April 14, 2014

Reflection Cycling Suomi

Where were the Monsters? ( 14 April 2014)

Looking back on this trip, what did it get us?
In the introduction  I wrote that this trip is all about fighting our Monsters.
Looking and reading back on this trip, I wonder if they were even there?

Although it almost one year ago, we still get filled with positivity when looking back at this adventure. Remembering the people we met, the stories we heard, the nature we enjoyed and the distances we concurred makes us feel alive and kicking again. Not because all went well, although you might get that impression when reading the previous post's, it was not all fun at all. There were moment's we really got annoyed by each other and the situations we end up in ( getting lost, getting on boring highways with rude car drivers, dealing with body ordure)
But I think it is how we dealt with the struggles/confrontations we had, that makes us feel good about ourselves.
The biggest struggle for me was to give up the plan to cycle on my own. I really looked forward to that, because I knew that would have been a big struggle, since there is really no escape from myself when being alone. 

Finland is a nice country to cycle in, I would advice everybody who wants to cycle in Finland to cycle the archipalog trail.

Tampere seemed to be the final destination for me (or atleast a new starting point to leave from). In January I moved to Tampere for real, to live with my boyfriend ( read more about that here ). Therefore I really am glad that Marcia has seen the city and the people here, because it is my new home now.(  If you want to know my first impression of Tampere you can see the short animation I made here!)

Did we meet the monsters? I think we did, but not the ones we knew. I wrote to my boyfriend Michel during the trip that there were not a lot of Monsters, but that I had some confrontations with myself. Learning to let go and be flexible and be there for Marcia in any way she would need me.

I found a nice old text which explanes that the monsters are only there, when you bring take them with you when you leave. 


As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
K.P. Kafavis (1863 – 1933)

Apparently I left them at home.They were welcoming me home after my return. But I couldn't live without them, if they do not block me, they inspire me to live the fullest!

This was the last post about this adventure!
If you want to stay updated of the live in Tampere, you can always go to the Dirtycars&Millioncows webblog.

Warm regards!

Loes van Dorp & Marcia Zaal

April 1, 2014

Tampere, Final destination

Cycling suomi (part 4) 25th august 2013


Sunday 25th of august 2013

On Pori station our bikes were lifted in an old-fashioned train where the conductor had to open the doors manually. Rusty edges around the windows.

Impatient we waited and played some silly songs. My stomach made really weird jumps, nervous to be reunited with my love again. Or was it because of the surprise Michel and I had in mind for Marcia? She knew about the surprise, but didn't know what and until now I was able to not spoil the surprise.( Which is really a big achievement for me.)

In the train we had company of cute little Finnish kids who talked in (for us) puzzling Finnish, the landscape pasted fast, sitting still seems impossible for both me as Marcia. A hyperactive dog outside. He looked like a fox. Rocks, vibrating train chairs. De conductor comes by after every stop. The light of the window flickers because of the trees next to the train track, which turned the cabin into a disco. Of course I had to film that. Birch trees,  a lot of birch trees.

We Arrived in Tampere, still nervous and me a little bit impatient. I forgot to look up where to find the Hostel. We asked some people on the street, the first tree weren't of any help. Or they didn't want to speak English, or they just ignored us. Finally we found a girl who showed us the right way to Tampere Dream Hostel. It was really close to the station.

We were very friendly received. Our bikes were allowed to stand inside and we our luggage could stay in the back until there was a room ready for Marcia. Because of our sudden change of plans, the hostel just found out that they that we would stay with them (or at least Marcia was, I was going to stay at Michel his place, a strange thing since Marcia and I have not been sleeping without each other for weeks)

Because of the surprise for Marcia, I was picked up by Mikko, a friend of Michel to prepare the surprise, and Marcia was picked up later by car by Michel.
Marcia was going to see Michel before I did, I was a little bit jealous.

Mikko and I cycled to the secret location: the airport! The big surprise was that We all would be flying ( in turns, since only two people fit in) with Mikko in a small plane! Our first impression of the city would be from high above! 

When Marcia and Michel arrived, Marcia still did not have a glue what the surprise could be. I took her by the hand and told her to look around and than guess what it could be.  'No... your kidding, no this is grazy! are we flying, no, it can't be, this is grazy!!'She couldn't stop shouting and screaming of unbelieve. 
Poor Mikko had to deal with the enthusiasm and hyperactivity of Marcia while getting in the air.


'I went crazy whaaaaaaa. To see Tampere for the first time and then in the air.
A lot of shots  adrenaline.... couldn't stop screaming.. hahaha. I drove Mikko nuts.
It was soooo great to fly. It felt so good. Exciting.
Blue sky, Sunshine and a view from out of the sky. Wow!'

While Marcia was in the air, I had the time to enjoy the company of Michel who I really misted a lot.

Flying was amazing. I was scared and excited at the same time. Strange to see everything in such miniatures. I made some nice video material and pictures.

After Michel and Mikko got back ( which took a bit to long, Marcia and I started  to get bored of waiting. The weather was hot, we were getting sunburned, but were still in thrill of the fly experience which made us more patient than normal)

That evening we had a easy salad meal near the water. While watching the sunset which had amazingly nice colours. It was really an amazing first day in Tampere.
Marcia took a dive in the water and couldn't stop singing of joy 'Party in my pants! '
'So you sleep at my place tonight?' Mikko asked Marcia.

  Strange te leave Marcia in the Hostel in the evening. But I was there first thing in the morning for breakfast. We met a lot of other people in the hostel and had some nice, weird and funny chats.

The common room/kitchen was a nice place to hang out and meet people, although most of them were more connected to their laptop than to each other. But this didn't stop us for trying to make contact. The staff was really nice and we shared stories and food with them.

We were in Tampere for a week and were able to explore the diversity of the city to the fullest.
One morning we spend sitting on the rocks  of the beach close to the centre .

In the evenings we either went for (Frisbee) Disc golf (discogolf. as we kept calling it ). We found it a bit boring, but as long as you are in good company, it can be fun. We only disliked the mosquitoes.


We played ultimide frisbee and took a  dive in the water afterwards from the Laitori
One day we spend the morning in the boutanic gardens  with nice old buildings and nice flowers and plants.We had some coffee in the small coffee house , which used to be an  sauna. 

We went to the small marketplaces with second hand stuff, and to the city shops and bought some lady chill things like mudmasks to have a chill afternoon in Mikko his place, were Marcia stayed for her last days and cooked him and Michel a nice meal.


Michel took us for a city guide tour, which he gives daily to tourists.We saw a lot of interesting things whit nice stories and enjoyed the bridge with the love locks and found our favourite lock without any efford!

Thursday 29th August.
Cycling in kaupi forrest, without luggage, A really nice forrest, but Marcia and I kept cycling in rounds, not getting anywhere, but it was real fun to be lost such a small forest.


We went to on the water near that forest the next day, in a kajak.
This was an amazing 'zen' trip, floating above the rocks in the water and the silence around us and the nice wooden houses near the lake.

Kajakking near the Sauna we saw red burned bodies walking down the stairs from the sauna into the water of the lake. They looked sunburned and made me me think of the film 'Ronja Rober's daughter' of the story of Astrid Lindgren. There is a scene where the robers need to wash themselves in the snow and you see the pink robers bodies in the white snow. Nostalgia again.( Reed more about my love for Ronja here.)

  We went to that sauna afterwards, and Than Marcia and I understood the red burned bodies. The sauna was very, very hot. Two old finnish man where holding a compition in throwing water on the hot stones. The view on the lake was amazing, but the water still very cold water.  It was a succesful first experience of public sauna.

Tampere is a city who seems to have it all. Nature piecefullness and  city lifelyness. The last night before I had to say goodbye to Marcia, we went dancing in a nightclub untill early in the morning.
When we woke up, it was raining, it was raining hard.

'Tampere is crying because I am leaving' said Marcia, before getting in the train. I would stay for two more weeks before going home.  It was hard to let Marcia leave alone., but she managed, of course she did. She even fixed a hotel room for a nice price. Marcia is the best!

Next week: a short reflection on this trip.
Hope you enjoyed the reading so far.