January

At last the holidays are coming to an end, and I can give you a wrap-up of what all is going on here.

Pre-Christmas

We had a nice christmas-dinner with my Erasmus (=also doing an exchange semester in Munich) friends which was nice and plentiful. After the meal we headed out to do something. During this time there was still snow in Munich (that time is long gone now..) and my friend Erik from Sweden had had a burning desire to build a snowman somewhere in the city center. Our initial plan was to build it here next to my place, on the large grassy yard area of the Alte Pinakotek (the big old museum). Or rather the building blocks (or building balls..), and then carry them in the U-Bahn to Marienplatz for final assembly. This plan would have also allowed us to temporarily assemble our snowman in the subway, which would have indeed been quite hilarious. Sadly, and perhaps it was for the best, we concluded that plan A would take too long and the large snowballs may be quite difficult to carry all the way to the subway station and from the station in Marienplatz to the final assembly-point. We did not give up the entire plan, though. Near Odeonsplatz, there’s also a museum etc. with a large snow-filled yard. Since this was also where we happened to be during then, we decided that the great facade of THE building at Odeonsplatz would be a suitable site for our snowman. Right between the two huge lions. So before you could say Haferflockenbreikartoffelsalat (=oatmeal-potato salad) we had built a nice snowman right where Hitler used to have his first speeches before and after he had gotten into power. We did not, however, decorate the undernose area with mustache-like twigs, even though I must admit it crossed our minds.. The large snowballs were really heavy, and you’ll need at least 3-4 people carrying the biggest ones to the final assembly-site. A picture of the finished snowman can be found here: http://sonkeri.1g.fi/kuvat/Timo+Kerola/December/snowman.jpg

Just before leaving back home my friend Klaus stopped by on his way from Finland to America for a couple of days. I took him on the now-somewhat-established Munich Tour á la Timo and did all the usual things one must do in Munich. We did however do something new and cool as well: we spent the last day before heading to the airport at the local near-by ski-resort, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The slopes were really nice and long and the weather was also just perfect. During our lunch break there, we of course ordered some local specialities. I, of course, ordered a Speckknödelsuppe which, loosely translated, means bacon-dumpling soup. A couple of pictures of our skiday can be found here and here.

Christmas

I spent a nice Christmas in Finland and relaxed and ate a lot. I received more chocolate than anyone could possibly eat in one week, so I’m hoping someone will enjoy them back home..

Post-Christmas

Coming back ‘home’ to Munich was quite weird after being momentarily back in my real and normal life. Of course there’s the thing about living in a dorm, which I now saw a bit less appealing after having been back to my luxurious home with my TV and my couch (just to mention a few of the things I’ve been missing here). In addition, my German deteriorated quite a bit during my Finnish-speaking fortnight, so I was linguistically quite stupefied upon arrival. My roommates laughed at me and at what had become of my once-superb German :(. I’m doing my best not to get depressed and I’ve noticed it coming back ever-so-slowly.

Also, with Christmas behind, I find myself thinking about my return and all the things I have to do at the end of my semester here. The best way of describing this is possibly, that I’ve gone from “yay-yay I’m having a blast” to “Going home soon.. must get everything done and study for my exams”. And of course there is the small issue of our wedding next summer, that I can no longer ignore.. But I’m sure that my funfunpartyparty-feeling will come back when the semester continues tomorrow and my Erasmus-friends come back to Munich.

After arriving here I’ve tried to keep myself busy with all kinds of activities. On the first day after getting back, I went to Garmisch-partenkirchen to do a little hiking with my camera. I took some nice shots in the gorge of Partnachklamm that you can find in the “January”-folder of the photosite (link at the end of this post). I also tried some HDR-photography, but it’s proven to be not the most simple technique to master.. The HDR-experiments can be found at the “HDR and other stuff” -folder of the photosite. On my way down from the mountain, I left the marked path to get rid of over-equipped tourists (some of which appeared to be geared-up for the summit of Mt. Everest..) and crossed through some nice fields of snow without looking at my map too much, just to keep the excitement up. This was definitely the best part of the hike, since I at last felt like being alone and having some say to where I would go. Finding my way back  to civilization was also inevitable, since I could see the town all the time, but not granted, since someone had built barbed wire fences here and there.. I found some other tracks though, and after following them I got to a road which led into town. Pictures from the trip are in the “January” -folder.

The day after, I spent planning on what to do with my final days before school continued. So I went snowboarding on Saturday (=yesterday) to the small town of Oberstdorf, about 2,5 hours by train ride  from here. It rained for the whole day. Luckily though, the rain came as water only in the valley, not up top where you spend most of the time. Nevertheless, the weather conditions were at the least ‘extreme’, and I’m pretty sure I’ve now experienced every sort of rain possible combined with really high wind speeds. Since being in the cloud all the time, visibility was also zero. So I was basically navigating only by the red poles signalling the borders of the slopes. Another problem was also the slope texture. If you can’t see the surface then you can’t really know if you’ll be hitting a pile of snow sending you tumbling to your doom (OK maybe a little exaggerated..), or can you just curve (high-speed turn) away. I did however manage to get some curving-action done, but not to the full extent I normally like to do..

That’s it for now, hope you all enjoyed this post and have a happy year 2013!
pictures are at http://sonkeri.1g.fi/kuvat/Timo+Kerola