Be ready for new experiences…

I’m currently sitting on a commercial bus traveling from home to Helsinki – a six hour trip for those unfamiliar with Finnish geography (and the slowness of a bus compared to driving by myself). Why a bus? Because Onnibus actually manages to be cheaper than driving with a SUV by myself. Unlike the Finnish rail company VR…

Sure I’ve traveled by bus every now and then, but ever since I got my own car, most of my travel has either been by car or by airplane. With buses I’ve had a hate relationship ever since my grandmother and me traveled from Central Illinois to Montana when I was 11. Two nights and three days on Greyhound buses and in grimy bus terminals was not my idea of comfortable travel even then. And if possible I fit even worse in the bus seats now that I’m fully grown.

But the trip was in many ways memorable and has spawned tales and family sayings that still get actively used whenever we are on the road.

This time I’m traveling on my own to enjoy a birthday present from Anna tomorrow. More on that later. I promise this time my overlong hiatus from posting here will not last nearly eight months.

I have many post ideas in the pipeline, but have for some reason felt blocked from writing anything until I’d get my post on the conclusion of my first CrossFit open out. Well, I still haven’t managed to finish it and won’t wait to before posting more here.

And if nothing else, I have time on my hands while sitting in the bus…

Airport Blues

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The joy in the captain’s voice
Declaring a tail-wind that will see us reach our destination an hour sooner.
The envy I feel towards my fellow passengers
Ready to scurry through the airport and head home – or to new adventures.
While I’m doomed to lose an hour of cat napping.
Doomed to spend it wandering around aimlessly in an empty airport.

Road trip

black and white view down a small country road in Finland with storm clouds above

Just a quick photograph taken through the windshield while driving way too early in the morning yesterday to work in a hunt test. Edited in Lightroom 5 and further processed in Silver Efex. And taken with the little camera that can, my new Fuji X20 (more on this to come).

Train ride thoughts

I went down to Helsinki yesterday for a job interview and had to marvel at how modern technology has changed even such a simple task.

My first shock came from the realization that I could now buy my tickets on-line. I remember the time when finding train schedules was difficult enough. What was even more baffling was that I had the option of printing my ticket at home or receiving it as a text message. The problem was that we don’t have a printer at home and you can’t get the ticket as a text message if it’s a return trip. I guess they need to work on their system a bit more…

A quick phone call to VR’s support ensured me that I could show the email I received with my tickets on the screen of my laptop. However, once on the train I decided to finally benefit from the fact that my work phone can access my personal email (but not work ;). I opened my email on the phone screen, showed the message to the conductor and got my ticket receipt (or proof of payment).

Another, more amusing, aspect of modern technology that occurred to me on the trip down was seeing business men in suits with straps around their necks. Like the phone carriers that teenagers use. But what did they have around their necks? USB memory sticks. I joked last week that they’ve replaced floppy disks, this was just further proof of the fact.

I’m still amused, I remember the times when computers were rare and widespread use of the web was something most people didn’t even dream about and when GSM reception was off and on in the train. I wonder when we’ll be getting free WiFi?

Independence

Today was Finland’s independence day. Especially this year it was a time to remember the men and women who protected Finland and its independece during WWII since it has been 60 years since the end of the Continuation War (jatkosota) between Finland and the Soviet Union.

Of the men who served in the Finnish armed forces during that time, only 100,000 are still alive. Of the 191 Knights of the Mannerheim Cross only nine are alive today. And not all of them made it to the President’s reception (in Finnish). We close this broadcast with an image of Liperi’s cemetery, especially the tombstone’s of those fallen during the Winter War and Continuation War. We are forever in debt to your sacrifice.

Liperi's cemetery, tombstone's for those fallen in the wars.