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Showing posts from 2008

All about French Cheese

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Welcome to a virtual cheese tour de France. We tasted the country’s sumptuous variety of cheeses to prepare this little gift to you.

Separatist Corsica, France

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Corsicans don’t leave the French cold. Some people recommended the island for us warmly, while others advised to avoid it. We wanted to see ourselves what to think about this small, separatist island and its trigger-happy inhabitants. We avoided the high season and headed there in December. It turned out to be a good choice. We saw only a couple of other tourists, but still enjoyed relatively mild climate. In the summertime it is said to be very hot, crowded and crazy expensive as there are some two million tourists in Corsica every year.

Perpignan and Montpellier, France

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We returned to France to explore the South coast. Our route started from Perpignan near the Spanish border. We were welcomed in a French way: SNCF (the French railway monopoly) was on strike so we had to take a bus instead.We were told that Perpignan is the poorest city in France. There are a lot of immigrants and gypsies, who wore black clothes instead of the traditional gypsy outfits. The city is pretty divided and there are separate areas for each group. The city centre is old and quite dilapidated and thus one of the poorest areas. The alleys are narrow and colourful with a lot of laundry hanging on lines in front of windows.

The Most Dangerous Country In The World

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[Suomeksi] People have been asking us what is the most dangerous country we have ever visited. The answer is—quite unexpectedly—Spain. We have been in Brazilian favelas, South-African shantytowns, Bali after the 2005 bombings, Thailand during the 2006 military coup, and dealt with the Russian militsiya-mafia without any problems. Then we went to Alicante, Spain, and got robbed. That was the first robbery during the four years of our travels in over 50 countries.

Robbery

Our computer and a lot of money was robbed in Alicante, Spain yesterday.

Mountain Boarding In Toulouse

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Toulouse is a lovely and sunny city near the Pyrenees profiting from Southern France’s mild climate. French people love their Southern cities: Marseille, Montpellier and Toulouse. Toulouse cannot boast with beautiful coastline as its rivals, but it still draws some 10.000 new inhabitants every year. They are attracted by the liveliness of the city. There is a lot going on all the time.

Aubusson, Limousin, France

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We stayed four months in Aubusson, Limousin, to finish our newest manuscript, a thriller. Aubusson was an ideal place for us. There is only some 5000 inhabitants and nothing to see. The city is nice and quiet except on some Saturdays when wedding guests drive through the city honking car horns. We had absolutely everything we needed there: a nice apartment, more than one supermarket, and a library with a wonderful, friendly staff. Thank you, Sylvie!

Hippie Cheese - The Secret Of Goat Cheese

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Some forty years ago a group of people decided to return to nature and leave big cities, mainly Paris. Hippies were driven by the ideas of simple lifestyle and communities. They ended up farming, producing cheese, or making various handicrafts such as pottery. Nowadays they appear to run in the rat race just like those who stayed behind, and family seems to be the only form of community that survived.

Generic Travel Blog Generator

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Building An Ecohouse (Passive) in Franche-Comté

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Our friends Thomas and Li are constructing an ecological house of straw bales in Héricourt in the province of Franche-Comté, France. We helped them doing all kinds of construction work without much prior building experience and got hands-on with ecological challenges. We painted, plastered, varnished, worked on parquet and tiles, cleaned dust and construction waste, cut the grass, weeded the garden, cooked, etc. It was fun to do some physical work for a change, or not really work because we were volunteering. We were especially happy because it was not our house as we are perfectionists. All tiny gaps and unsymmetrical lines here and there in any house would drive us crazy if we had to own it.

ASUS International Warranty

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Our previous laptop broke about 1,5 years ago. It was a no-brand one with just one year warranty. When we were selecting the new one, we wanted to have one with two years international warranty to make sure it would serve us for at least that time. After comparing various models and their warranty conditions we ended up trusting in ASUS. The laptop had quite a good price-quality ratio while it was not broken. There were minor compatibility issues with sound card which never worked for simultaneous playback of midi’s and recording the output to audio. Some drivers that came with the laptop were crappy and others crappier, but without using them it was pretty OK.

Burgundy Vineyards

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The province of Burgundy (Bourgogne) is famous for its vineyards and white wine. We spent a month in this beautiful area and continued our cheese pilgrimage.Päivi’s parents came to France to have a holiday with us and rented a summer cottage (gîte) from a little Burgundy village called Clavoillon. There were about one hundred residents and hundreds of funny-looking beef cows all over the paddocks together with some donkeys. The village and scenery was much like in Cheviot in the South Island of New Zealand, except a bit hillier.

Two Rivers: La Loire and Rhein

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Two of the blood veins of Europe, rivers La Loire in France and Rhein in Germany and Switzerland are like night and day. The French worship their rivers whereas the Germans and the Swiss harness them.We spent a month in the valley of Loire and explored cities of Blois, Orléans and Tours. We met again great people who introduced us to the best of France. The areas were near Paris, just one or two hours away by fast TGV trains, but the mentality is completely different. People are not stressed and arrogant, fighting with each other in metro and traffic chaos like they sometimes appear to do in the busy and important capital.

Part 2: Armchair Travelling

[Suomeksi]The series about travel literature continues. This time we’ll take a plunge into the world of fiction and reality TV, where life itself is a travel. Travelling is a convenient theme for a writer as it contains a lot of action. Aristotle already said that action is the vital principle and very soul of drama. When only depicting the innermost of the protagonist, the story often becomes a formless monologue full of self-appraisal and self-pity. So why not to do something and seek some adventures for a change! Action! Travelling is often used to describe a change that the protagonist goes through in his life. This so called bildungsroman is a novelistic form which concentrates on the spiritual, moral, psychological, or social development and growth of the protagonist usually from childhood to maturity. Some of the most well-known examples of the genre are Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist, Hermann Hesse’s Siddartha, and John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, To That Which …

Mobile Phone Cliff in Hong Kong

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Suomeksi We visited a very special and little known, almost a hidden sight in Hong Kong called Mobile Phone Cliff. Local people don't usually tell foreigners about it and we found the place quite accidentally when looking for a vegetable market. It was fascinating.

Lantau Island, Hong Kong

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There are few places that—after staying for a while—we have grown to like more than in the beginning. Hong Kong is one of them. We started by hospitality exchange with a Hong Kong couple, Matilda and Chris. We had a great time cooking and enjoying lazy days talking, jogging, walking, and getting groceries for the next meal. They actually introduced us the idea of living in one of Hong Kong’s islands. We chose Lantau and ended up staying there for some two months enjoying a possibility to host other travellers, too.

Chinese Anarchist

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Here is a funny photo we took of a Chinese anarchist.

Warm Feet, Happy Feet

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The winter in Hong Kong was very cold thanks to climate change. Here is a photo about how Päivi's feet survived. It's pretty cold. Hope this photo will warm you up a bit.