Where’s Marko? ehh He is BACK!

Where's Marko?

Since Marko is now back, this will be his last post about his travels. We think you will agree that his posts were really enjoyable and his photographs amazing. We would like to thank Marko for taking time out of his travels to share with us his experience. Now that he is back, give him some feedback about his posts and urge him to continue blogging.

Marko will start back teaching and certainly one course that has proved popular is his digital photography course which is now full.  We hope to bring you some updates on his course if he and his students agree. You can see the work of his students from last year here.

Welcome back Marko!

I knew one of the first questions that would be asked from me in Finland would be “so what was your favourite place/experience.” Indeed it has been asked from me many times.

It’s one of those questions that is almost impossible to answer to. After 25 countries, tens of thousands of kilometres and 195 days on the road it seems like there were so many things that I could tell but I am not able to single out one favourite event. It’s like asking which is your favourite child. I loved every single day!

I made it to New Zealand and I made it back to Finland as well. Oh Finland, it seems that no matter how different cultures and people I experienced during my travel, you take the first prize! Always fashionably weird and just different.

This is the last blog entry so you might want to read it even more carefully than before. I am writing this on my work computer – just so you know if I get sentimental at times! I did enjoy this opportunity to write (thanks again John!) – who knows, maybe I’ll do this more later.

Without further ado, enjoy!

Top 5

1. Meeting friends in New Zealand
Who would have thought New Zealand – pretty much the most faraway place on the planet – would have so many of my friends visiting the country in the same time. It was great seeing all of you. Obviously Metropolia Business School was represented there as well (what did you expect) – EM08 student Joni has called Christchurch his home for the last 6 months or so. Special thanks to my good friend Hayden who made sure Wellington is now my favourite NZ city.

2. Holidays in the sun
Most of my friends were celebrating Christmas and New Years in cold and dark Finland (or Europe). In the meantime I was preparing traditional Christmas meal in the sunshine (thanks mom for your parcel that made it just in time!) and whenever I had time I was enjoying the great sea & mountain view from my balcony in Kaikoura, New Zealand. A bit different way to spend holiday season but I could certainly get used to it.

New Zealand
I could list tens of places here. What can I say? New Zealand is absolutely fantastic country. Mountains, sea, lakes, beaches, rolling hills – heaven for photographers indeed. After first week of rain weather improved and it was just perfect until the last day. It was great seeing proper snow-capped mountains as well – first time since Nepal. Words can’t explain the natural beauty of New Zealand – just check the pictures and you’ll understand what I mean. Or watch Lord of the Rings trilogy again. I’ll be back.

4. People
I really like kiwis. They remind me of Finns in many ways (with the exception that they talk much more!). Everyone was super-friendly yet humble. I was expecting some island mentality but did not experience any of that. They also sport fantastic sense of humour – check out Flight of Conchords TV-series for example.

5. Being back at work
Yes. I am not kidding. I thought it would be worse but no, I am actually liking it here. First of all I am sharing an office with wonderful colleagues (Kevin, Krystal, Tero, Kaija…) who have weird sense of humour but I’ve always liked people with weird sense of humour. It’s also great to see my colleagues and students. I think I’m going to enjoy my spring (and I so thought it would be “taking the money and run” 🙂
Not 3

1. Where’s my money, part II
It’s always comforting to come back home to find out that not only have I exceeded the limit of my both credit cards but there is bunch of other bills to be paid. One of them happens to be traffic camera ticket from Australia claiming that I was driving 12 km/h over the limit and I owe them 120 dollars. Oh well, if that is not a good reason to work hard, nothing is.

2. Long plane travels
It’s painful enough to end that long hot summer that lasted more than half year but to do it by plane is even more painful. What can I say? Almost 30 hours on the plane, one mechanical problem (and free night in airport hotel in Shanghai, thanks to Air China), lots of bad airplane food, bunch of crappy movies (Burlesque anyone?) and eternal boredom. Next time I will be investing to comfort no matter how much I have to pay!

3. Being offline
I feel such a jerk to be complaining about technology related stuff but I want to point out that free internet was available throughout Southeast Asia but as soon as I got to Australia and New Zealand it became expensive and difficult to go online. On the other hand it should actually be a positive thing – I don’t want to spend my time online but rather do and experience something real, which I did. Probably the most negative thing I have to say is about illegal downloading of music and other stuff. It is so difficult in New Zealand. Am I supposed to pay for the stuff that I used to get for free in the past? Just kidding!

Did you know?

The Maori are native people of New Zealand and make up 15% of the population. They have strong and unique culture that is evident especially in the northern island. Maori language is also an official language in New Zealand and you’ll see and hear it everywhere. Probably one of the most common is Kia Ora – literally “be healthy”.

All Blacks
New Zealand has the best rugby team in the world – men’s national team is called the All Blacks. They were crowned rugby 2011 World Cup champions and it probably won’t come as a surprise that they wear black jersey and shorts! New Zealand football (or soccer) team is called All Whites. Guess what is the colour of their kit?

Shaky Isles
New Zealand is located on junction of tectonic plates and as a result is experiences 20 000 earthquakes annually. Most of them are quite small but there are several big ones, one of them hit city of Christchurch on February 2011 on magnitude 6.3 killing 181 people. I personally experienced several smaller ones.

Kiwi could mean Kiwi bird, kiwifruit or nickname for people from New Zealand. Kiwi the bird, is flightless bird native to New Zealand. Imagine kiwifruit with beak and pair of legs and that’s your kiwi bird. I have never had better kiwifruit than I had in New Zealand but it’s good to know they are actually originally from China.

Lord of the Rings trilogy
New Zealand tourism board must have been in ecstasy when their countryman Peter Jackson started filming The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the country. Indeed, there are lots of tourists who visit the film scenes that are scattered around both North andSouthIslands. The story continues with another J.R.R Tolkien based movie “The Hobbit” which was also filmed inNew Zealand. As a side note, legendary “Bad Taste” movie was one of the first movies directed byJackson.

Again some pictures of my travels

This slideshow requires JavaScript.