Monday, 13 February 2017

A White touch

 I feel so energised after spending a weekend in the east part of Netherlands, nearby Arnhem. This is a more hilly part of Holland, about 20 km from German border. The winter was showing the best natural compositions with the white powdered shapes. All the mud, dirt and green was covered with the endless amount of snow flakes, which landed to the flat lands and curvy hills in one winter night. It felt like a gentle, friendly touch. So calming and peaceful was the sunday, so joyful were the people walking in the woods and going down the hill with full speed. 

This was just a short play of winter. The temperature is already rising, the sun is shining and it will melt all the snow very fast this week. It is important to enjoy the moment when you can and make the best out of every season. I am glad we could have at least one real winter weekend and the children could play with this element and learn the nature of it. The nature and character of snow, which is so familiar to me from my childhood. I find water in all its forms one of the most interesting elements in our planet. The frozen water and the individual snow flakes are unique, disappearing beauties. And thinking of the ice, the melting of the big ice areas in the North pole and in the Antarctica is really worrying. Especially the very strong layers of old ice are disappearing fast. The year 2016 was the hottest year in our planet on record ! 

The temperature rise in the North Pole 

Antarctica's ice is melting from beneath

Lisää kuvateksti
After a cool morning outdoors, when your hands started to froze and the feet were so cold, it is nice to enjoy the warmth. Wearing the best investment for the winter - a pair of real woollen socks, and drinking something warm. Still we have to appreciate the cold and the seasons, which we do not want to lose. And appreciating all we have.. means not only words and talk - it means actions. In the individual level this can be reducing your personal environmental food print.

I did the test. Unfortunately the map doesn't have all the countries there yet, but I used the closest one available, Luxembourg. Compared to average person from there, my ecological footprint was 3,8 when a average Luxemburger has 4,1. If everybody on this planed lived like me, it would need the recourses of 4 planet earth. It is shocking. The first thing I have to do is eat less animal products, travel less, favour local product and travel more locally. I do not buy new products very often - meaning clothes, furniture and other luxury products. I think we really have to think our energy use and start to plan using the sun energy for our needs - seriously !!

The sun is burning through the window to the spot I am writing this in a cafe...teasing me and saying: "Come out". I am making me a promise now to start to be more aware about my choices every day!! This has been my path lately: focusing on choices, personally. This means also my personal choices to react on things, how I take care of my relationships with other people, how I listen to myself and how I should take part more - making good choices and changes. Everything starts on a individual level and has an influence for other people and our environment. 

With these thoughts, as an inspiration for everybody, I wish a great week and joy of life for everybody. The beautiful nature pictures and moments spent outside are giving me the fresh power kick I need for this season. 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Potential situations

Surprise, surprise... I was at the beach again this weekend. It is so incredible how peaceful it looks in these pictures and still it was very windy and cold out there. It was almost too much to walk against the wind and I had to warm up my hands for a long time after taking photos. I had a good distance from the water this time and was more inspired walking beside the higher dunes, which are protecting the coastline of Holland against the water masses of Atlantic ocean. 

This windy beach walk was just a small struggle compared to the fact that the Netherlands is also preparing this vulnerable coastal area against climate change and possible super storms, which could wipe away a huge part of this country when hitting the coastline of Holland. I would not like to think of this possibility, but even they have builded some extra protection: dams, storm gates to stop the water masses and made the dunes stronger to keep this country dry, the nature can be unpredictable. The climate change will make the storms stronger and there will be more of them in the future. After a last very big flood in South Holland 1953, the planning and building the protection against the flooding has been taken very seriously in this country. The dutch people have seen the potential in this flatland and worked hard so it is possible to live here as a neighbour of the big blue sea, the force of Nature that we have to respect.


To protect the country, which is mostly under the sea level, they have for example builded a huge storm gate in Rotterdam (picture 1), which is supposed to stop the bigger water masses in case of a flood. Rotterdam harbour is one of the biggest in the world and largest in Europe.

Storm gate in Rotterdam (1)

Afsluitdijk, a dam separating the Atlantic ocean from the IJsselmeer
There has been floods in Amsterdam too. Since one bigger one they builded a big,32 kilometres long dam in Norh of Holland(picture 2, build between 1927 and 1932), that separates the Atlantic ocean from the South Sea bay (Zuiderzee), which is now called IJsselmeer (a sweet water lake, which gets most of the water from the Ijssel river). Before they builded this dam, there was a big risk that the flood from the Atlantic ocean could easily reach Amsterdam and other parts of the country. And even there has been huge projects like Delta project in Zeeland, in the South Part of Holland, this protection seems to be a process that will never end. The weather type is changing and all the work and planning needs to be up dated constantly. It is good to be realistic, but I am keeping my hope high that there will be happening more an more during the next years to stop the climate change. 


I share you some impressions from the Castricum beach. 

I was enjoying my time at the beach even it was cold. Luckily some restaurants are open all year round and you can always step in for a hot drink. My favourite lately is a hot ginger tea made from fresh pieces of Ginger.

It was like a museum of still life in a noisy and windy theatre stage. Some of us brave ones getting fresh air and forgetting all the other noice from everyday life. The scenographer or the art director of this movie scene was still making plans for the summer I think. Hiding somewhere in these abandon looking buildings and ruins on the sand. I am looking forward to the masterplans for this coming summer season.  

Take away coffee here..not a bad idea!
Some beach restaurants and clubs are taken down in every autumn and build again in the next spring. It is interesting to see all these piles and wooden frames here and there. Actually it even makes everything more interesting and photogenic somehow. How many perfect beach pictures, landscapes and nature captures there are in the internet? So many that you sometimes even become bored seeing all that perfection and the ultimate result of all editing work.

Absolutely nothing wrong there, but sometimes you need to see and feel the raw reality and see the beauty in there. That works as an reminder that we need to do something to make things work and better. The ability to see the potential of the moment in a given context is good skill to have. That has driven people to design solutions and make further plans..and photographers too make good pictures. I think we have to keep our eyes open in many directions and respect the real life. More time with the friends and the family, more time outside, more time making things by hands, more time being aware who we are and letting our creativity come out in many fields of life:-). 

The piles of a beach club...coming soon :-)

Shadow art
Lisää kuvateksti

Human made spider net :-)

The real tuesday is waiting for me. Writing this with my own hands with the help of the computer was a good moment to look back on my weekend and get ready to make the best out of today. I wish you a wonderful day with full of interesting moments!

A video of Holland's barriers to the Sea

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

January visions

Today we had a black morning in Amsterdam - The power outage early this morning affected to the public transportation and to the normal morning routines in many households. When I woke up and wanted to turn on the lights nothing happened at first, but after a one minute the power cut was off in our case. I slept happily in my bed without knowing the night was even darker than usual without any streetlights. The vulnerability of our modern system is there, even it is easy to forget. The luxury of light, heating, transportation, shopping and many other things is something we are used to. The electricity is making so many things easier and possible. This sort of interruption is always a good reminder and also making me think we should be better prepared and more ecological with our use of energy. I have been thinking for a while we should install the sun panels on our roof top. 

Netherlands is the first country in the world testing the opportunities using the solar panels on the surface of roads. The first solar bike path was build in Krommenie, a town north of Amsterdam. The solar panels are between glass layers, silicon rubber and concrete and are strong enough to support 12-tonne fire trucks without any damage. There are now plans to roll the technology of SolaRoad to other provinces of Netherlands in the future. Similar plans are now also made and signed in California, USA and in 2016 the first 1 km long solar road was build in Normandy, France. The new innovations are giving more opportunities for collecting and producing the energy we need. 

We were having a nice energy walk at the beach on Sunday. For me the element of water is very important to see in a bigger scale regularly. We will go to the beach more often this year, because it is such a balancing, surprising and mind clearing way to relax - just walking, listening and breathing there. Especially the winter is even more inspiring sometimes by the sea. The waves seem to shape the coastline more powerfully during the colder season and the beach looks different every time.

It is fun to follow the solar path at the beach. The sun is often giving a bit of light, even through grey clouds. Many times it has been raining in the City and we still decided to go to the beach and the weather has been just perfect there. Like it was again in Bloemendaal on sunday.

This time the water line was full of starfishes and my daughter was fascinated by seeing these beautiful creatures. She was worried that some of them, washed too far to the dry land along the waves, would die when not being able to go back to the sea. She spent some time moving many of them back to the water. This was also the first time she saw seastars and it was wonderful to see how she wanted to help them. 

Winter surfers with their minimal silhouettes are fun to watch.

Every time there are horses at the beach too.

A rescue team and the police arrived to the beach, hopefully no one was in trouble in the water.

After a long walk and finding interesting details like shells and crayfish scissors, we went for a luch at the beach restaurant. What I love about Holland is that there is always nice fish meals also on the menu. This time we tested the portion of shells and it was very tasty. 

Now the life is back to normal rhythm again after a long holiday season in December. I hope the year has started well to you !! I think the worst grey, season is over now. Yesterday I found out that the 3rd monday of the year( which was yesterday), is always a "blue monday", the most depressive day of the year. Well, for me it was a sunny, positive day with a clear blue sky. Anyway the life can be challenging, tiring and boring sometimes. But the blue sky combined with the bright sun is making it easier to go on. I feel I also learned about something new about myself during my winter sleep:-). I learned I can change the wrong tracks of my thoughts by being aware, giving me some time to consider and this way letting me to see the other possible options and solutions in the situations. I feel I am more in charge of my visions and reactions this time and ready for the new set of seasons again. The great thing of getting a bit older every year is "it seems to be I am more and more willing to get to know myself better". This means I am also getting more understanding considering the other people in my life. It is wonderful!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Winter investigation

The winter is holding its breath, the Nature is hiding the colours. Like all the green, red, blue, yellow and other shades are sucked under the ground. Is the vital life hiding somewhere until it is time to spread over the fields and up in the trees? - to be seen and to be heard again. 

During the Christmas weekend I put on my old boots and went for a walk in the woods. It was windy and I was glad when I got deeper, following the small paths. The further I got, the more protected I felt. There was no decoration, there was no signs of the holiday season. The natural world took it easy, the plants were showing their winter positions. The trees were like statues with their dramatic poses and the grass made deep stretching toward the ground. Some sort of yoga, silent and done with the highest patience. 

Even the days are slowly getting longer again, I totally lost my sense of time when having my dreamy walk. The darkness surprised me and I was supposed to walk back along the country road. The half an hour walk from the forest to the village. There was no pedestrian part, I just walked on the side of the small highway. No street lights and I did not wear any reflectors. I stepped to the side every time I heard a car coming closer. The walk was getting longer than planned and my mind started to create stories. 

The whole empty scenery started to look like a living crime story. I was seeing myself from the outside and how I wanted to get fast home. I saw in my mind how one car would stop and how I would refuse to get inside when offered a ride. I saw myself running through the fields escaping. I saw myself shouting "help" and seeing far away light, people celebrating the christmas in their warm houses. 

When the fear started lurking in my mind and tried to take the charge and when the only evidence of movement was the light line from the passing car. I moved my feet, stopped and let the silence and the darkness whisper the supporting words. I stopped listening my imagination and started to trust in the moment. Enjoying being the only one in that minute whitnessing the beauty of the moment. Like a reindeer or like a wolf, letting myself to be part of the wild world.

The turbulence of mind was getting slower and my eyes got used to the dark shades. The abstract forms of the blowing air and the walking, balancing on a muddy side of the road. One of the nicest moments in this weekend. 

The landscape looked so untouched next morning, like there was no mystery created by human mind. No evidence of the dark side steps. Everything was on the same spot...

like this leave, resting and taking everything as it comes. The year will change soon, the bigger number will be the symbol of the new start and the new set of our seasons. Let it be a good year and full of love, health and respect to every living form in this planet. This means we better investigate and study our possibilities to make things better in our personal lives and with a connection to the environment both locally and globally. Unfortunately we can't just take it as it comes, because the balance between the natural world and the creations of human mind is already shaken and we live in turbulence. But still, with a positive mind and full of hope I wish you a good and a happy new year !!

Monday, 12 December 2016

A Grey palette

Very many mornings in the winter time are appearing misty and mysterious. When the darkness goes away, the grey wall takes the place and seems to hide the secrets of the word behind it. The soft looking air is inviting for walks at the park or even in the centre of the City. It seems this grey filter is making the nature and the busy streets looking like a black and white movie scenery. This inspired me one morning to have a little adventure in Amsterdam. 

Waking up by walking first in the foggy Nature and almost feeling the thickness of the moist, sparkling air. Some drops falling from the low hanging clouds, drinking the watery air by every breath I took. It was almost like being out of the City. The mist made all the sounds soft, the sounds of the distant traffic was pushed away with my misty morning walls. The dutch winter romance painted by the clouds without a colour, making the horizon invisible. The time almost stopped, the movement disappeared. I had to step out from this wonder moment, to go and see if the City still existed. 

And the life had not disappeared. The cohesion of living energy stimulated me, my thoughts and my day! Clearing the mist from my slow November mood and giving me some inspiration again. How many secrets this City has and how the creativity is blooming in the stony streets. There are also tourists even the winter time is more quiet, but the tourism is always present in the centre. Bringing the money and possibilities, but also making the life more tight and expensive in the central areas. The most charming thing in the Central part of Amsterdam is the presence of the history and the local ideas and the people. 

The reputation as a big fun entertainment park with coffeeshops, drugs and commercial sex seems like a far away reality for most of the local people and families. For me this place is a treasure world of art, history, food and freedom. But there is so many different ways to see Amsterdam, depending on the age and the interests you have. There is something for everybody for sure. This is one of the most inspiring cities in Europe, but the peace and the beauty of it should be also protected.

a nice, modern houseboat!

Noordermarkt, a nice coffee and apple pie in this corner cafe.

You can't avoid the surprise element when walking by the canals and the streets of Amsterdam. I was walking along the Princengracht (a famous canal with many small shops, museums and sights like Anne Frank house). I started my walk from the Noordemarkt, where is a big second hand and a food market on every monday and saturday. A good place to watch the people and have a coffee.

The best surprise of the day for me was to find this little art gallery called Ron Mandos. I had walked this street so many times and never seen the gallery before. I went inside and watched the actual exhibition of Isaac Julien : Looking for Langston. The exhibition showed photographs and a film. Julien is making a nostalgic portrait of a Langston Hughes, who was fighting against the racism and the discrimination by his writings and poetry and standing for the African-American culture. He was a gay, but never openly came out. At the exhibition you can see and feel how the desire and the sexual identity was somehow forced to be hidden in early decades of 20th century and how being a African-American gay was far beyond accepted and how things have changed later on. It was interesting to see this art collection as my last visit was the Marilyn Monroe exhibition. The process of studying the feminine and the masculine goes on!

Every day is unique, based on the perspective we choose by being active or sometimes adapting to the given situation or just doing something we have to do. Our choices are often based on the mood and the energy level we have. Even this misty, dark season makes me more tired, I have decided to fight against it a bit by making stimulating and mindful choices in every day life. 

Grey days can be charming. I find grey colour calming and I associate it as a symbol of trust and stability. Like we need the normal days with our routines, many of them. And sometimes this reality is broken or celebrated with strong colours, but the grey will come us the balance we need.