Kiruna – Malmö

From my point of view, coming back from a trip and sleep from 3.30 pm to 5.30 a.m. the following day is sort of a symbol for the amount of knowledge, energy, experiences and people met throughout the journey. As I am asked about the beauty of the place I visit I am often confused on the answer I should give. What I feel, takes way more than a 5 rows typed chat on messenger or an international call where emotions are impossible to show because of the inability to show facial expressions. That answer is about a personal perception of the place, the people met at a jewelry or the ones sitting by you when drinking a coffee, talking about places and understanding each other’s jokes as you are from Italy and they are from France. It is to not longer feel alone, after starting to exchange some words with some Australians in what before was a very empty kitchen in the hostel you are sleeping at, to then walk with them in the midnight sun.

National Geographic tells aspiring writers that what they are looking for is not a description of what a specific place is or looks like, or which things one may look forward to check out from their bucket list. They mainly look for a “basic” and “simple” thing: to awake in the reader the desire and will to leave and travel, and to just visit that place. Personal experiences are the most important as they embody that human character which a dry list of monuments, attractions and museums, may fail to transmit.

No city other than Kiruna among the ones I have visited so far, better embodies the difference of feelings that the sentence “I am coming back, I promise”, carries from place to place, person to person. Nature leaves you speechless as sun never sets and your body is not longer able to understand how much energy you are actually eager for.

I will soon write more about the journey, and going to load a bunch of photos more 🙂

Heading to Warsaw, Poland

12th April. Start of the trip, going to Gothenburg.

Metres of smoke from the coffee factory reflect the sun in a clear  Karlstad today. I am sitting on the train which in some minutes will leave to Gothenburg. Alarm clock at 5,45, but was too excited about the trip that I woke up at 4,15 by my own instead…good for me because otherwise I would have stressed too much to prepare…but you know what? I had not packed anything so I had the time to do it. We are leaving, of course I sit in the wrong direction back to the front…I will never remember about it!!!!

Kizunguzungu, All I want and a Swedish version of Hallelujah in my ears. Still ballerinas and black trousers regflecting the sun…love this Swedish Spring, cannot just get enough of it. No flowers though, leaves are going to appear in May or June…just light, sun and long days.

The travelling song in my ears. Worked at Bunkern last Friday. Incredible how Sweds can behave in so different ways when drunk…they can get very rude but at the same time very kind, open and funny! I was sure I would forget something and so it was! The mask I usually sleep with when it gets Spring and too lighty in the mornings. But we are still in April and Warsaw is a little souther than Sweden…so I should make it…

So! Why this notebook? This is my first travel/trip compeltely by myself…I have been looking forward to one of those for so long!!!

An acoustic version of Welcome Home by Radical Face.

Plans for today? Jumping off the train and going around a bit…find a park where to sit and enjoy the sun, and eat my boiled corn with tomatoes. Then I will probably visit the museum of the city and then get to the hostel which is 3 km from the central station.

As I was saying…well I have the plan of writing a little notebook for every country/place I will be visiting now on, filled with postcards, tickets, places with adresses (so that I can come back to those if I will ever go back to these places) and impressions of my journey. We are in Kil now, incredibly foggy right now…I will try to sleep for a while now…see you later!

Here again…I am sitting in front of the museum of world cultures in Gothenburg, some steps from the hostel where I will check in in a few hours. One of the exhibitions is called “Afghan tales”, and I look forward to get to know more about it. I sat a hour in a park near the river, read a little, enjoying the windy, sunny day, and eating my lunch. Both for having gotten up at 4,30 and for the sund shining for hours on my head, walking a lot (most of the times feeling very sure about my direction but at the same time not having a clue about it!), 2,5 hours on the train, I am definitely tired now. But I walked heading to the hostel, meeting a Pressbyrån, which you should definitely know about…it is the worst thing in the world if yu want to keep on a diet…I dreamed of coffee (and Pressbyrån makes it in my favourite way) since yesterday…and finally one with an “unmissable” kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) beside…you know what though? I guess here in Gothenburg they do not use the same coffee as in Karlstad (Löfbergs brand comes from KArlstad).

I love being around, and I enjoy not to be connected to Sweden in anyway if I want (just keep talking English instead)…and everyone will react in a much more oppen way than usual (the average Swedish loves to speak English, complains about his/her “bad” level, and is very shy to speak it). But as you Sweden is heading the ranking among the countries with the best second language English speakers. So, language relativism is a bluff? Not at all, choose a language and you will be treated, and feel, way differently! News of the day is that, for some unexplainable reason, I got accepted in the Sedish as a foreign language IV course…keep it or leave it? Being me, I just cannot refuse it…so next week is gonna be an even cooler one!!!

You know what? I am going inside now…need to see the museum.

Bet of this week? To show to my parents that you can actually get brown staying in the sun, even though you are not in Italy, and it is 9° outside! 😉

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Before going inside the museum, I did actually got tanned on my face and my feet! (Ballerinas power!) The sun made me feel headache, but I cannot stop being outside, love the Spring here…Yeah…I repeat myself regarding this, I know…

The museum was very interesting. It is called Världskulturmuseum and it is located near the Universum, a giant museum with inside everything frm plants to butterflies and universum explanations…

I had been there during October 2013, on the first reunion weekend with STS, during my exchange year in Sweden. And it is amazing, I would really recommend it!!!. I read today that a 25 ms high tree from a tropical climate is growing there inside! Going back to the museum…

I went through the two exhibitions they have in this period. One called Afghan tales and one about gender equality and rights. Firstly, I  mistakenly went to another floor, where another exhibition was being built up…and it was pretty scaring actually: giant white spaces, nobody there, just three enormous screens with old photos, and a big panic of not being able to go out at first! But I am here safe and sound now!

Very nice photos in the Afghan tales exhibition…touching and well explained, both in Swedish and English. The other one about genders’ rights also made me think a lot and learn as much. Around 15.30 I started to look for the hostel and I setlled there . I relaxed for a while and then went out for a walk and to buy my dinner. I ate very early to be Italian! Now it is just 19,30 and I am already tired as a sloth! But I try to resist at least until 21 before sleeping! Tomorrow my bus from the train station to the airport leaves at 6,30 am and takes half an hour…so…waking up at 5.00 am!!! That’s why I’ll say goodbye and goodnight to you for today…tomorrow is going to be a long day!

The road to home

Bus to the station, then train heading home. Sitting on the bus writing on the phone. I wrote tens of pages in a diary just for the Poland trip, my first solo trip, and I will write  them down on the post in the following weeks.

Crazy to look forward to come back from a solo trip. Crazy even more to feel at home in a place that is not your original one. To miss the Swedish coffee when in Poland, and the extreme kindness of this super peaceful folk. Still cannot believe that this rainy cold day that welcomed me in Gothenburg is not making me sad. At the start before I left to Poland I thought that when I would come back I would probably miss the flight, looking on the screen for the one to Rome and not that to Gothenburg. But I did not, ‘cause I will live here at least three years more and it just completely stucked in my mind. And I like it.

This week I have two old courses and one new to which I was inexpectedly admitted even though I missed the subscription deadline. I look forward to experience those that will unfortunately be my last months in Karlstad.

I loved Poland and I am definitely going to travel more there. East Europe is definitely on my bucket list…especially for the extremely affordable expenses.

I drank a cup of coffee from pressbyrån…now we drive to the central station. Have to switch the phone down for a while. Coffee is waiting for me later on!

I will see you soon!

Backpacking

I think that without flight companies as Ryanair or Easyjet words as “backpack” or “wanderlust” would barely exist. Next stop? Warsaw in Poland! I found a pretty cheap deal, a return ticket for 30 euros, and I did not take too much time before booking it! My first standing alone backpacking trip (at least someone I know will not get interested in it and join me!)

So, I am totally getting crazy thinking about it! I am doing a bucket list of things I would really like to do, and what cannot be missed is to taste many of the Polish street foods! Guess what? The Zapiekanka is similar to the Italian pizza and one of the most diffused street foods….What I know until now is that I will be there in the middle of April for five days, and I will need to stay one night in Gothenburg because the flight leaves at 8.45 in the morning. I want to have my first couch surfing experience so I wrote to a Finnish girl living in Gothenburg who could maybe host me for a night, waiting for the response!

In Warsaw I will stay at the hostel Warsaw Downtown Hostel, which on booking got a very good mark of 9.1., hope in the best!

I am at my former host family place right now, arrived here with my host-sister by bus yesterday afternoon…Before that I handed in my CV at Burger King downtown in Karlstad. They are looking for night-staff and I really hope they will call me back! Money for the future trips and etc are needed!

Last Wednesday the choir was having the audition for the Spring semester, and many exchange students took part in it. I was there to give them support, and luckily every exchange student who tried got in! On Fat Tuesday we will have a Fat Tuesday fika to get to know the new members of our voice, and in two weeks we will have a weekend outside Karlstad to get to know each other, have fun and practice a lot for the next concerts.

Today here we will make Semlor, or is some typical Swedish buns filled with a mix of almond and cream.

I will let you know about any news in planning my trip…have a nice weekend! And make delicious food for the next Fat Tuesday 😉

 

What a travel!

20th July 2015 I like the image Germans wanted to give to their country, as a really multicultural place, result of a complete integration. I said ”really multicultural” and with it I want to explain how this country has gone far dealing with a high number of immigrants. The hotel’s staff does not look foreigner, they maybe look darker than you would be used to think, they maybe have a strange accent. After have overcome the obstacle of running away from war, poverty, and man other abuses they established a family, built a future for their children as well as a present for themselves. Germany helped them doing this and now the country is full of 1st and 2nd generation immigrants, completely integrated.

You maybe wonder why am I talking about Germany…well, after have approached in Frankfurt after a Lufthansa flight of two hours and a late of 30 minutes I went to the gate to take the connection flight to Karlstad. The staff told me that the ticket was cancelled by BMI. So I saw all the passengers getting on the plane, which was actually going to fly, while one of the two women (the other one was very unkind to me!) made a ten of calls to try to rebook a seat in the same flight. This did not work out in time and the unkind woman only said “we have to close the gate”, “the gate is closing”, “the gate is closed”. So they sent me to the ticket counter of Lufthansa where I stayed in line from 7 p.m.  to 9.30 p.m. after have wrongly been in line in another place, for half an hour. They gave me the name of the hotel where I could stay the night, booked me the flight and gave me the ticket to retire the baggage. Half an hour to get the baggage and another half to get to the hotel by bus, not counting all the time I needed to find all the places where I needed to go.

The only pros of today are that it is not so cold, it is very warm actually, and that everyone really speak a perfect English. I went to the hotel and got dinner at 23. Once back to my room, I found out that the flight the following day was not at 9 a.m. as they told me but at 9.50. Of course I was really afraid and did not even know if they actually booked anything! I went down to the reception where they helped me with calling a 24h service. They ensured me that the time was 9.50 and that my flight was booked. I finally got to the room trying to sleep, of course with not a big result. Alarm at 5.15, and I slept until 5.55. At 6,20 I was on the bus, and I checked-in at 6.35. Security checks much more serious than in Rome, and now I am sitting in the waiting room of my gate. Every face I met since yesterday afternoon was hopeless, sleepless, angry and hungry!

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I am finally home. I did not believe whether I would have make it or not. Being with my host-family again feels like I did not even stayed away for a year. The first meal I had in Sweden was “en korv med bred” what is a very healthy meal as you can guess, and as it always happens when I come to Sweden after long time. I did not have the chance to taste the German “bratwurst” but at least I tasted a brand new meal in Sweden. Well, when I will fly back to Rome I will have 3,40 hours in Frankfurt, so I already know what to do! Anyway… Once at home I was welcomed with a traditional fika, kladdkaka med grädde, kanelbullar, kaffe och äppelcider. Just after the first Swedish snack I think I reached and overcame the amount of sugars I usually get in in a week. We prepared dinner, which actually was not less than a traditional Swedish summer meal. Barbecue of meat and vegetables together with  potatosallad, tzatziki and some other sauces. Everything eat in the early evening outside in the garden, with the sun still brighting into your eyes while eating.

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Now it is 21,45 and it is still very bright, we will have to wait until 23,30 to see the sky become nearly completely dark, and then to sleep. See you!

Diary from Lithuania – Day four

I write directly from the airport of Vilnius, tired after three days of walks, snow, cold, and tastes of fat, warm, different, cold and very good traditional Lithuanian food. Today we woke up at 7.15, had breakfast and tidied the room. We went to the big magazine in the north of the city by bus. A little curious was the price of the ticket; when we got there we payed 1 euro each, though when we came back, the price was lowed to o.50 euro! It seems like they changed prices on the times of travels, and maybe if you can sit or not!

Diary from Lithuania – Day three

4th January 2015

Today we woke up earlier than yesterday, covered us better because it should had snowed during the day, and got around in the right part going out from the Gate of Dawn. There there was a supermarket actually the first we saw since we came here! In cities such Rome, supermarkets are a habit, but big shops are not here the same, think about that until today we wondered of what Lithuanians live. Even today we went around thinking that Vilnius is much depressing but then I started to think that some of the reasons because it is actually so are: the way most of the people dresses, especially in an old-style way, mostly in black; I had still not seen young people; everything looks out so ruined, walls are cracked and busses are rally old; supermarkets are not many because of the cultural/social/economic heredity Soviet Union left The half opened market beside the supermarket Maxima had different things to buy but in particular meat, bread and vegetables. People was not a lot, but prices were very convenient for us Italians. A nice place to go to could also be the herbs and spices shop just before the entrance of the market.

Lately we took the trolleybus, a very old one but with wi-fi and a screen to pay with the card and we stopped just along the river bank in front of the old tower of the city, placed on a hill reachable through a steep way.

The tower hosts an exhibition on the past of Vilnius and of the tower, which was interesting! Once down, with the snow falling down, we visited the National Museum of Lithuania, where there where so many things exposed, though a little disordered.

An interesting thing was this map together with the photo aside. During 1991, before the second act of Independence of the country, people stood on a highway that goes from Estonia, goes through Letland and reaches Lithuania, in order to achieve independence! A good organization, don’t you think?

We had lunch again at KFC and than we came back, the snow was a lot then and we saw some central streets whitewashed and then returned to the hotel. I rested a little there, the cold really makes you feel powerless!

We went on a walk and ate at this place, the only one opened yesterday night though it was a little touristic, but still very good and cheap. One of the dishes I took was some traditional meatballs with a sort of sour-cream made butter sauce.

Maybe it was because it snowed or because we had seen the city a lot, but I changed my opinion on this city, and now I think it is not longer a dark, desert and depressing town. Yes, being honest I have to say that I still think it is a little depressing, but you should see especially the history of a city and see how much it can learn you. And I swear that I’ve learned more in this three days of journey that I haven’t collapsing on twenty pages of my school history book. See you tomorrow for some more!

Diary from Lithuania – Day two

3rd January 2015

As we were in the 2nd half of 1900’s

Good morning! I am writing from the right side bed of this room. The hotel is a renovated monastery in the Old City of Vilnius, really characteristic I would say! We had breakfast choosing between both sweet and salt things and this was my first dish here. I love those wurstel with potatoes and that pretty sour yoghurt.

Then we went walking around and we started to freeze because not only it was cold but even windy. We started exploring the Aušros Vartų gatvė, the way where most of the souvenirs shops are placed and that takes on the right side to a square where there was also a little Christmas market, and to the most popular streets, and on the left side to the Gate of Dawn and to a part of the city’s walls.

Still you can feel the effects caused by the Sovietic Union after the Second World War. Lithuania was freed by Germans but then Socialism was imposed to the country, until URSS broke in 1990. Lithuania after have had already declared his independence in 1918, did it again in 1991. But Lithuania still hasn’t a well based economy, shops are not common to see if you go wherever in the city, and there is not that commercial spirit you can recognize in the rest of central Europe.

Everything is much cheaper than it is in Italy and Lithuania dopted the Euro just the 1st January of this year, so it’s even easier for us to understand the big difference with the Italian and the Lithuanian costs.

So yesterday as I started to say, we walked a lot and saw some churches around the hotel. The first church we visited was a catholic one, St.Theresa, where a mass in Polish was holding.

The Russian Church of the Holy Spirit, was instead, as you can guess, an Orthodox church and full of icons made of gold, and light colors as  as green on the walls. In this church there were exposed the relics of three Catholic martyrs of the Middle Age.The 5,6% is formed by Russians, and the 6% by Poles, for this Vilnius is a religious multicultural  city with strong Chatolics and orthodoxes.

After this, we visited the sanctuary placed on the Gate of Dawn, where is exposed an effigy of the Virgin Mary, reached by many persons and pilgrims. There I had a bad feeling: there were some stairs, hard to go on because steep and high, and people sat on their knees already on the stairs. The air smelled so much, and air was not changed.

It was interesting to see how the buildings vary completely in the two parts of the city, the most internal one and the one outside the walls.

Outside the walls we walked to the old tower of the city walls and after along walk we discovered in fact that it was the longest way we could have taken to get to the Cathedral! We arrived in a central part of the city, where the Cathedral and Palace of the Grand Dukes and many embassies are. It was interesting to see how the buildings vary completely in the two parts of the city, the most internal one and the one outside the walls.

The cathedral was quite poor inside, with just some canvas on the walls. After that we had lunch by KFC in the square and we gave rest to our feet!

Then we returned to the hotel to rest and stayed there until it was time to have dinner. We decided to eat at this traditional Lithuanian restaurant that had a very good choice of dishes, the waiters were really kind and the goers were both Lithuanian and Lithuanian. I warmly recommend this restaurant if you are thinking on going to Vilnius. I’ll write you more tomorrow, thank you for follow!

Diary from Lithuania – Day one

2nd January 2015

Day one – A desert Town (I am sorry for my English, but I am pretty tired!) It was maybe the time we arrived to the city by a taxi whose driver looked a little depressed though very full of energy. At least we got to the hotel soon because he drove really fast! By the way, the city was nearly completely desert and just a few cars we could see through the windscreen in this rainy night in the capital of Lithuania. The flight was a little storming, for me that I am frightened by flying, because of the rain and the strong wind. What particularly impressed me once we got out from the plane, was the airport’s look. I could say that it looked like a castle with a poetic, full of columns on the sides and white and yellow renaissance decorations. I did not take a photo but I will do it tomorrow and post it with the next upload.

Getting around by taxi the city looked curios out because of this lot of different buildings belonging to different ages. The first impression I had of Lithuanians is that they are extremely serious, but a little less than Swedish people. On the plane they talked sometimes high, and what I have to say on how the language sounds like, is that it is very similar to Russian. By the way, Russian is not my favorite language and Lithuanian is very difficult. Lithuanian is an undo-european tongue more ancient than Italian, Swedish or English, and it is the point where Slavian, Germanic and Neo-Latin tongues come from. Take a look at this photos to see how the language is close to all the european ones!

I am going to sleep now!

See you tomorrow!

Camping in Norway / Part two

So…oh how many photos! Let’s continue then!

We went down on the way to Geiranger, that is the little town that gives the name to the most visited (or the third) fiord of Norway, and there we found a very nice camping (in Geiranger there are something like ten campings, and a mountain that is going to collapse…but anyway!)

We mounted the tent and started to grill some vegetables and toasts, it was very cozy!

It has been bright all the night I think because the sun went down at 23,20, but we said goodbye to the sun at 21 and in the morning we saw it again more or less at 9.

After dinner we took the car to Geiranger and took a walk in the little town, it was very nice and full of tourists! I felt like in Italy with so many persons! oh, and there is not a person in the photos, that was funny!

When the others went to bed I started to watch the wonderful view of the fiord and write for my blog. At midnight I finished and went to the tent. I slept very good because it did not rain at all the last time, and the place was very comfortable!

The morning after the light made a great effect on the water and everything looked like a picture! Took some souvenirs photo, and needed some minutes before I could say goodbye to this wonderful place.

The last thing we did has been go up on a mountain where the fiord gives a wonderful view. It is there that the most famous photos for this fiord are taken.

The way we used to go up has been used after some hours for a run/cycle competition (2500 m.o.s in one hour and a half for the fastest that cycled). They are Scandinavians!

On the top it was just 10° but the sun burned your skin, it was really nice!

Then we got in the car and started a loooong journey back to home.

Camping is wonderful, it was my first time and I hope I will fix something with my friends for the next summer, maybe even in Norway! It is wonderful to meet people from all over the world and talk with them about you travel plans or whatever.

I hope you enjoyed the post, I think it was the longest and most full of photos since I started my blog.

See you tomorrow, I will let you know about my last day in school that is tomorrow (it is actually Thursday but we will not have lessons so the last will be probably tomorrow)

Ha det så bra!

God kväll!