Trekking in Nepal

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My short visit to Nepal was meant to be a civilized culture related tour. Nepal is famous for its great trekking routes like Everest base camp, Annapurna circuit etc. But I can only dream about such adventures at the moment! Maybe some day.
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Turkish Airways

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The flight from Finland to Nepal could be more pleasant and faster if there were direct flights. But no - there aren't. So the travel agency had chosen Turkish Airways via Istanbul. In theory it's not that bad. Three hours to Turkey and 7 hours to Nepal from Turkey.
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On the top of the world

Photos shot in a small plane during mountain view flight in Nepal

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Namaste!

Ivan went to Nepal!

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Kick sledging...

A short trip to the island cottage by kick sled...
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Happened 2013

Too many things, too little time...

Mount Kilimanjaro
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The last evening in Pyongyang was ahead. We visited the big statue which is showing the happy reunion of two divided countries in the future... sooner or later.

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Kaesong, North Korea

Rush hour at Kaesong city...

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Demilitarized zone and the Korean border

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Close to the Kaesong city, we visited one of the world's most guarded border zone - the border line of North Korea and South Korea. This must be one of the very few country borders where you are told to take you camera with you and take as many photos as you like! Also, I was surprised because I didn't see much war material anywhere! Oh boy... if you have ever visited Russian border close to Finland - compared to it this was like walking in the Central Park of NYC! Well, I bought(!) an official Korean map from the international book shop in Pyongyang and there is no border line at all. Only one reunited Korea.
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The day of the deceased ones...

One of the strangest things I experienced in North Korea was to see how seriously locals worship their leaders, especially the deceased ones.

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun is the mausoleum of two previous leaders - Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. You can't take in anything else but clothes you are wearing (the best you have, black suit and tie or similar...) and money (?). Cameras, bags, pens, drugs, papers.... not allowed! The place is impressive. At first you travel through tunnels hundreds of meters standing on moving walks while listening to music in silence. When we finally arrived to the first room, we saw embalmed Kim Il-sung sleeping his eternal sleep in a crystal sarcophagus. We bowed the sarcophagus from three different directions and went to the next rooms where was a never ending exhibition of medals and other gifts Kim Il-sung received during his lifetime. There were also two or three from Finland! One was the 65th anniversary medal of Finnish independence, the other one was some strange thing from a small place called Orimattila - no idea why it was there or what it was. Kim Jong-il's room is similar. Same protocol and watching his awards... Then we saw both leaders cars (MB S-series), train wagons and a luxury yacht.

Kumsusan Palace

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This huge war museum tells the stories what really happened during the Korean war. Of course, there are different stories too. Here we had a chance to leave a bunch of flowers and kinda correct our error we did the day before when we didn't buy flowers! There is a nice collection of captured or destroyed war machines of the imperialist forces - and lots of stories of local heroes! Also, the captured spy ship Pueblo (1968) is there etc. etc...
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Pyongyang, day 3 in DPRK

The third day was scheduled as a city tour day. Pyongyang is the capital city of DPRK. There should be about 2.5 million people in this city. Difficult to imagine because the streets are mostly empty - there are not many cars. People are walking or riding a bicycle. Some trams and trolleybuses... not so many.

At first we visited the great library. It's situated next to Kim Il Sung Square and of course a huge statue of the great leader welcomed us and we bowed again...

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Arirang Show

Arirang, the mass gymnastic and artistic performance in Pyongyang North Korea 14.9.2013.

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DPRK, day 2

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Lucy Liu and the lad, our beloved guides tried to give us useful hints how to behave in this interesting country. We had heard something about having proper clothes when visiting certain places and rules of taking photos were also updated. So, we were not supposed to take photos from the bus, not taking photos of people without asking and some special places (as usual) but till the end we were usually asked to take our cameras with us and shoot photos! I could have taken some nice landscape photos in the countryside because it was really beautiful there. Rice fields, corn fields, people working in the fields, mountains... nothing to be ashamed of!

So, we were going to visit places with our guides and the bus driver. We would not go anywhere on our own. The schedule was so full of program all days that there was really no need to go anywhere after we arrived to the hotel. It was so late that it was already dark and I didn't see any places where I wanted to go alone late in the evening in the darkness. Jet lag (6 hours difference) also took some efforts.
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Going to DPRK...

The adventure to Pyongyang started from Beijing. Brave and skilled North Korean pilots flew Soviet Union made Iljushin airliner to the Beijing International Airport. We - four Finns - and some Chinese and DPRK citizens boarded into the plane. It would take only about one hour to reach our destination.

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Night of the arts, Helsinki 2013

Playing with the new GoPro Hero3 video camera...

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Digiscoping the super moon

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