A Finn In and Around Belgium

Goodbye. It was around my birthday when I left Finland; I do think that birthdays are good times to make big changes to your life. Although, mine was not planned at all.  Saying the goodbyes and farewells to my friends felt particularly important and meaningful at that time.

So, I left a lot of things, friends and life behind me, to come over to live with The Waffle. And it has been worth it. Though I do miss certain bits. Friends, of course, some foods. It is nearly impossible to get Ruisleipä from here. Also, Belgians seem to hate liquorice. I have been trying to bake some Pulla, but these guys do not seem to know what cardamom is.

Sauna. Nothing beats a decent sauna.

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I have been developing my inner Belgian. I now drink beer. It seems to be important and necessary if you live around these corners. If you say, you do not really like it, I think they will burn you alive as a witch or something. And waffles, I love them. Especially that one Waffle.

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Home? Yes, we have a home. No, we are not there. We don’t really spend too much time inside the borders of our home country. We seem to be going all the time somewhere. We follow the sun, tide and impulsive ideas.  That might be one of the reasons why this is not an interior design blog. When you are never home, the house kind of explodes, slowly heading to chaos.

Doel

Our destinations are often a bit weird. We follow the sun, tide and impulsive ideas. We seem to be going to places where nobody else really wants to go; a beach in wintertime, forest, The Netherlands. And our hiking boots constantly travel with us. You never know when you meet a nice hike.

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The first steps of the trail

Since I didn’t start writing this thing in the very beginning, there are some things I need to get out of my keyboard to be able to continue this story somehow sensibly and get you all on board.

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Bear Trail.  So, as it has been told, the journey began from the Bear Trail on a cloudy and chilly day in June 2014. There I and my partner in crime met, briefly, before I ran into a soaking wet forest. There was a good 80 kilometres of national park ahead. I enjoyed my loneliness. The quietness of a vast forest is relieving; you have time to listen to nothing, or the things inside your head. Or to the bird that goes Siiirrrrr! At that point me and The Waffle, we were not a couple, we did not even know each other. Nobody could have guessed the story we are now telling. Or maybe the Old Man in the Taxi.

Well, there I was in the wilderness walking through sleet, the damp slowly seeping through all my clothing. Stopping for a moment to a hut, making a fire to warm up a bit. 3 strangers from Belgium appear and like a decent Finn, I escape thescene. We meet again, a bit later, on a campsite where I decided to stay for the first night with a couple of Germans. We all chat a bit, as you usually do around the campfire. Belgians carry on and the night sets.

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I wake up at around 3 am, in freezing cold, and outside I find a snow-covered landscape. I just hoped my clothing had had time to dry out during the night. We met with the Belgians couple of times afterwards, exchanged contact info’s for sharing pictures, the normal story, you know, and carried on our separate ways. For a while.

The Reunion(s)

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As it happened me and The Waffle met again. It just happened. We felt a connection. We had to turn these cards, to check if there was something more within us.

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Finland. So, Waffle comes back to Finland a few months later.

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We have awesome time road tripping all over the country.

15323761721_ba1162aa54_oWe see the most beautiful baby frogs.

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Spot the perfect sunsets at the shore of the sea, calm as a mirror.

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10 days and we are head and heels and heartbeats. Comes the time to say goodbye. I am left behind with a pile of Belgian chocolates. That was not the end of the story. Oh no.

Denmark. We planned to meet again. In Denmark – the half-way point.  Oh, the Island of Römö, place where I got my first touch of kite buggying, the noble sport of slightly insane people. There I drove my first slow meters in a three-wheeled, wind-powered thing and got excited about the sport. And a huge amount of muscle pain. After the weekend came another set of goodbyes. And the moment I think I really fell for The Waffle. I was in love.

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When I look back to those pictures and memories, it is funny how a simple picture of a bridge, disappearing to the mist can be so symbolic. Our path, the beginning you have there, in your hands, but the rest of it is a mystery. All you can do is hope that the bridge carries and goes on.

Finland. A month later a plane lands to a remote village in eastern Finland. A Waffle has landed, and heads for Helsinki, we meet again. All got suddenly pretty official, we decided to go and drive to the home of my childhood, to meet my parents. First snow fell on that Friday when we set off towards Savo.

Lappeenranta

We were travelling with a slight feeling of fear, excitement and terror, not only because of my parents, but also thanks to the road blocking snowfall. We were advancing fast in this relationship. Hardly knowing each other and now meeting the in-laws. All that went fine, Waffle had been somewhat approved and could be sent safely home again. At the same time we were already planning the next trip for Christmas.

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Europe Mainland.  Christmas came and I flew to Amsterdam. At this point I had already gone wild, resigned from my job, arranged the move and ended the rental contract of my apartment. My parents were informed as well. I was leaving Finland for sure.

Mosel - Kochem

And now, for the first time, I was about to see the place I would soon be calling home. Excited? A bit. Yeah, and scared and thinking that I must be crazy to do such a thing.

Rupelmonde

That Christmas we seriously hit the road. From Amsterdam in The Netherlands, to Belgium, then to the northern coast of France, the white cliffs and everything. Back into Belgium (Antwerp), and from there off to Germany. From Cologne down towards the vineyards of Mosel.

Le Hohneck

Driving through Luxembourg towards France and Strasbourg, quickly climbing Le Hohneck. Then headed up to north, through the province of Champagne back to Belgium, hopping onto a plane and flying off to Finland again.

The Move. After that much travelling you would think that there is a time to settle down and breathe for a moment. Well, no. I had to prepare for the moving; shovel through all the EU bureaucracy and such, never mind the sorting of stuff and packing.

On the Ice

So all of a sudden everything was in a truck and heading to Belgium. Soon I was packed into an airplane with The Waffle and heading to the same destination. This is how we got to the point where we are now.

And the journey continues.

Where did it all begin?

Well, naturally, in a Finnish forest, a bit north from the Arctic Circle. Where else.

There were two of us. One lived in Helsinki, the other in Belgium.  The two happened to meet on the way to the Bear Trail in a taxi with an old man.  The old man knew it all, as old men always do. They know.

After a hike, a few travels here and there and the two ended up living in Belgium, which is our main base. For now.

From now on, I am letting you into this travelling love story. I am planning on writing about the places we go to and the things we see, the things we do.

I hope you enjoy the journey.

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