alpina ´10 601

It’s why we take those photos. But to others, it’s never the same. Everyone can and will interpret what they see to their liking and find something that talks to them – that’s why we ( I at least) spend quite a lot of time over others blogs trying to find something that resonates back. Often I even tend to scroll over the text and only look at the pictures. Which is kinda sad because sometimes writing even a short text can be more effort than taking a picture.


I tend to avoid making New Years’ resolutions – or at least make them public, ’cause I’m just that kind of person. But, as was pointed out maybe it is easier to keep yourself focused when you HAVE openly declared that you will do or at least try to do something.

It might serve some purpose to keep it all secret and then come up victorious to bask in the admiration of others. But is that the reason that drives people to do great things?

But if we share – what great things might come of it? Would we receive encouragement and support? Maybe. Would we gain companions? Possibly. And if we happen to fail despite of our efforts? Could we be criticized? I think – never, by those whose opinion matters to us.

So here are my resolutions:

* Finish the last leg of Via Alpina Red Trail from Champex-Lac to Monaco

* Put at least 5000km of human powered travel behind me, be it cycling, hiking, running, swimming, skiing, paddling or something else. (Last year it was about 2800)

* Get out more with other people

* Two outings per month to places NEVER visited before

Anyone up for some resolutions of their own?


from insult to injury

As my long term hiking plans include the Haute Route Pyrenees then I consider having a vague understanding of the languages spoken there a great benefit. Last and this summer I managed to make myself understandable to a lot of German speaking people thank to the many years of learning the language in school. I had to use English on very few occasions and I was very happy about it.

One reason why I postponed finishing the Via Alpina red trail next summer is the fact that it goes mainly through France. And despite the fact that I have spent some time learning some basics I still can’t say that I speak French un peu. Not to mention Spanish. A friend of mine told that she learned the latter language by watching soap operas that our tv airs in insufferable amounts. But no matter how fine the ladies in there might look I’m not willing to watch a second of those programs.

So I decided to visit some other, more english speaking country and hopefully find a way to improve my French and maybe Spanish. This isn’t going very well at the moment.

But now something cool has turned up. I was watching the ever interesting TED talks this late evening and the last one was by Luis von Ahn. He is the creator of CAPTHCA and after apologizing for that he revealed his last project called Duolingo. It seems to be a very useful way of learning vocabulary and phrases and I think that it can be used to getting used to hear foreign languages. I have currently signed up for Spanish-beta, but hopefully will get some French between my ears too.

Duolingo site

Luis von Ahn: massive-scale online collaboration 


as innocent as a tumor

I came across this video about two weeks ago. And for two weeks I had it loaded and opened in my computer, knowing that I probably won’t like what I’d see. but still I kept it ready to be watched.  I had heard about Terry Pratchett’s illness, but was still extremely surprised. Mainly, because generally people don’t make public.. hard time to find a suitable word here.. “appearances” if you would. Then again, Sir Pratchett is no ordinary man. What you more often hear is that people, who discover that they have a terminal illness, set out to see the world, fulfill their bucket list and try to maximize the time left. They all seem to do everything not to think about the inevitable. Not to  set out on a journey to learn about the possibilities to “cheat” death… to go on one’s own terms and time, given the situation. Terry learns about possibilities  of assisted dying – a way that seems to be the best way out and about the experiences of the people of similar fate. And as he says in the end – he not sure if he would be capable of this. It can be very disturbing, ’cause you see a person taking his life. But it is also thought provoking. It probably raised enough debates on subjects like ethics and morality in even Youtube commentaries.

It’s by no means an easy piece to watch.

Terry Pratchett – Choosing to die


left hand sigarette

I’ve driven past the Aravete go-cart tracks and ski-tracks multiple times and noticed a small path marked with tape indicating a MTB singletrack. It was until today I managed to get there and check it out. The markings were old and confusing, but after some scouting I managed to put the most interesting parts together. Still plenty of possibilities for different variations though. Got only 10km on the clock, but rather technical. There have been some competitions, but as it seems not recently, which is too bad.


and on the eight day, God created beer

You can bring any cuisine to Estonia, you can even get a chef from that country here, but you cannot bring the eating culture along. No matter where you eat out Estonians will still have bread with most dishes and drink Cola or milk. I think that a foreign kitchen should be authentic to the end. It won’t be enough if you hang some paper lanterns or build an imitation of a wood-stove if you don’t use it or have a huge beer fridge right in the middle of the place. That’s just lame. It would be great if you could go out and actually learn about the eating culture of the Italians or Asians or whomever in those places.

And I would very much like an ancient Roman style place where eating turn into orgy with fighting, foor-throwing and fornicating.


olympic loser

 

mehed.. ma näen nagu loom!

 


boobs.. what other motivation do you need

I feel like I’m gonna need like a ton of boobs right now. Just to boost up my motivation, of course. But not the whole ton at once. In small pieces preferably. “Handfuls” isn’t the right word, but it’s the first that comes into mind.  Things happening at work are just unbeliveable. Even nightmares don’t have nightmares so hardcore


lightning bolts on my wanger

note to myself – take pictures of everything, everybody and everywhere, ’cause the pictures you take for your liking might be uninteresting to others

and try to avoid using the word “hooker” in your posts, ’cause that might bring you unwanted attention – it seems like a lot of people are looking for those