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By Asmodeane in Posts, Travel

Whoa! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? A bit over two months, in fact… Depressing. Oh, I tried updating before today, but something just made me hang my hands and quit at the first sign of writer’s block. The change of seasons and the onslaught of Spring can be traced through the many autosaved drafts of that one update I’ve tried to write, from the first rays of proper sunlight to the disappointment of the late April snow, ending with the first leaves and sunny days that smell of Summer.

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The grave beckons...

A bit unnerving.

So what’s been up? The title sort of says it all. It’s been a busy two months, at least when it comes to traveling. So let’s re-cap. First, flew to Dusseldorf, then took a train to Köln to see grandma and aunt, and of course the darling little cousin. That was the first time I’ve visited them since 2006, I think. Or maybe even 2005? I can’t quite recall. The last time I visited Grandpa was still alive, although he was already in a bad way. This time I only got to visit his grave. Quite creepy, seeing your own first and last name on a headstone. I was named after him, see… Anyway, it was a visit well spent. The reunion was happy and noisy, the family is as crazy as ever, and although it is always sad to see your relatives age, it was nice to see the young ones grow. I guess that’s just the way life is.

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I staid in Köln for four days, visiting Bonn as well. Ambled around the old town, saw Beethoven’s home, some nice churches and squares, and then jumped on a tram and in about an hour or so was back in Köln. Basically all I did in Köln was hang out with grandma, walk about the city and sit in bars and cafes with wifi. Oh, I also bought a watch, just like I planned. I got kinda bored with my digital Casio, so found a Citizen Marinaut, Eco-Drive, at a discount for 150€. Woulda set me back 250€ in Finland. And that was that for Germany. I hopped on a train to Dusseldorf, boarded my plane, and was back in Finland in no time. And not even drunk.

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Your typical Prague picture

Behold, Prague.

Then there was Prague again. Our company was invited to a biometric security conference, so I came along. I didn’t do much in Prague, except eat and sleep. I’ve been to Prague in 2000, plus was there for a day trip only a month or so before, so it didn’t excite me the way it could have. Plus being there without friends didn’t really get me in the mood. So I had a few pints here and there, walked around the old town, took a few photos and that’s it. Still, it was better than being at work. Besides, I also got to visit Copenhagen at the same time, since our flight was routed through it. Btw, couldn’t help but notice one startling difference between the Czech Airlines and Finnair stewardesses. You can guess what it was yourself.

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It's in Hania.

Majestic sunset in Hania

And lastly, but by no means leastly, I was in Crete. My girlfriend’s father wanted to spend his 60th birthday in Crete, where he spent his birthday exactly 20 years before, deciding to take the extended family for a ride! One of my good friends is married to the sister of my girlfriend, so the company was good. We stayed in Crete for 7 days. The first day was rainy as hell, the second a bit better, and it was all clear for the rest of the week. We climbed hills (sweaty), drove around mountains (scary), swam in the sea (cold), walked the gorges (hard)… An all-round perfect holiday. We also rented a MB Vito for 3 days, which we used to visit Knossos, Balos Beach, Elafonissi Beach, the towns of Rethymno and Kissamos… I drove about 700km in 3 days. Driving that mini-wagon was nice, it was a bit like steering a big boat. The only minus was not being able to drink any of the fine local beer during those three days. And boy would I have liked some on those perfect beaches… Oh, and I finally broke my trusty Powershot 570IS. Dropped it on the rocks on a beach, and it was all queer after that until finally dying in the Samaria Gorge. Will have to find a replacement soon… The warranty won’t cover it, since I already broke it once while snowboarding in Slovakia, and they then gave me a new one.

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Descent to Balos Beach!

Descent to Balos Beach!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, I thoroughly recommend Crete to anyone. The main thing is not to get bogged down in the vacation/party villages. They are either full of geriatrics and families with kids or young semi-retarded brits and germans that puke and piss around like there’s no tomorrow and then nurse their hangovers on the beach the following morning. Not that I am saying there’s anything inherently wrong with going on a relaxing beach holiday with the kids, or partying till sunup with slightly older kids, but there’s just so much more to having a good time in a place as varied and as beautiful as Crete. So rent a car, or a scooter, or a bike. Actually, don’t rent a bike. Not unless you want to climb steep mountainsides and risk life and limb from local cars speeding around the corners. For long drives, be motorized. And preferably on top of four wheels.

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So that’s that for now. I’ll try getting the boat into the water this weekend, on Sunday May 17th, and then it’s new horizons for me. Or old ones, since I’ll be working all summer, but still, it’s sailing. I just hope the weather won’t disappoint. And that it won’t snow much in the Summer.

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Ok, then a few links. First, there is this awesome study that’s been going on in Harward since the late 30s, a study to determine what makes a happy man. They took what, 268 men and followed them for 72 years. No conclusive reults, but still makes for a fascinating read! Read the whole thing here… I recently read another thought provoking article, but of a different nature. Are we doing more harm than good to Africa with our aid? Dambisa Moyo argues that yes, we do. Here is her personal website, and here is an interesting interview with her. But for now, enough.

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  1. Your links suck this time!! Die!!



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