Monday, July 11, 2005

The last word

I came home to Finland two weeks ago and I'm doing fine... I hope you have a nice summer whoever you are. I wish the best for all the people I got to know in Spain, I'm sure I will see some of you again one day.

Got to go now... ¡HASTA LA PROXIMA!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Climbing in Buñol

On Sunday we made a trip once again to the nearby valencian pueblos (it's amazing what kind of nature and climbing possibilities you can find that close). We went there with two cars. We were Fernando, Joel (esp) and I in one, and Stephane (fra), Titus, Peter (hol), Robert (ger) and Anja (pol) in the other. We left as early as we could, at 8, because it was going to be a very hot day.

Buñol, the pueblo famous for its tomato fiesta Tomatina, offers a luxurious climbing valley just a twenty minutes drive from the city of Valencia. After leaving your car behind and following a small river you come into a canyon that is full of walls that rise on top of you. The good thing about this place is that as it is so narrow you can climb all day in the shadow of the sun. That's a big deal as the temperature usually goes way over 30 degrees and it can be even dangerous to be climbing then. Joel had sugary hot tea with him in a thermos bottle, it really tasted awesome under the burning sun.

It's still nine o'clock and we had time to find good walls

Fernando rappelling (securing the other climber) and Joel going up

Some Spanish guys, Titus and Robert

The finlander who came down with a bloody finger after climbing 10 meters

Stephane rappelling with ease and Titus checking that everything is alright

Joel had a great day - he finished every route he started

This is the wall that I also managed to climb all the way up

Stephane enjoyed this beautiful roof (a horizontal wall)

The water in these river pools was, as the Spanish say it, fresco!

We spent half a hour trying to catch the fish with Peter

The Spanish and Arabic boys went nuts with the cold pool and were jumping down from the rocks - a bit of Maroccian music and.... VOILA!

Coming back after a long day

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


...some fotos of the climbing we did last weekend

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Crossing Sierra Bernia

Last Thursday my dutch friend Titus called me and asked me to join him and Stephane to the mountains. I had been waiting for this kind of chance to get out there to the nature, and also climb outdoors for the first time. Straight after my audio synthesis exam on Friday I packed my stuff and got to Titus' place. About nine o'clock in the night we were in Stephane's Peugeot 307 and on our way to Benidorm and Sierra Bernia. When I left in a hurry I didn't know exactly how much hiking we were about to do, and afterwards I had to regret wearing indoor shoes out there in the mountains (still wearing sandals because of my sore toes).

First we walked in almost total darkness a couple of hundred meters up (using as our only torch my Nokia phone!!!). We then crawled a small cave that went through the sierra and found this inexplicable beautiful place, where we were high above the sparkling lights of Benidorm. I guess I suprised Susanna quite much when I called her on her mobile phone to Finland from such an exotic place...

After sleeping there in 800 metres over the sea level we got up at seven and started to climb up on the first mountain top. These ants made such a noise with our empty beer cans in the night that they woke me up and made me afraid of rats. I guess they were thirsty for beer.. :D

The sierra rules the hilly landscape around Benissa, a pueblo right next to Benidorm. Especially for Finnish people this typical Spanish scenery of steep slopes is something very strange and exciting.

About half past two in the evening we had really made our way over all the sierra to the last top, 1120 meters high. Sitting there and drinking my last drips of water and a tropical juice which I had specially reserved for this occasion I had a good reason to smile.

PS. I left in the guestbook a small note for all you who do the same some time in the future and can read Finnish ;-)

Monday, May 16, 2005

La capital de España bajo la vista de dos finlandeses

My friend Juha came from Finland to see me and wanted to try what it's like to travel without tour guides and tourist buses. So I took some time off from my university classes and we jumped on a bus and headed to the capital of Spain.

Madrid struck us with the same astonishment I got the last time I was there. Madrid is situated in over 600 meters from the sea level like most of the central Spain. Is that what gives this city the feel of an anthill..?

In the museum of modern art of Reina Sofia we ran into a work colleague of Juha. After 3 hours of sleep it was confusing to look at the abstract paintings made of lines and circles. Nonetheless we had some laughs figuring out the meaning of some famous works.

Madrid is a city of millions of people but the center is easily crossed by foot. The liveliness of the city feels everywhere (but wait till you see the streets by night!). In May Madrid already starts to warm up and you can feel this especially in the evening. It's much warmer than in coastal Valencia. We walked so that our feet hurt, and then kept on walking (a word of warning: do not wear pumas on a three day sightseeing trip!)
Too bad we didn't get a chance to do any shopping! Well, next time..

We had blue skies and burning sun and the Retiro park was full of people.

The original plan was to see the important local Valencia-Barcelona game. However, when they began asking over one hundred euros for the tickets we thought it was maybe better to save money and just go to watch Real Madrid kick Santander's ass. Outside the stadium, a crooked old man sold us some left over tickets but once inside we sneaked lower on better seats. This is what football is all about!

Maybe the thing that made this trip so memorable was that we met so many new people and saw many truly friendly Erasmus parties (Big shoutout to Moritz and Johannes!). The nightlife madrileño is not famous for nothing. It's really normal to party till six o'clock (we went to sleep at 6 and 7.30 am). At first it feels crazy but I can tell you that every morning people continue their lives as normal. Somehow they have just learned to manage without sleep.

And finally... I don't have the words to thank enough our hostess, Caroline, who gave us a place to stay and showed us around the town. Fue un viaje inolvidable. Hope to hear from you again and you know who to call when you come to Finland some day :)