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Hasliberg, Switzerland

I absolutely love the mountains. Up until three or so years ago I was somehow convinced my love for the mountains was restricted to the winter when there's snow and I can go snowboarding, but then I discovered hiking. Now I don't know how I ever assumed I wouldn't like the mountains in the summer, because I can't think of many things more enjoyable than grabbing my camera, packing some snacks and heading to the mountains for a little hike. The views are just so majestic and there's something utterly calming about the nature. 

So far I haven't explored the mountains here as much as I wish I had, but thankfully I do still have plenty of time. I have gone up to the Berner Oberland and Bernese Alps only a couple of times, the first of which was the first weekend after arriving in Switzerland. I got a chance to go hiking in the Hasliberg area with my host family, and absolutely loved the views. Although not so high up itself, the views of the Bernese Alps were lovely and I was happy to find that it wasn't too busy, at least not on the Sunday afternoon that we went there. Not to say I don't like people, I just prefer hiking in places that are not too crowded. Anyway, here are a few of the shots from Hasliberg. 

Bern - first impressions

Bern, Switzerland

It's now been just over a month since I arrived in Bern. Although I've used a lot of my free weekends to take a train outside the city to explore the surroundings, I've had a change to walk around Bern and get to know my new base, too. Here are my first impressions of this Swiss capital and some of the first photos I've snapped while exploring the city. Apologies for the quality of the photos, I really need to sort my camera out...

The first thing I fell in love with was the river Aare that flows through the city. I get to live very close to it and love going for runs or just walking by it. I just can't stop being mesmerized by its gorgeous turquoise color. I've never seen anything like it in any of the other countries I've lived in, and I just find it somehow incredibly beautiful. 

The city centre itself is lovely, too. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and truly worth seeing with its picturesque buildings and the stunning views of the Alps. A lover of mountains and snow, I'm definitely a sucker for the Alps so living in such proximity of them and constantly seeing them in the horizon is an absolute dream. This is a perfect location for me; close to the Alps so I can get there whenever I want, but still a city meaning it's more lively and something is constantly happening around me. Bern is not a big place especially considering it's the capital, but so far it has always offered something interesting and I've yet to explore most of it. 

Prague photo diary #3

Prague, Czech Republic

I was meant to post these last few photos from my Prague weekend a long, long time ago, but here they finally are. Looking at these now, five months after the trip, I'm falling in love with Prague all over again and can't wait to go back to Czech Republic one day. It was such a beautiful city with fantastic people, and the beginning of April was a lovely time to visit at least this year. I'd imagine May and the summer would be pretty great, too, but I'm assuming everything would be more crowded. Even in April there were a lot of tourists, so I assume in the summer the city is just filled with people.

I got to see quite a lot of the city even though I was there for just three days. We walked around the city a lot, went to the Prague castle and took the train out of the city to visit Karlštejn castle. The train from Prague to Karlštejn took around 45 minutes and then a further 30-ish minutes to walk to the castle from the train station, so it's a perfect day or half a day trip from Prague if you fancy seeing the surrounding countryside a bit, too.

I'm the type of person who loves to just walk around to feel the atmosphere of a place, I'm not a fan of running around crowded 'must-see' attractions or museums, although it's always nice to visit a few if there is something interesting. Besides, this trip was equally about exploring Prague and catching up with an old friend, so just walking around and hanging out was a great way to combine both. That's probably why my absolute favourite part of the trip was renting a paddle boat and chilling on the Vltava river with a few ciders and beers in the evening sun. Would definitely recommend those paddle boats, the views are great and it's just so nice and chill :)

My Swiss adventure

Bern, Switzerland

It's been months since my last post, clearly I still have a long way to go to get consistent with blogging. I know I've said this before, but I'm filled with new determination and motivation again thanks to some amazing changes in my life recently, so I hope I'll get back on track with this blog.

A lot has changed since April: I quit my job at the end of May because I just didn't enjoy it and spent a lovely two-month summer vacation hanging out with my friends and family. I can't remember the last time I had such a long break from work or school, it was so relaxing.

The biggest change of all came a month ago, when I packed my bags and moved to Berne, Switzerland. I'm here until the end of June next year and I couldn't be more excited! I've been in love with Switzerland since my three-day trip to Zermatt in the Swiss Alps in the summer of 2014. I can still remember the moment we stopped on our way to the Alps in a little town called Lutry by Lake Geneva (or Lac Leman, if you prefer that name) and as I stood by the lake looking to the horizon with the mountains rising behind the clear blue lake, I just thought it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen and I was instantly in love.

So my level of excitement was somewhat off the charts when exactly two years later I find out I've got the chance to move to Switzerland for nearly a year. I had been looking for ways to move abroad again ever since I moved back to Finland after university, so this opportunity is just what I wanted. I'm working for the afternoons and evenings during the week, but the weekends I'm free to travel around and explore.

For the next ten months I'm planning on documenting my Swiss adventure on this blog. Besides exploring this gorgeous country, I'm trying to figure out what to do after this year because frankly, I have no idea what I want to do in life other than travel around. After two months of slacking off I also need to finally get back to my workout routine.

I'm so excited to see what these next 10 months have in store, because the past month that I've already spent here has gone incredibly fast and been an incredible experience already.

Prague photo diary #2

Prague, Czech Republic

The start of my weekend in Prague did not quite go to plan. Due to a series of mishaps I found myself in the middle of Prague at 10pm on a Friday night with no idea where I was going or how to get in touch with my friend. 

We had agreed to meet in the centre because he lives on the opposite side of the town to the airport, and I was meant to text him when I landed so he would know what time to be there. I did text him, and found my way to where we were meant to meet just fine. After waiting for a while with no reply from him I started to wonder. I was feeling a little uncomfortable in standing there on a dark square in central Prague with my bags, looking like a lost puppy. I decided to call my friend, only to find out then that he had given me a wrong number by accident. Well fuck.

I figured it was fine, though, since I had given him my number, too. Surely he was going to call me in a bit considering I had told him what time my flight was meant to land. I paced around a while longer, and tried to get Facebook to work so I could get in touch with him, impatient as ever. There was no wifi and although I tried to turn data roaming on, it wasn't working either. I was still able to open our conversion from earlier that day, however, and I scrolled to check the number he had given me in case I had missed something. That's when I also double-checked my number and found I had missed a zero in the middle. Fuck. 

There I stood, on a square in a dark, completely unfamiliar city and country with literally no idea where to go or how to get in touch with my friend. I mean I wasn't panicking or anything, but I was really having to work my brain trying to figure out how to solve my little dilemma. That's when I realised there was a McDonald's around the corner, and thank God for their free wifi. Saved my day. There was even a group of British guys, drunk of course, in front of me in the queue when I went to order some fries to eat while I waited my friend to get there after getting in touch with him. Made me feel strangely contented to hear the familiar accent and loud, drunken conversations of a bunch of lads on tour.

I definitely learned a travel lesson, the first of two on this trip, from the whole mishap. From now on, I will always double check phone numbers, and more importantly find out the address of the place where I'm going. You know, just in case. Although I have to admit I did enjoy the sense of minor adventure in being lost in an unfamiliar city. 

Newfound addiction to running

Lahti, Finland

I made a decision towards the end of December last year to make running a more consistent part of my workout routine. I've never been a big fan of going on runs, I've always preferred playing sports like floorball or tennis, where I just focus on the game and don't even realise how much I'm actually running back and forth.

To avoid setting my goals and expectations too high, I set myself a goal to go for just one 5k run per week. I've been running on and off for a few years but never managed to make it a consistent habit. Now, nearly 4 months into the year, I'm pretty amazed to find I've stuck with my plan. I even did my weekly run in Thailand when I was on holiday and swallowed my million excuses and did my 5k in -22 degrees Celsius at the end of January. Old me used to run only in the summer when it was nice and warm outside. 

I did run on a treadmill all of February and March, though, thanks to the icy roads and the fact that my favourite running track in the nearby forest turns into a cross country skiing track in the winter. I'm not a fan of running on the treadmill and never have been. I find it boring and all too easy to quit whenever I start feeling the slightest bit tired. Running outside, on the other hand, I've slowly grown to enjoy. The change of scenery and the fact that I need to run back home anyway make me much less likely to stop half-way through. I was therefore excited when the snow and ice finally melted away and I could start running outside again. I even invested in a new pair of trainers to motivate myself.

I was expecting to enjoy running more now that I can run outside again and have some new gear, but I was definitely not expecting to get absolutely addicted to it. I received my new shoes in the mail on Wednesday, and was outside testing them within a half an hour of getting home from work. I ran my fastest ever mile straight away. I was so excited about the shoes and how much fun it was to run that the next morning I got up extra early and went for a run before work, which is something I never imagined doing. I ran my fastest 5k that morning. Yesterday, I set out to go run 10k (a distance I've only ever run twice before) and ended up running 12k, my farthest ever. It also ended up being my personal best for 10k. I never thought a pair of new running shoes could make that big of a difference.

I'm literally so excited about it all. I mean I'm still a rather slow runner and my personal bests are not impressive, but to me they prove I'm moving to the right direction and getting better. They motivate me and as a naturally competitive person, I can't wait to try to beat my own records. The most amazing thing is how much I find myself loving going on runs. I feel so accomplished when I'm done with a run that I've got addicted to that feeling of achievement.

Now I just hope I can keep up the habit and stay motivated. Any great tips and tricks on how to do that are more than welcome!

Prague photo diary #1

Prague, Czech Republic

I was incredibly lucky and fortunate to get to live abroad and go to an international school when I was a teenager thanks to my dad working abroad. It's definitely had a massive impact on who I am today. Anyway, one of the (if not the) best thing about going to an international school was making friends from a bunch of different countries who now live all around world. I love catching up with them, and it's always amazing to meet up with them somewhere. Earlier this month I got to visit one of my old school friends in Prague for a long weekend, and it was the most fun I've had in a long time. 

I had heard a lot of great things about Prague and I had been meaning to visit my friend for years, but somehow never got around to it. In early March I spotted a great deal for flights, though, and just went ahead and booked them without thinking it over much more than that. I did not regret my spur of the moment decision, either: Prague as a city was absolutely lovely. Full of tourists, but not in a horrible way. Can't blame them, either, it was definitely worth visiting. Beautiful buildings, friendly people and relatively inexpensive, so I definitely fell in love with the place. I was there on the first weekend of April, and the weather was amazing, too. Here are a few snaps from the trip, more to come in another post :) 

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