Travel Journal Entry #7: Co$y in $witzerland

Here is a quote you can pass on to the future generations.

No man has lived to the fullest before paying 15,00€ for a happy meal that makes the poor generation sad.

– George Carcain

 If you were wise enough to read between the lines, Switzerland is ugh.. well.. not cheap for common traveler. Hence we decided to spend two nights in Bern.

However if I was a retired CEO I’d might pack my bags and move here. The views are spectacular all around the city of Bern and the Swiss people more than friendly. Various restaurants sprout from the plazas and the architecture reminds of medieval times. There are also bears.

Bern bear saying what’s up.

Yeah, this place has everything. A vibrant city centre that has all necessary services for the citizens and if you’re growing tired of the masses, take a quick metro-train from Bern railway station and you can watch a cornfield grow in peace.

Corn growing next to the Deisswil station.

Just when you thought there might not be anything else to see, perhaps I can mention the turquise-blue river that runs through the city? Oh yes. Heights, camera, action.

Aare river captured from a bridge.

Truthfully it takes about 2-3 hours to scout the city but if you happen to find a captivating spot you can easily forget where you were going in the first place. That is why you need to go to see the Berns famous Zytglogge-clock tower at the town centre.

The clock is ticking..

Before you know it.. it’s time to catch the next train. Tomorrow we happily start the Italy-leg of our Europe tour! Milan, Firenze, Roma, Bologna and other great cities await us! Have a amazing night and stay tuned for Italy!

– George

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Travel Journal Entry #6: Merci et Au Revoir, Paris

I will state it as it is my dear readers, Paris is kept in a high regard in Europe for a reason. Visit the city for at least three days and you will adjust to the rhythm it speaks out loud. Liberté, Égalité, Fraternite – these are the virtues the people of France hold dear.

The architecture everywhere in the city is stunning and the people living here complement the very ambiance of Paris. The way of life here is not the way of life we Finns tend to live in the north but there surely is a certain kind of charm to it. 

I am now obliged to tell you I’m writing this piece while holding a red wine bottle in my other hand and a belly full of croissants mixed with appetizer cold cuts. I call it the French Night Delight. So my current opinion on Paris might be biased at the moment.

Yesterday we woke up early to get breakfest and set afoot to see the Eiffel tower in all of its glory. It’s never a challenging task to find a suitable breakfast place in Paris as the streets are full of restaurants, créperies and coffee shops. However if you’re on a tight budget you’ll soon find out that the global fastfood restaurants here have the best value for money menus. You’ll be amazed what you can get with 5,00 EUR.

After finishing our breakfast we hopped on a bus near the Paris latin quarter and watched the street signs change for a good 15 minutes. Soon enough our eyes gazed on the majestic Eiffel tower from the ground up. To see the whole building as one we had to walk roughly 200 meters away from the monument. The lush park around Eiffel tower smelled wonderful and the amount of tourists wandering around the monument was not too bad considering the popularity of Eiffel tower.

Le Pointy Thing, Eiffel Tower.

The only thing that was a nuisance was the street merchants that were a bit of aggressive in selling Eiffel tower merchandise around the park. We soon found out that best way to avoid scammers, pickpockets and desperate merchants was to inform them we do not speak english.

After we had made our peace with the Eiffel tower we headed out to see the Arc De Triumph. Man the monument was larger in real life than I was expecting it to be. My biggest worry was the car traffic around it and the careless tourists that wandered fearlessly in it to get the perfect vacation picture. 

Joanne D’ Arc De Triumph. Oh, wait, no.

The monument is located on the Champs-Elysee road which is filled with restaurants, fashion shops and bars. We even found an event celebrating the transfer of famous football player Neymar Jr. to the team PSG. If I understood correctly the star player was giving out signed team shirts to fans. We settled for an icecream in nearby shop.

Football hype that I wish I’d understand.

Finishing the Paris experience with some slightly guessed statistics:

  • The amount of croissants eaten: 12
  • The amount of wine bottles enjoyed: 5
  • The amount of Bonjours: ~ 74
  • The amount of Merci’s: ~ 63
  • The amount of trying to act like you understood what the cashier told you: ~ infinite

Paris, you are alright. Next time I will come to visit you will be with the love of my life. Tomorrow we have to pack our bags and the planned destination will be Bern in Switzerland! Have a great night everybody! 

– George

Travel Journal Entry #5: Bonjour, Paris


As Brussels did not leave such a great memory in my mind, I was keen on traveling to Paris. We have seen now second class train couches from three different countries (Germany, Amsterdam and Belgium) and god damn the train was sweet this time from Brussels to Paris. 

Even though one has purchased interrail-ticket it does not mean that additional charges do not apply depending on the country you are traveling to/from. Belgium, France and Switzerland at least in our experience are countries which demand mandatory seat reservations. 

This means you have to pay from 9,00 EUR to 35,00 EUR additional to get on the train. We had to pay 20,00 EUR each this time to get our seats. However there is a plus side to mandatory seat reservation as you don’t have to change seats during the train ride (if someone has reserved the seat you’re sitting in, you have to move to somewhere else) which can bothersome if the coach is full.

The train from Brussels to Paris was operated by company Thalys which is known for international high-speed trains. The seats were large and comfy, we got a sweet durable folding table and charger-slots for mobile phones. Best train we’ve seen so far! Probably explains the higher seat reservation charge.

We reached Paris in two hours and the train station was buzzing with people! To keep up with our travel plan, we went straight ahead to book seats to our train to Bern, Switzerland next week. Then off to our hotel to take a small rest and make plans for the first evening in Paris.

We booked a two star hotel for four nights in the Luxembourg-region in Paris, as it was close to church of Notre Dame. The rate per night was also ridiculously cheap. Roughly 500 meters and there it was, Notre Dame! 

Notre Dame + tourists. Photoshoot 247.

After witnessing Notre Dame from all possible sides we went for a dinner and found a pretty swell indian restaurant. Korma chicken and naan bread never disappoints a hungry traveller.

Next morning started with a lengthy stroll through the Luxembourg Park which was built by the Medici family. The park was simply breathtaking due to the variety of plants and trees. In the middle of the park was also a enormous water fountain where the kids could steer toy boats. The air in the park was so fresh and really woke us up! 

Panorama picture of Luxembourg Park.

The exploration day continued with the French version of Pantheon. Basically the french people wanted to have a Pantheon that would outshine the one in Rome. So the architect Soufflot was given free hands and the result was le magnifique. The level of detail in the marble carvings were incredible. I have to compare this Pantheon to the original one when we get to Rome.

Pantheon, Paris version.

To top the day off we decided to head to the Louvre museum and check out the surroundings. There were so many people trying to imitate the Pisa-leaning-picture with the Louvre triangle. Ughh. Get creative people. In the end we decided to mess with the people and shoot photos where my friend was holding the tourists by their head while they were holding Louvre. Enticing.

Louvre. The place where Mona Lisa hides.

The kilometer counter after these local Paris attractions was already over five kilometers and our legs started to send signals to relax, so we headed to hotel and did just that. 

Tomorrow we have a date with the big F tower so I am sleeping like a baby tonight. Have a great one and see you later!

– George

Travel Journal Entry #2: Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin

Six days in Berlin came to end today and it was time to pack our bags, leaving me to reminisce the last week. 

On Thursday night one of our finest friends came to Berlin to accompany our adventure for the weekend. It felt absolutely great to see familiar face in unfamiliar place! First stop on Friday was the Europes largest waterpark, Tropical Islands. In earlier post I mentioned that german people are a bit open than Finns in equal nudity in public spaces.

Large ceiling poster at the waterpark.

It didn’t take more than couple of steps to the locker rooms and I was greeted with a beatiful lady with no top on. Not sure if she had bottom on either as I politely did 180° and waited for my turn to use the lockers.
The waterpark did not work directly with normal currency, instead everyone wore electronic watches that kept a log of everything you spent in the waterpark and you had to clear the debt before departing. 

Entrance fee was 42,00 EUR and if you wanted to enter the Sauna & Spa complex, total was 49,00 EUR. In order to get most of the high entrance fee, we decided to spent almost the whole day there swimming and relaxing. 

It was super refreshing experience and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone in Berlin. Please do note that the waterpark is located 60km from Berlin centre so you need to buy train tickets to Brand Tropical Islands-station from Berlin Hbf. Then the free shuttle bus ride will delivers you to front gate.

On Saturday we started to get really thirsty and it was time to experience the 21st Berlin Beer Festival. The festival started near Alexanders Platz in the centre of Berlin and the beer tents kept on going from street to street. All roads near the event were securily barred to avoid any incidents, which reminded us travellers that terrorist attacks have claimed victims even in Berlin.

The event itself was glorious and had breweries from 74 different countries. Luckily we were able to buy 0.2dl tastemug so the alcohol did not totally ruin our day. However we did find one special beer which we had to try out! 

Berlin Bear next to Cannabis Strong 8%.

Although it did not contain any actual THC, it did the trick like any other alcohol. Sunday was all about recuperating, relaxing and spending the last day at the town laughing with my friends. 

Now the train has brought us to Amsterdam, Sin City of Europe. Guess we better soak up the experience and report back to you later! Have a good night!

– George

Vanity Card #51 – The Countdown Sequence

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….

… Please…

…Stand by….

The following takes place between January 25th  – March 22nd.

The first three months of 2017 were truly a chaotic hell ride through hoops and high water. At the end of February, the three amigos; me and my two childhood friends; disbanded our shared apartment and we moved to different area codes. It was a fun year and a half, in a one wicked way or another I am going to miss it.

If life ever was a game of monopoly, I am currently residing near the starting line. The retreat from our earlier apartment was a hasty decision indeed and we all did not have a bulletproof plan where to find lodging after February. So I decided to grab my belongings and stash them into a storage space and stay here, at least for a while with my family. Not the perfect escape route I admit, but it’s a rent fee solution, the pros dominate the cons.

When the year changed to four new digits I promised myself that I would cut loose all the strings that had no meaningful purpose in my life and start anew, building a future for myself that I can live with my heart out. The plan has been in the works and now we’re closing on an important milestone. Please applaud my trusty countdown calendar on site!

Oh, now you are struggling to find it.

This is your captain speaking, if you please turn your head up and little to the left you are able to see the engine number two on fire and the sweet countdown sequence calendar.

Cabin crew, please prepare for emergency landing!

So what does the countdown calendar actually mean? Well, I believe that is a mighty fine story for the next Vanity Card, which I will not promise will be shortly published. I am a grouchy slouch after all. All I can say, I am cutting loose!

Enjoy your tick-tock-countdown-calendar!

-George

Vanity Card #49 – The Grand Curtain Call

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Oh, hello there! I did not see you there, glancing at my well written words and prepositions. You want me to supply you another Vanity Card? I must ask your endless forgiveness my dear friend as the rumors incite that the production has been stopped completely.

Did you not hear? Presumably the author struck into madness while trying to survive from a writing drought? The coppers found him running naked through the town streets only wearing a quill and an ink pot between his butt cheeks. Straight to skid row asylum, I tell you!

Now if you may escort yourself out of my premises, I bid you adieu!

Sorry for breaking out of character as this was all just a grand scheme, friendly banter, benevolent bamboozle my old’ chap! What a gullible crowd we have tonight – perhaps you have liquored your taste buds de trop already even though the clock has not struck midnight? Well, who am I to judge us all.

All I can say tonight is – I feel eminently ecstatic to turn the 2016 into 2017!

The truth is 2016 started with a thick dark haze – overshadowing the ignorance of what I genuinely wanted out of life – ending up working diligently through the mud just to have a breather every now and then. For months I used to be very talkative about the rational fear, the kind of fear that blocks you from turning your life upside down to see where you actually stand on the grand map of enjoyable life. Now I hunt for the perfect combination of meaningful work, enticing travel and casual leisure.

The few remaining months I pondered on and on about what drastic measures are the ones that must be maneuvered to gain a second chance at a happy life. One thing leads to another and since the domino blocks have already been laid out in the open, I will eagerly wait to topple the first one down as the year of 2017 starts rolling out!

I do want to invite you for the baffling journey and as my own New Year’s resolution, I will solemnly promise to start pushing out new content on a monthly basis.

Happy New Year 2017, I wish you all a great, grand adventure!

– George

Vanity Card #46 – The Pursuit of New Reneissance

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The older I grow, the more and the merrier I acknowledge the fact that the media and our western culture pushes our understanding of the good life to the brink of personal bankruptcy.

Our generation (I am talking about the last generation that escaped the womb to experience first hand the joy of Tamagotchi’s, Super Mario and the hair-craze flat iron) was the last victim of the values that were hardened on us when we were little, taught when the world was wearing a sundress  – thrilling us to believe that honest hard work, long office hours, family of five kids accompanied by a dog was all the marital bliss one individual was able to achieve during one lifetime.

Twenty-something years later the same generation finds themselves as a graduate from the long drive through of ECTS credits with a damn fine diploma to bury it away somewhere in the middle of five to ten menial job credentials.

The world lies in ruins, the economy is stripped down to the bare essentials and the most conspiracy-nut jobs talk about inside jobs that were paid posthumously by Steve Jobs to corporate the whole world by giving blowjobs to the Wall-Street executives that bribe cops to kill a fellow worker for just the price of a happy meal.

You might smell a hint of exaggeration between my ramblings but nobody can’t avoid the fact that our society builds upon commercializing everything under the sun and the general public’s highway to have a happy, joyful life is to get a loan or find a loan shark to finance your dream of being in debt for the rest of your life.

I am hardly the last of the Mohicans that tries to hunt traces of freedom from the pursuit of preserved continuity, from the vast legends long told before we were ready to put our suits on and walk into the office closet in the name of prosperity. Back to the roots of the curious minds of the Renaissance.

I want to be free, to think different and capture the world as long as my pulsing heart gives me time.

There is no home like that left- most sanctums have been sold for eight pieces of soul and five days of your week. We treat every philosopher, poor stranger, asylum seeker and a free thinker as the inhumane, jobless husk of a soul not worth a dime for the society. Media directs our attention to Kardashians and the rest of the celebrity gossip. Evolution is still discussed as a theory rather than the force that molds the world we live in.

The quote by Eleanor Roosevelt has never been so true as today:

Great minds discuss ideas; average discuss events; small minds discuss people.

The community keeps baiting both sides into a open conflict, hence the riot claims more lives than spent dollars. Yet I truly believe we are on the edge of another breakthrough of our current society model. We have been riding this train of 1800’s factory worker way too long and the stop is long due. I dream of a better world.

World where we create jobs where they truly exist rather than forcing every individual into a pressurized model that does not fit ones hinges. We are not clay, we are blood, bones and guts.

Unity is assembled from the chess set pieces.

So believe me when I state this – no authority in the modern society should point which cog you should be in the clockwork of the mankind.

Keep tickin’ to your own purpose and dreams before you simply seize to exist.