Saturday, 30 December 2017

Smell the Sea and hear the Wind

Open views in Castricum aan Zee

Run, Run, Run - the wind is blowing from behind. Faster than ever, competing with the waves, we will try to reach to disappearing point, far away. Everything seems to end there, but it will be a new beginning before we start to look for the next unknown stations. 

Do we come back to the old journeys and stations, do we remember the people we met and talked or even loved during those years? We will slow the phase, wonder in our thoughts. The rush and noice will stay behind. The Sea will whisper with the force of wind, bring the new tastes and smells from far away. This gives space for our mind and we will feel free and almost like reborn, full of new ideas and energy. 

All seems to be more simple and clear in sudden moments, the scale of our existence gets bigger. We will come out from the small space of routines and habits. We are out, like the first people at this we like to think. It is not true, but we want to keep all possibilities of our fantasy spread and open. The information, the instincts of our Ancestors and the wisdom from those millions and more lives. We are carrying some keys to those elements deep in our system, in our genes. We are survivors. That is so much admired these days, whole tv-series made from the modern Robinsons. But life is not a game, life is real and goes on without the last person on the board. The biggest struggles are often suffered in silence and the change for better comes from our heart and making decisions.

Lost. left and found. The left overs from the beach life in  2017.

Tomorrow will be the last day of 2017. It is time to make a little break and think of what happened. So many positive things and memories, also some struggle and black days -like every year. Still, every period of our life is different and that period makes us see the reality differently, making us go further on our development. Sometimes we don't recognize the person we were before, but without that person we would not be at this point. We are full of details and nuances and this world is a living evidence how everything is connected. It feels good to see and feel the presence of the Nature, it is balancing and feeding our mind, making us more active. 






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It was great to watch the grass constantly in motion at the windy beach.

Listening to the roam of the Sea and smelling the breeze. The best end for this year. Walking at the beach, feeling like a child again. Finding the joy from the details and from the simplicity. The only wise advice I can give is that we must go outside and enjoy the world and the Nature even more. And before doing or saying something, think of the possible effects of your actions to your environment and the people around. Let the gentle breeze of the wind be your personal advisor in every critical moment that comes on your way.

Happy New Year !!

Meeting the Foam. 

The North Sea Fish soup was a perfect dish for a windy day.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

About us and the blue mist

One of the most beautiful Winter elements in Holland is the mist. Instead of snow, we see more the moist and misty beauty of Nature in this Season. The lack of daylight is different when there is no snow  spreading the white light and reflections. Luckily the days are getting slowly longer and lighter after the shortest day of the year on the 21st of December.

Now I'm ready for celebrating the Christmas, which for me is taking everything out from the coziness of these introverted days and weeks. This also means I want to be close to those people who belong to my life and share the mood with them. I see this as a positive period and it is easy for me to relate to these quiet days. I am not religious, but I am aware and respect the origin of this celebration. For me these days mean a time of sharing, giving the empathy, being kind and fair, being genuine and appreciating the company of the loved ones. I promise myself to try to be better, learn from my mistakes and keep on developing as a person. The biggest joy comes from watching the children and how they also like the details, the closeness and the traditions. 

This time of the year I long even more to be connected with the Nature. The open views without any green layers, the silhouettes of naked trees are inviting us for private conversations. Without any hiding element, demanding us to be honest. The Nature holds us in a firm hug on our winter walks, without any judgement. The mist is ready to listen to our thoughts and the world is there for us - like we should be there for the world and be supportive to one another. The magic of this silent season is that we might be more capable to listening and reading the hidden messages. More capable of seeing the possibilities if we want to. 

The silent presence of the Universe should be more respected and that should be remembered in our daily lives. This includes also how we treat other people and talk with other people or even think of other people. There should be less judgment, being careful not to make too fast conclusions or silently neglect someone who maybe would in real need some attention and support. We can find so many excuses for our behavior or prejudices. Like the trees open their arms for the open connection, we should trust more on the goodness of the world, dare to ask the real questions, listen, exchange the views and respect one another.

The silence can also hide some things and issues that need to get out and be processed. Not maybe in a violent way, but with some discretion. Sometimes the silence can mean staying on the comfort zone and not letting the meaningful lessons come and push us further. Getting further doesn't mean joining the competition or that we have to prove something, it has nothing to do with being worth of something. We are so much worth already without any prove. We have to have the courage to break the silence sometimes and show who we are and let that special sparkle of ours shine. We know better than no one else who we are and it is our own responsible to let it be seen and felt. With all that energy there is, joining the other energies around us, there is a possibility for a synergy, higher understanding and creativity.

Let's walk together, talk with one another, remember to laugh on the silly jokes, details and coincidences. Let's be equal and cherish the talents we have and enjoy what the other people can offer us and teach us! This way we will not get bitter and cynical and will stay who we are.

I am glad if you had the patience to read and and listen to me. During the christmas days and holidays it will be a good time to walk in the mist, in the snow or on a sunny beach - where ever you are. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !! 

Friday, 8 December 2017

Beautiful days in Iceland

Pingvellir National Park and the Parliament

The meeting point of the Eurasian and the American plates of the Earth: a young, volcanic Island in the long history of our Planet. Located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, one of the most tectonically active places on earth. The volcanic birth of the fascinating geological landscape and the ongoing growth and transformation of this land. Iceland is a baby of our planet: geologically a youngest spot on this Earth, appearing over the ocean surface about 16 to 18 million years ago. A land of saga's and vikings with so much interesting details in it's History. 

A viewpoint at Pingvellir National Park.

A daytrip to countryside: the golden circle

I have been always interested in Iceland. In the end of November 2017 I had an opportunity to spent a long weekend in this mysterious and beautiful country. I know this was just a small scratch on the surface, my first visit. We mostly stayed in Reykjavik, but had a nice Golden Cirle roundtrip with a small group, traveling with a minibus around the southwest part of Iceland. This trip was  organized by Gateway to Iceland. They organize different sorts of day trips in Iceland. We went to see many locations including: Pingvellir National Park/the Parliament, Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss water fall and had a nice swim at the Secret Lagoon (not as touristic as the famous Blue Lagoon). We also visited a local farmer, who makes delicious ice cream. 

If you make a day trip out of the City on your Reykjavik visit, don't take tours organized by big buses. With a small group and with a very professional and entertaining guide, you will enjoy the day much more. Other option would be just rent a car, but our time was limited and the organized option was perfect for us. We were on this trip as a family and the countryside of Iceland was interesting for the kids too. I wanted my children to see the beauty of the Earth from the other point of view and let them get to know the mystical powers that lie under the surface. I think visiting places like this can increase your respect on Nature and give you the inspiration to be more ecological in your everyday life. But in the other hand: traveling is polluting the environment. Difficult dilemma's of the modern world and many choices we can make better, in many areas of our life.

Öxará -river 

Our first stop on the round trip was the Pingvellir National Park. The name Pingvellir means "the fields of Parliament". This spot was chosen a long time ago to be the yearly meeting point of different clans from different parts of Iceland. This came a spot where disputes were settled, where the annual news could be shared and where the criminals were tried and punished. In this landscape you see the Eurasian and American plates meeting. The distance between these plates is growing every year approximately 2,5cm, making the valley bigger and bigger. You can freely walk in this area, there are nice viewpoints and paths to follow.  Because of the history it came a national park in 1930 and was accepted to Unesco world Heritage list on 2004.

Our local tour guide told us so many stories when we drove through the white fantasy landscape. He was a true Icelander, but had lived in other parts of Europe and in Canada as well. His knowledge about the history and geology was very inspring. The personal views, the passion and the stories of his own experiences were making this day trip very special. If you ever go to Iceland and want to first get to know the island a bit before being more independent explorer, just take part on this sort of day tour with a small group and you will learn so much.

a dreamy Traveller

After having a nice ice cream at the local farm, we drove to geothermal landscape to see the Geysir. It is good to take some time to see the geysir spraying up the pressure for a couple of times. It happens in every 6-7 minutes. The geysir statue stays up for just a few seconds, so after taking a picture it is good to forget the camera and just enjoy the view. It was really interesting to go to geothermal areas, because the water was so warm and even hot, making nice smoky looking views. The contrast between hot and cold was so clear to be seen.

Everyone is waiting to see the Geysir statue.

It was freezing cold and windy and the moment was very fast. 

We were lucky with the weather on our day trip, the Sun was shining and the snow was sparkling in the mysterious light. The blue shades of the late afternoon started to land on the scenery when we drove to  Gullfoss waterfall. This is one of the biggest water falls in Europe. Located on the golden circle it is also the most popular water fall of Iceland. But there are many other beautiful waterfalls in this country..I would like to see them too one day.

The Gullfoss waterfall was frozen. The blue moment in the late afternoon made it look surreal.

Our last stop on our round trip was a nice, warm geothermal bath at the Secret Lagoon. It is a natural looking place with one bigger "pool", located in interesting looking landscape. It was already dark when we got there, so I did not really see the surroundings, but I think this is not only a nice place to bath - you can also have a walk and admire the views. The water was so lovely, but the few meter walk from the shower room was freezing:-). It was wonderful to change the spot in the water and feel how there were differences between temperatures in different spots. The temperature was comfortable and the whole experience reminded a bit of a Sauna in outdoors. It is also good to know there are few warm outdoor pools also in Reykjavik for more geothermal relaxation.

An overlook of the Secret Lagoon (not my picture, download from the internet)

 I did not have my camera when bathing :), but took this blurry picture when we left.

The use of renewable Geothermal energy in a bigger scale - not only bathing and washing like in old days - is quite a new invention in Iceland. Today, about 9/10 households are heated with geothermal energy. About 85% of the energy is coming from renewable sources, from which 65% is coming from geothermal warmth. Like our guide said: you can shower as long as you want in Iceland.
Iceland was struggling with the economy during the financial crisis in 2008. After that and the big volcano eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, the economy has gotten better mostly because of tourism. The prices got lower and it has been more possible for the tourists to come and see the natural miracles of Iceland. But it is still expensive!!

Even the country is doing quite well now in many ways, there is a higher risk for the next bigger volcano eruption in the near future. The increased activity in the volcano system of Bárðarbunga with four smaller earth quakes in the end of October 2017, is a sign that the pressure is developing in the volcano's magma chamber. According to geophysicist Páll Einarsson from the University of Iceland, some other volcano's along Bárðarbunga have shown increased activity lately. But it is impossible to predict eruptions long time in advance even the volcanic activity is under more surveillance than ever before. The nature has it's own periods and developments that we can't always predict or control. This volcanic and challenging landscape must have shaped the mentality of the Icelandic people during the time. Maybe flexibility and being able to adapt to different situations could be couple of those.

The peace of the landscape under the moonlight!

A view from the airplane before landing to Iceland.

Moments from Reykjavik

Our weekend in Reykjavik was also very interesting. The cold wind made us to look for some indoor activities and cafe's on our walks through the city. The season before Christmas time is quite charming I think. We were happy to see some snow. Actually the temperature never gets very cold in Iceland. The Gulf stream around the island keeps the clima milder than expected. We were told that there is not normally snow for a longer period in Reykjavik, but on our visit there was a bit of snow even in the City.

very many cosy cafe's in the Centre.

A very nice breakfast place: The Laundromat Cafe

Hallgrimskirkja, the famous church on the Hill in Reykjavik

Am I lost in Raykjavik ?

The beautiful architecture of the Concert- and Congress house Harpa.

There is a lot of interesting architecture and colorful houses in the Centre of Reykjavik. An interesting mitch match of the older style and the new modern design. A funny detail is that some houses look like they were made of wood, but actually are made of some sort of wavy metal that imitates the nordic wooden house style. But there are not so many trees, you had to invent other solutions.

Looks like a wooden House, but top layer is Metal.

A lot of streetart and colors to admire.

Nice little photography shop with prints for sale.

The massive mountain views at the Harbor. Really inspring to walk near the water..even in Winter.
On our sunday walk by the waterline of Reykjavik, we visited the "Whales of Iceland"- exhibition  It was fascinating to see these big creatures in their natural size. Walking in this space was like visiting the underwater world. There was a lot of information and things to learn. It is also possible to make Whale watching boat trips in Iceland, but maybe a warmer season suits better for that kind of activity.

Slippery streets!!! We did not see any dogs in Reykjavik, where are they?

One more thing. There is a great food hall with small delicate foods build in the old bus station in the Centre of Reykjavik called  Hlemmur, Mathöll

Iceland is a land of contrast: the landscape with low and high points, underground warmth meeting the icy winds in winter days, water in all it's elements, the surprising colors of Reykjavik and the silence of the lonely spots at the countryside. A northern jewel with sparkling lights and new ideas. I did not see the Northern lights this time, but I was charmed by the ascetic beauty of the Nature and the creative vibes of Reykjavik.

My own nordic lights :-), did not have time to hunt for the real ones this time!