Autumn in Helsinki

Autumn in Helsinki

Autumn is my favourite season and Helsinki is one of the best cities to experience it. This is because Helsinki has a lot of parks and open spaces, even in the very centre of Helsinki where I live.

One of my favourite spots for an Autumn photo is under the tree beside the House of Parliament. This spot never fails to display the rich colour of Autumn because of the colourful leaves of this particular maple tree.

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Across the street from the National Museum is another open space with beautiful, vivid trees. It’s a wonderful feeling sat on the terrace, enjoying coffee and just be soaked in the surrounding beauty. Walking further is the Hesperian Park where a full Autumn bloom awaits. It’s amazing how nature reveals itself as season changes.

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Photos by arivitikainenphotography.com

Mountain, sea and sunset in beautiful Norway

Mountain, sea and sunset in beautiful Norway

There is no denying. Norway is beautiful. I have been to Hammerfest before and I know this to be true. This time was about exploring another part of Norway to enjoy the mountain, the sea and the sunset.

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The first day was an easy climb to Ersfjord in Kvaløya. Kvaløya is just some 15 minutes drive from the Tromsø city center. It was such a breathtaking beauty!

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Also climbed Brosmetinden on the same day. Brosmetinden is only 525 meters above sea level but it is very steep and the way is very rocky. It also didn’t help that it started raining resulting to low visibility. Basically walking through the clouds and I did like that!

Can you see me? The one and only! Felt like a weather forecaster in the last photo or at least checking the state of the rocks. Hello rocks, how are you?

Drove to the cold, windy, rainy and pretty Sommarøy island the next day. Beautiful but empty beaches because of the weather that day.

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But such a sunset drama unfolding. It was a spectacular sight!

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Left Sommarøy after a night there and took the ferry to Senja. The ferry ride was some 45 minutes from the Brensholmen to Botnhamn. Stayed in Skaland in Senja to explore the Husfjellet the next day.

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Husfjellet was such a hard climb because of the rain the day before. It was very steep, muddy which made it very slippery and was basically walking on the swamp. But what a lovely view on the top and a peaceful walk going down.

Then a magnificent sea sunset in Skaland where baby whales can be seen from afar.

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After two nights in Senja, it was time to head to Ersfjordbotn. But wait, one last look at the mountain I climbed the day before. This time it was very windy. I was about to be blown away literally!

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Stayed by the fjord in Ersfjordbotn. What a striking sunset view! Can you see me?

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The last evening in Norway this time was spent climbing (again!) to see a better view of the Ersfjorden and thinking of returning to Norway someday soon! One thing about this trip was to understand how the weather changes easily. It was an alternating sunny and rainy days. I also had to retire my red shoes because it was soaking wet!

(All photos by Ari Vitikainen)

Helsinki and the HAM

Helsinki and the HAM

Most of my travels include a museum visit. I love that feeling of serenity – that state of being calm, peaceful and having the notion of being unaffected by the world outside. I’m one with the art and I can stay in that state for hours. In Helsinki, the museums are almost part of my living room. I visit them as often as I can that sometimes it feels like I own those pieces of art!

The nearest museum from the flat is some 4 minutes away by walk. HAM stands for Helsinki Art Museum. They offer art activities on Saturdays and the workshop is always open if you feel like sketching or having a try at graffiti art. Also, Wednesdays are free entrance. Two large frescoes by Tove Jansson are on permanent display there. There is also a room with a sofa and a shelf filled with Tove Jansson’s Moomin books in different languages. There is a table with coloured pens and papers, and chairs.IMG_6953

And of course, a place to relax with colourful pillows.

 

 

 

 

So I was at this room, sat on the sofa, writing away on my Moleskine. I was writing a part of Tove Jansson’s poem which says, “I paint you on the wall and there you’ll be like you were when you loved me.” Then people started greeting me, like the lazy museum guard I was in my black t-shirt. (I always wear black t-shirt!) I guess I was looking like a permanent fixture! I moved to the workshop and a kid approached me to ask if he can write also.

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The mum said the kid was so inspired to copy what I did and he hanged his writing next to mine.

But the best place is the whole top floor where they have the graffiti exhibition.

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If I had to write a thesis again, it will be about graffiti art. These would be all my textbooks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, it will be hand-written on a Moleskine!

The magnificent Mt Fuji

The magnificent Mt Fuji

850_3322After taking a very expensive Shinkansen ride from Kyoto to Mishima, it took a bit over an hour to reach Fujikawaguchiko on a Thomas’ Land bus. It was a lovely surprise to get on a Thomas’ Land bus. It was the cutest bus I’ve ever been!

850_3331Arriving in Fujikawaguchi, Mt Fuji’s presence can be easily felt. It is very domineering that there is no way to miss it. It is behind the bus station and it shows itself at the restaurant while eating a bowl of soba.

Then a further 25 minutes ride on another bus led to Lake Kawaguchiko where Mt. Fuji reveals itself in all its majesty.

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36518196_10156990265472137_1575591314970378240_nAnd by the Lake Kawaguchiko, I also saw the prettiest manhole ever!

Mt Fuji can also be seen from the guesthouse’s window while having breakfast and dinner. Even when taking a shower!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen @ arivitikainenphotography.com

Beautiful Kyoto

Beautiful Kyoto

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Imagine to be in a place so green, beautiful trees surrounding you. Then comes the rain, a wonderful relief from the summer heat. You are sat under a shade, feeling calm as you wait for the rain to pass by.

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Then you walk pass a beautiful garden. So beautiful, so breathtaking. It represents peace and tranquility.

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Then imagine walking pass traditional houses lined up on the narrow road. You walk in silence as not to disturb anyone. You are amazed at how clean these roads are. How quiet, how peaceful.

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This is Kyoto. Beautiful Kyoto.

I love Japan

I love Japan

It’s really hard not to fall in love with Japan. And the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai never failed to inspire. So you can imagine how happy I was to see the original The Great Wave off Kanagawa. The original The Great Wave off Kanagawa was published in the late Edo period sometime between 1829 and 1833 as the first print in Hokusai’s series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. It is Hokusai’s most famous work and one of the most recognisable works of Japanese art in the world.

36223119_10217033216722550_7207767051895570432_oAnd there is this pretend thing where I was watching aged Hokusai at work with his daughter, Katsushika Oi. Amazing! It felt so real this diorama.

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Then there is the International Manga Museum in Kyoto. I’m seeing this form of art in a different way now after I learnt a lot about it. It was very inspiring. Ended with art supplies but let’s see how I will manage to find time to try my new pens, especially now that I got my own Hanko in Kanji characters!

Then there’s the Japanese food. I love Japanese food because why not! And I was even amazed how ordering a meal can happen by dropping coins into a machine.

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Japanese people are also very respectful, helpful and kind. The busyness of Tokyo gives a sense of serenity because people are not loud, no loud music, no talking on the phones… Just peace and being considerate of each other at all times. Japan is also unbelievable clean. Kudos to Japanese people!

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Germany, finally

Germany, finally

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It’s true. I have to admit. I am such a sad person. My very first entry point to Europe was Frankfurt. After that I have been passing Germany many times. In Frankfurt, in Munich, in Hamburg and other stops where I don’t even try to remember the names of the places. Yes, stops. I was at the airports with no intention of going out. Sorry to say but Germany was one country that I was not attracted to. I can’t even pinpoint why. Maybe because in my mind, I associated Germany with physics, numbers and formulas. I pictured it with industrial buildings and nerdy, very efficient, no non-sense people. Even my former German colleague has a PhD in Chemistry! And in my travels, I want arts. I want arts badly. Yes, I am a sad person.

So when I went to Hamburg in September for an event, I was embarrassed to say that it was my first time to go out of the airport. And even more embarrassed because I was there meeting artistic people! The first person I got talking with was an artist who showed me her sketchbook of landscape drawings. I even went out with a group of Germans to do Urban Sketching. Then I met this lovely lady whose art I crazily admire. My heart skips a beat every time I see her sketchnotes. So my idea of Germany came tumbling down!

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So this time was the second. This time in Berlin for a workshop about visuals! I was so wrong. So wrong that I feel the need to apologise. So to reverse this embarrassing situation, I’m supposed to be posting a photo of a German artist but that didn’t actually work out. I was so admiring his work that I forgot to take photos when the light is right. But then I finally got signed copies of his/my books! The amazing artist is Malte von Tiesenhausen.

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