Jul 2, 2015

Hyvää matkaa Mikko

Rakas, ihana ja rohkea ihminen, setäni Mikko Muikku on lähtenyt maailmasta perjantaina 26.6.2015. Mikko oli kuollessaan 36-vuotias. Monet kuvittelee sedän kaukaisena sukulaisena, joka on yleensä itseä ainakin 20 vuotta vanhempi. Kun minä synnyin, Mikko oli täyttänyt juuri 15 vuotta. Mikon ja kaikkien muidenkin nuorempien tätien ja setien kanssa muodostui omanlaisensa suhde, koska ikäeroa oli niin vähän ja heidän oli helppo leikkiä meidän kanssa kun me lapset olimme pieniä, sekä nuoruuden oikuissa, ongelmissa ja pulmissa tulla vastaan ja asettautua jollakin lailla omaan asemaan.

Mikko oli maailman hyväntuulisin setä. Nuoremmalta iältäni muistan että Mikon kanssa oli hauska höpötellä ja sukulaiset tietääkin miten hän aina läpsytteli "hihhuhhiit" poskille nähdessään. Muistan kun kävimme mummolassa ja Mikolla oli ne parhaat unenlahjat aamuisin. Muutaman kerran kävimme katkomassa jääpuikkoja katonharjasta ja Mikko löysikin ne pian omasta sängystään. Kyllä setä liikahti äkkiä!

Teini-iässä lähdin opiskelemaan ammattikouluun matkailualaa ja huomasin että minulla ja Mikolla onkin hirveästi puhuttavaa. Mikko opiskeli matkailua Lapin yliopistossa ja pyrki aina edistämään Suomen matkailua työssään. Hän tiesi ja tunsi Suomen komeimmat maisemat, toki niiden lähellä aina asuneena. Suomen luonto, luonnossa hääräily sekä Lappi olivat osa Mikkoa. En tiedä toista sellaista ihmistä joka olisi niin sinut kaiken luonnon kanssa. Valmistujaiseni pidin Laukaassa, Jyväskylän kupeessa Varjolan tilalla. Valmistujaisissa ohjelmassa oli koskenlaskua, ja minusta oli mukava saaa Mikko samaan veneeseen. Lahjaksi sain Mikolta Jouni Laaksosen kirjoittaman Retkeilijän kansallispuistot- kirjan, jonka sisäkanteen Mikko runoili seuraavanlaisesti:

"Liisalle 16.6.2012

Jos metsään haluat mennä niin on suotavaa,
että mukanas on aatos kepeä ja juotavaa
Repussa tulukset ja vyöllä puukko
mielessä lämpimänä kultsin lähtösuukko
Mukana tietysti myös eväsleivät ja kahvipannu,
retkiseuranako kuitenkin se oma rakas jannu
Metsään pääsee aina vaik' ois persauki,
tuliaisina sienet, marjat ehkä jopa hauki
Sillä toisinaan on hyvä sulkea töllö,
kas metsään mene, siellä oottaa pöllö.

Mukavaa matkaa matkailun maailmaan,

Mikko".

Mikon kanssa meitä yhdisti myös haaveet matkustamisesta ja Mikko aina kannustikin lähtemään oman mukavuusalueen ulkopuolelle ja näkemään maailmaa. Mikko matkustikin todella monessa maassa, mikä teki minuun vaikutuksen ja sai minut haaveilemaan maailman näkemisestä. Mikon kautta taisin tutustua Madventures-sarjaan, jonka kirjat olen kahlannut läpi ja jotka ovat saaneet minut haaveilemaan uusista matkoista.

Mieleeni jäi erityisesti isäni 50-vuotis-syntymäpäivien jälkeinen ilta toisen setäni luona, jolloin saunoimme Mikon, veljeni Veikon, toisen setäni Hepun ja hänen tyttöystävänsä Vanin kanssa. Oli myöhäinen syyskuu ja taisi olla viikko ennen lähtöäni Uuteen-Seelantiin. Oli kirkas tähtitaivas ja paistoimme makkaraa ulkona. Minulle tämä ilta ja yö oli tärkeä koska näin koko sukuni yhdessä paikassa juuri ennen matkalle lähtöä sekä tuijottelin pohjoista tähtitaivasta viimeisiä kertoja hetkeen. Tämä oli myös viimeinen kerta kun näin Mikon ennen hänen lähtöään (jos ei skypeilyä lasketa reissun aikana). Yö ja ilta sujui saunoessa sekä makkaraa paistellessa koko porukalla ja taisi Mikko uhata passinikin polttaa, kerran niin kauas olen lähdössä. Toivotti kuitenkin lämpimästi onnea maailmalle ja tsemppasi lähtöön. Yö jäi minulle muistoihin yhtenä rakkaimmista Suomi-muistoista, jota tuli muisteltua paljon kun tuijottelin etelän tähtiä maailman toisella puolella koti-ikävässä.

Viimeisen kerran juttelin Mikon kanssa puhelimessa Juhannusaattona. Mikko toivotteli käymään kylässä ja Pekka huuteli taustalta tulemaan Hirvasvaaralle Juhannuksen viettoon. Itse olin parhaillaan Höljäkässä ja vähän harmitti, kun olisi ollut mukava nähdä sedät pitkästä aikaa reissun jälkeen. Oli kuitenkin ihana puhua puhelimessa ja toivottaa hyvät juhannukset.

Mikko ei ollut minulle kaikista läheisin ihminen, mutta läheinen kuitenkin. Eniten Mikko toimi kuitenkin minulle elämän esikuvana ja tiedän että Mikko on vaikuttanut hirveästi muiden ihmisten elämään. Mikolla oli aina hirveän hyvä tarkoitus jokaisessa tekemässään asiassa ja se näkyi käytännön asioissa mitä mies toteutti, esimerkiksi ruuanlaitto, luontoon lähteminen ja elämästä nauttiminen. Mikolla oli aina hyvä sutkautus joka kohtaan ja monesti ihmiset huomasivatkin olevansa hirmuisen hyvällä tuulella hänen tupsahdettua paikalle. Haluan itse olla samanlainen ihminen kuin Mikko ja nauttia elämästä, elää hetkessä, nähdä maailmaa, seikkailla Suomessa, näyttää ihmisille tätä kauneutta ja luontoa mitä meillä on.

Tämä on kirjoitus kaipuusta Mikkoa kohtaan, mutta myös viesti kaikille suomalaisille siitä, että nauttikaa elämästä, lähtekää luontoon ja tutkikaa maailmaa. Olkaa rohkeita ja tarttukaa hetkeen. Yksikään tavara ei korvaa uutta kokemusta tai tuttavuutta. Elämä on lyhyt ja se eletään vain kerran. Niin kuin Mikko kehotti runossaan:
"Sillä toisinaan on hyvä sulkea töllö, 
kas metsään mene, siellä oottaa pöllö."

Kiitos Mikko esimerkistä, avusta, neuvoista ja kaikesta. Vaikutit elämääni enemmän kuin olisin itse arvannut aiemmin ja mitä todennäköisesti itse tiesit. 
Hyvää matkaa. Toivon että näet sieltä jostain koko maailman ja jopa vielä upeampia paikkoja!

veljentyttösi
Liisa

Apr 30, 2015

Dunedin

My aunt Ella left to Christchurch from Dunedin and I got left alone. Somehow I was really sad, my travel company was gone but at the same time the city was smiling to me. It was nice weather, people were nice and happy. Somehow I felt really comfortable that I will be fine. So I went to the library and started to look for jobs.

For the first few nights I stayed in Pavlova Palace Backpackers which is really nice lodge quite close to Speight's Brewery. We stayed there for one night on our last trip to Dunedin with May, so I actually got the same room. Backpackers was really nice, they have perfect facilities and kitchen areas, a spa pool and free pavlova every night! I really liked the place, but at the same time I had to think about saving money. I started to ask hostels around if they would have a place to work for accommodation. I called few places and either they were full or they didn't take workers for accommodation. The third place I called had so happy woman answering yes, that I asked can I come and see the place immediately. On that time I didn't know it would be my new home and also my future good friend 'Mamma Jo' who I was talking to.

I went to see the place which was awesome. The whole hostel is built to a rooftop and it has a beautiful view to the hills. It's right in the middle of the city and it has a really cool pool bar downstairs. I absolutely got really excited about the place and Jo promised I could start working after few days. So the next morning I packed my stuff from Pavlova Palace and moved all of them to On Top Backpackers dorm.

I still kept looking for jobs for the next week. I started working with my roommates at the hostel, who were at that time Rika, Lisa, Dennis, Audrayy and Andy. Basically work hours were from 10am until 1pm and we were cleaning all the rooms, toilets, showers and kitchen. There were lot of different tasks to do and everyone was changing jobs every day. I dropped 15 CV's every day and got a phone call one day from a restaurant nearby. I got asked to do a trial shift and after it I got a call that I got the job! So now I had two jobs, 3 hours per day at the hostel and 3 to 7 hours per day at the restaurant.

People at the hostel changed every day and workmates left as well. After few days upon my arrival Andy left (I got his bottom bunk!!) and new workers started to come. I got a pleasure to make friends with Lisa and Rika from Germany, Audrayy from France, Dennis from Germany, Andy from Northern Ireland, Wiebke from Germany (actually who I met earlier at Pavlova Palace), Bri from United States, Maria from Switzerland, Rebecca and Rachel from Canada, Anna-Marie (IS IT RIGHT?!) from Ireland and of course my favorite people Jo from Scotland and Thor from Sweden. These people were only the people I worked with at the hostel. There were amazing people around me all the time, I made such a good friends all the time with everyone who were staying just for few nights.

At the restaurant I had a great boss, Sam and such a nice, lovely co-manager Sharon. My workmates were from everywhere, I got to know Nelly, Mabel, Leo and Jem from Philippines, Jennifer from England (although she's almost a true kiwi I guess), Jun from Korea, Kit from Hong Kong, locals Kat, Malcolm, Connor and Krystal and lot of other people working and visiting there. I also had great customers, I got a love letter, asked out and met some soy sauce drinking dudes.. Sometimes I had to be a nurse and save someones hand! I really loved my job, it was nice and relaxed. And of course I had so AWESOME workmates. Thank you guys.

I stayed in Dunedin from the beginning of March until late April and I was basically just working and making new friends. I have to say that time in Dunedin was really so unique and special time for me. I got most awesome workmates at BOTH working places. They were just amazing. At the hostel our crew quickly grew together as a family and I couldn't say anything bad about the restaurant crew either. All those names I just listed they were such a good people. All of them has a unique personal story and all of them mean so much to me. I got my best friends from there and I got people who I'll stay contact with hopefully for long.

I picked up my car Molly from Cromwell where it broke down! Well, at least I tried. The mechanic who was fixing it said they don't really find any faults anymore. On Monday after it break-down they tried it, it started up perfectly and there was nothing wrong with it. I was happy to hear that and me and my friend Hasan left to pick it up. It was beautiful day to make a roadtrip, we stopped to buy fresh fruits from the stalls next to the road and got a speeding ticket as well. When we got to Cromwell, Steven the Mechanic gave my keys and told Molly works fine. Although when we started to drive back and had driven about 20 kilometres towards Dunedin, Molly just turned off and didn't start up again. We were lucky to be in town called Alexandra, so we left the car there and Steven's friend promised to look at it. Finally after a week or two they got it fixed (if anyone is interested, they changed the distributor and few spark plugs) and I hitchhiked to Alexandra to pick it up. This time it worked all the way back to Dunedin and I had my car again.

All the time spent at the hostel, all the family trips, bar nights, rugby nights, movie nights, pool games, dinners, lunches, cheeses, games, all the moments at work, all those good meals at the restaurant, all those McDonalds bags delivered to my front door, all those laughs and hospital trips. All those runs in Botanic Gardens. All those people. Time in this place was just incredible. There's no way I can tell all these stories what happened but this city is gonna stay in my heart forever.

I guess I really have to write a book about these times. I still have so much to tell.

I miss you Dunedin, I miss you all my dears <3

"Too much time
Too much space
Looking for the truth
Mountains you have had to climb
Valleys you've been through
I don't know about where you've been or where you going to
I will get lost with you
We all get lonely
Trying to find a place where we should be
Trying to find someone to set us free
There are times a friend is all you need
We all get lonely
So stick with me"

Olly Murs - Stick with me  
 
xx
Liisa
 
Some of the best people and moments below!

Rika, Audrayy, Lisa and Wiebke

Me and Audrayy

Me, Rika, Lisa and Thor

Me and Dennis

Maria, Jo and Andy

Jo and Andy

Jo, me, Andy and Thor

Rey, Mabel, me, Leo, Kat and Jennifer (the guys standing, can't remember their name)

Jen and me


My family, Jo is only missing :( Thor, Andy, Rachel, Anna-Marie, Rebekka and me

Mikko, Shams and Lama

Sarah and me

Me, Rebecca, Rachel, Jo and Thor

My family on the day we left!
Me and Andy
 

Mar 12, 2015

Ella in NZ

I want to share some moments from our 10 great days here in South Island. I finished working at vineyards in Blenheim the day before my aunt Ella arrived in Christchurch. So I drove down south to Christchurch early in the morning and picked up a very jet-lagged, tired traveler. We went for a morning walk to Christchurch Botanic Gardens and then to a friend's house to take a wee nap. I somehow managed to drop my phone in the toilet the very same day, after a few days drying it worked again, miracle!

We spent our first night in Hanmer Springs. It's a beautiful small town two hours north of Christchurch and known for Thermal Pools. I booked a night in a lovely hostel, Jack in the Green. I can honestly recommend that backpackers to anyone, it's so beautiful and peaceful. Very good facilities and friendly staff. We both were tired so we had a really good sleep there. In the morning we visited the Thermal Pools before starting the drive back to Blenheim.

Almost survived from Jetlag!
It wasn't my plan at all to go back to Blenheim. When I asked what Ella wants to do, she answered she definitely wants to see the place I lived the most of the time here. So we drove to Blenheim, ate in a really good Indian restaurant (I can recommend Maharaja India) and met up with my friends for beer and pool.

Next day we went for a wine tour, as I promised for my aunt. We visited Makana Chocolate Factory, Saint Clair, Brancott Estate (they remember me there already), Hunter's and Dryland's. At the end of the day we took a beer tasting at Moa Brewery. We also visited my workmates Tomas, Seongyoung, Elisa, Yuka and Jack at the PH hostel.

Wineries, vineyards..!
On Tuesday we drove north to Nelson, ate some breakfast there and continued to Kaiteriteri beach. I booked an Abel Tasman cruise for us. It was beautiful there. We had a chance to take a walk back to the beach but we just decided to enjoy the views from the boat. We were supposed to start driving along the West Coast on the very same day but the weather was so good and the beach so great that I booked two dorm beds in the lodge and we stayed an extra night. Ella enjoyed the sun the rest of the day and in the evening we decided to get some dinner. The receptionist of the lodge suggested us to drive to the next village near by, Marahau, and get burgers from Fat Tui. It was so good. Delicious. Taivaallista. On the way back we almost got lost, but we had so much fun with the speed limit signs that it didn't matter.


Split Apple in Abel Tasman National Park

We reserved the next day for sun. Ella wanted to get a tan and I can tell, we sure got some color! My legs got so sunburnt! It was really too painful to sit and of course we decided to travel to Queenstown the next day! So on Thursday I drove ten hours to Queenstown with my burnt legs... I can tell I was swearing so much every time I got out from the car or moved my legs. We picked up some hitchhikers from Kaikoura and took them to Lake Tekapo. After dropping them off we found more guys who were hitchhiking from Lake Tekapo to Queenstown. We arrived in Queenstown at 8pm and checked in to Base Backpackers. We had a really nice room with one Finnish guy (first Finnish backpacker I've met in NZ! Pretty good after 4.5 months travelling...) and three girls from California. We went to bed quite early, after a few beers downstairs.

Ella, hitchhiker Aurél and me
Friday was exciting! We were supposed to take the gondola up to the hill and just do some souvenir shopping but somehow we got an idea to do a bungy jump! I didn't have enough money to do it so we booked a jump for Ella and the swing for both of us for the same day. I got so nervous! But it was great! Even though I didn't jump, the atmosphere was so awesome! After Ella's jump we did the swing. I would love to describe that all here but it's just impossible by words. Check out a video of the swing. It was incredible.

So excited!


Swing bridge
Ella ready for her bungy!
After great bungy jumping day we had a great night out in Queenstown. On the last day Ella did some souvenir shopping. We picked up the hitchhikers from two days before and started to drive towards Dunedin. We got to Cromwell when Molly (my car) broke down. After a few hours sorting stuff out we got a room in a hostel and bus tickets for the next day. Molly stayed in Cromwell. 

When your car breaks down in Finland, you are screwed. Everything costs so much, not many people stop and help you. You are worrying and stressing about everything. What is going to happen to my car? How much is Laakkonen gonna charge you this time? How about towing? How do you get to work from the middle of nowhere?
When it happens in New Zealand, don't worry. It's all sorted. Of course if you have some money and time. Everyone stopped and helped us. Even a girl with a broken leg helped us to push the car on to the verge. Everyone was so nice. One guy gave us a ride to the closest petrol station where we called help from. Steven, the mechanic who came to help us was the nicest guy in the world. He was so calm and explained everything and even me, who doesn't know anything about cars understood what was happening. Thank you CR Motors in Cromwell, you made my Molly's break-down a pleasant experience.

Our last stop was Dunedin before my aunt flew back to Finland. I visited Dunedin a month before with May and I really liked the city. We spent the last day having dinner with my friend Brandon and his friends. Next day it was time to say our goodbyes; I stayed in Dunedin and Ella went to Christchurch by bus. After Ella left, I was a bit sad of course. But it was hard to stay sad because I have such good memories in my mind of the last ten days. And the beautiful city of Dunedin was smiling to me, so I smiled back and I've kept smiling ever since.
<3

Thank you Ella for an amazing visit here! I had such a good time with you and it was so lovely to see someone from home after a long, long time!

"If you're tired of starting over,
stop giving up."

xo,

Liisa

Mar 8, 2015

5 months and 5 days!

I was going to write this post in Finnish but finding letters ä and ö started to be too hard that I figured it out it's easier to write this in English. Anyway, I'm sorry I haven't been writing much, it's been happening so much! For the first I can say, few pieces of that what was lost, have been found. Thank you for all who were with me searching for them. I can say that here in Dunedin, today on International Women's day, now at 7.39 pm local New Zealand time I feel like I am more whole person than ever. These five months and 5 days in this wonderful country have been teaching so many things to me - mostly about myself.

This time have been teaching me so much. I have laughed, cried and felt homesickness. I have found new places and explored, made new friends, new really good friends (like we call it in Finland by word ''ystävä''). I have fallen in love, loved, hated, broken my heart and survived after. I have been sick, got ditched, lost my wisdom tooth and visited doctor's after hours many times. I have worked in vineyards and in hostels, got so many good friends from work and have had so many good moments there. I have learnt some Indonesian, numbers in German, learnt what is the sound of Korean dog, learnt some Japanese and HEAPS of English!

I have been in world biggest swing, hitchhiked, got stuck in the tree and got in many, many troubles. I have spent so many great days with my dear friends, who I will call by name 'ystävä' after many years. I had a great adventure with my dearest friend May, I just can't describe how important she have become to me. I have spent 10 awesome days with my dear godmother and aunt Ella who flew here just to have an adventure with me. I have learnt so many things from other people who have loved me just the way I am. They have seen that Liisa who doesn't have anything which I would have in Finland. Liisa, who is outside of her comfort area, all the property packed in one backpack and without plans!

I can say it haven't been the easiest trip. I have been deep down so many times, without any direction to go and I have been so high in the clouds, loving everything and having the best time in my life. I have learnt how to tell people who I am, where I come from and where I am going next. I have learnt how to be friendly, polite and social. I have learnt my limits, loyalty and honesty. I have also figured out that life brings so many opportunities in front of you. You just need to grab the right one. It also brings you so many lessons and exams which you repeat and repeat until you've learnt. I also know now that you never know.

Everything here in this great, crazy and funny country have been a really big lesson for me. I appreciate this so much. Thank you everyone who have made this adventure to come true, who I have met here and who have taught me so much about everything. Thank you all my dears at home. Thank you for being there for me. I warn you people, this girl might be different than in last year!

This maybe sounds like I would be leaving the country soon.. Don't worry! I'm not going anywhere. I just figured out that this is about halfway of my trip and just wanted to share few pieces I have found here.

I will write soon about adventures with May and Ella!

Sincerely yours,

most happiest

Liisa


Feb 28, 2015

Blenheim February 2015

I wasn't going to come back to Blenheim but many people say you can't leave from there permanently.. Anyway I arrived back and stayed at hostel for the first week waiting for work to start. In the meantime I got to know few just arrived Croatian mates Mario and Gogi who took me to Nelson and Golden Bay with them. We spent one freezing night in the tent and car with beautiful views right next to Abel Tasman National Park. Thank god it was just one night, because the weather was really cold!
In the center of New Zealand!


Gogi and Mario

Camping views to Abel Tasman National Park
Golden Bay Farewell Spit
I arrived back to Blenheim and after few boring days I asked work straight from my ex-boss Adi. Adi promised I can start from Monday and I got picked up 7am to my new boss's Lilik’s van. Our work crew had few mates from hostel I was staying before I moved back to my friend’s place so I basically knew most of them. In our van we had our supervisor Lilik and co-supervisors Edi and Meldi and workers Arif and Sakti, all from Indonesia. In our work group we had also Jack and Seongyoung from Korea, Yuka from Japan, Elisa from Germany and Tomas from Czech Republic. Sometimes we had more supervisors and other workers as well but mostly we were working with this group. Every day after work I went to hostel to hang out with workmates and we got really good group for few weeks.


Our group and few extras on my last day!
Tomas, Seongyong, me, Daniel and Elisa

Our main duties at work were cutting second sets and putting nets around the plants. Earlier on November we were thinning shoots from the plants so now in February those shoots had grown into smaller sets which had to be cut off. It was mostly relaxed job, you just had to be careful that you cut all of them away and won't loose your fingers if you had scissors in use. Netting was fun, we used bread bag closers for closing the net. First we closed the top of the net and walked from beginning of the row to the other and while coming back we closed the bottom. It was pretty slow work but we had lot of time to listen music and talk with friends. I also learned little bit more of Indonesian, it turned out to have many similar words close to Finnish..


Driving Molly to the vineyards!
After three weeks in Blenheim I had to say goodbyes for my new friends and leave to Christchurch to pick up my aunt Ella who came to visit me from home. Thank you for my boss and co-workers and especially Elisa and Seongyoung for making my days even more fun! xx

Liisa


Feb 12, 2015

May and South Island

I was so happy to pick up my dearest friend May from Picton ferry terminal! May was my roommate for a month earlier in Auckland. We are the same age and same crazy. We have quite same size of clothes and just so much fun together. She is from Osaka, Japan and came to New Zealand about month earlier than me. Our paths separated for a while when I got a job from South Island and she stayed in Auckland for her studies. In the end of December she told she’ll be coming to South Island, so we planned to travel together around South Island. I bought my car, Molly earlier in January, so we had our transportation checked from the list.

We spent few days together in Blenheim helping my mates to move and just hanging out, drinking, getting ready and saying goodbyes to everyone. On 18th we started our car and started our travels heading to Kaikoura.



First night in the car!

Kaikoura is a small town about 1,5 hours drive South from Blenheim. It’s known from delicious Crayfish, beautiful views and seal -, whale- and dolphin watching. We had booked a kayaking trip for next morning. We found a great camping spot and spent our first night in the car. Early in the morning we got driven to Peninsula where we started with the group. The trip was arranged by Kaikoura Kaykaks and we had about 8 kayaks in our group including our quides. I had tried kayak few years before in Finland but I had never kayaked in the sea. We were paddling for few hours around the Peninsula and we saw few little Blue Penguins hanging around and so many seals swimming and warming their veins in the sunshine. We had really good guides who were so helpful all the time. Both of us were bit scared of kayaking for the first but everything went fine and the experience was just amazing. We spent few nights in Kaikoura just relaxing, looking around and then we continued our trip to Christchurch.

Kayaking in Kaikoura



Christchurch really surprised us. We knew it’s going to be ruined by two big earthquakes which happened 2010 and 2011 but it always surprises when you see the area by your own eyes. The last earthquake in 2011 was 6.3 magnitude and killed 185 people. Christchurch is a really beautiful city and I know it’s going to be even more beautiful when the construction is done. We visited Quake City exhibition which told the story of earthquakes, construction and life after disasters. It was interesting but pretty expensive. We found beautiful shore from south of Christchurch where we spent few hours just enjoying the sun.

Christchurch Quake City

Christchurch City Center

Our next stop was Lake Tekapo, which is beautiful blue lake about in the middle of South Island. It’s area well known of stunning views and beautiful night skies. Right next to the Lake Tekapo is situated Lake Pukaki which is known as the Laketown from Hobbit-trilogy. Both lakes were just gorgeous. We were camping right next to the smaller lake nearby, Lake McGregor and seeing stunning sunset and watching beautiful night sky. In the campsite we met few German backpackers who recommended the hostel from the next place we had ahead.

Lake Tekapo

May and Lake Pukaki

Our next stop was Dunedin, what a beautiful city. It’s called Edinburgh of the South. We booked beds from a hostel German girls recommended and met really nice Austrian couple, Fabienne and Mike who we drank some wine with.

The city was amazing. I really liked it from beginning. We spent few days doing some different stuff, me looking up museums and railway station and May visiting art gallery. We got really good couchsurfing place (thanks Brandon for having us, hope you’re doing fine in Australia), where we stayed for three nights.

Dunedin

Dunedin Railway Station

We had our first surfing lesson in Dunedin, St. Clair beach. It was amazing experience. I’m not a good swimmer and I’m afraid of the sea as well, but OH MY GOD, I would do that again any time! Our teacher was really good. Our surf lesson was 90 minutes long and in that time I almost stood up four times and May really stood up properly once. I got really tired quickly but after 1,5 hours surfing I felt so accomplished and proud of myself. You should have seen my face, I couldn’t stop smiling. Our muscles were so sore for three days after but it was all worth it! Even I think I won’t be a professional surfer I’m still glad I tried it.

Surfing in St Clair Beach, Dunedin


St. Clair Beach

After seeing beautiful Dunedin we headed to Invercargill. We visited Bluff where is the southest point of South Island and accidentally met few of my workmates, Toni and Chris there. We were supposed to stay in Invercargill for a night but we didn’t find lot of interesting things so we turned our car to the North and drove to Te Anau. Our plan was to take the cruise in Milford Sounds in the morning. So we drove late in the evening to Te Anau and accommodated there for a night. In the morning we started 7am and drove to Milford Sounds. The drive was just great. Views were awesome and it was hard to concentrate to driving when there were more and more stunning views to see. It was pretty curvy road to drive and 100 km/h limit was usually 25 km/h warning. I’m so sad we didn’t stay in Milford Sounds for longer because it must be one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. We took the Jucy Cruise in the Sounds and it was beautiful morning. We saw dolphins jumping after our boat and so nice beautiful waterfalls. It’s just impossible to describe by words!





Bluff

Milford Sounds

Milford Sounds

<3

After the cruise we drove back to Te Anau. We ate most delicious Venison pie and booked a hostel from Queenstown. Everyone had told so many things about Queenstown and I had high expectations of it. The hostel we booked was pretty good, we stayed in the first room of the first floor so it was quite loud. Queenstown was really beautiful and crowded of tourists. We were going to take the Gondola to the top of the hill but it was pretty bad weather so we stayed in town and went shopping. We booked also a Jetboat ride which was just great. It was the original Jetboat in Shotover river and it was just amazing. May almost dropped from the boat but luckily the driver pulled her back to the boat.



Queenstown


Jetboat in Shotover River




Queenstown was our last stop before we started our travel back to Blenheim. I decided to work little bit more to get some money before my aunt would come to visit me so vineyards were calling me again. We drove back through West Coast, stopped in few little towns and spent a night in Fox Glaciers. We arrived back to Blenheim on Sunday. May continued her trip to Marlborough Sounds where she got a workplace for accommodation. I started few weeks of work in vineyards before my aunt came to Christchurch.





Somewhere in West Coast

All together we were travelling for few weeks and had really good relaxed time together. Many people were wondering how Japanese and Finnish girls are travelling together but I have to say there couldn’t be more amazing company than May. I love the nature and spirit of that girl. How caring, open-minded and loving can girl be! The best moments we had in the middle of nowhere, just enjoying the atmosphere or drinking heaps of wine or beer and laughing some stupid stuff. We had arguments, language lessons and good talks. Our time was just so good. It is really impossible to describe everything by words, but I have shared few of our nearly 1000 pictures we took! Thank you May for travelling with me and I wish you very best for your future travels.




xo

Liisa