Soft tones of South Beach.
Our hotel at Miami was located at Collins Avenue South Beach, which is kind of nice if you're all about the beach, but next time I know better and choose Wynwood instead. Beautiful industrial Wynwood is a totally different side of Miami filled with amazing street art, cozy restaurants, shops, galleries and local breweries. I don't know why now but after returning home from this journey all I've been doing is planning to go back. Best word to describe the feeling I've had since is hiraeth - it means homesickness for a home you can't return to or that never was.
wynwood between lunch and dinner
For some reason we ended up being hungry always in between lunch and dinner time when most of the restaurants are closed. Good thing we found Wynwood Diner during those hungry hours! This beautiful, cozy, all-american dining place had the most amazing mac & cheese, burgers and blueberry pancakes few to mention. And when every single song on their playlist was something I alredy had or wanted to have on my playlist, I knew I found home <3
I'm a sucker for mysteries, and a huge underwater maze sounds like one. There are over 3000 cenotes at Yucatán area and many of them connected to another by underwater tunnels. For Ancient Mayas some cenotes were the only source for sweet water so ritual offerings were made to placate the Rain God. Sometimes even people were sacrificed.
Cenote Zacil-Há was the most beautiful of the cenotes we visited. It was small and clear watered, connected to another cenote nearby. While we were swimming, 6 divers started their dive from the other cenote towards us. We could watch the bubbles come up from our end of the tunnel. Wish I had the nerve and experience to go dive there, but cave diving isn't exactly the most safe hobby in the world - especially if you're a bit claustrofobic.
Tulum ruins & animal friends taken over it
The food & drink
Few things to try if you ever decide to explore Tulum.
Fresh coconut water served from actual coconut. If you're up for a local way to drink beer: michelada. It's basically beer with lime juice, spices and sauces. You either love it or hate it. I loved it. You could skip lunch and have just this.
Seafood, especially ceviche. It's raw fish or other seafood cured in lime juice and spices. But make sure you eat in in a good local restaurant, not at a tourist place, there's a huge difference in taste. We ordered ceviche from our hotel - horrible. Then again from local seafood restaurant - amazing. And when lobster season, you can eat it pretty much everywhere.
Seafood restaurant to visit.
La Barracuda was really good. The picture below shows their portion size when ordered for 4 persons. HUGE!
Part two of Tulum. There's so much to tell so I think I need to create part three also. I've visited many places all around the world, in 19 countries if my calculations are correct, and this is one of the few places I really want to return to as soon as possible. Usually I'd go to a place I've never seen before rather than returning to somewhere I've already been, but two weeks in Tulum area was not nearly enough to see everything there is to see.
At Tulum we stayed in two different hotels at two different locations. It's funny how the vibes can be so different after changing location only by 15 kilometres. So here's about locations.
location no.1: rosa del viento
I prefered the first location and hotel: Rosa Del Viento. Bohemian but yet modern bungalow accomodation where you can lay in hammocks by the beach and eat in outdoor restaurant. The hotel was located at the south end of Tulums main beach area as one of the last hotels before the wilderness of Sian Ka'an biosphere.
The road after our hotel towards the heart of Sian Ka'an was bumpy and rough surrounded by thick jungle both sides. We took a bicycle trip to see the lagoon there, but noticed it might have been faster to walk - the road was that bad. With more time, that same road would have taken us 43 kilometres south to Punta Allen, a beautiful small fishertown. By bus trip to Punta Allen takes about 4 hours. So you can probably imagine how the road is if the average speed is 10km per hour by car.
location no.2: pavo real beach
Our second hotel was called Pavo Real Beach, all inclusive hotel where we ate only when we were forced to. The food in all inclusives is never good, this was no exception. Pavo Real was pretty isolated, 10 kilometres north from Tulum center right next to Cenote Manati - a large cenote connected to the sea and once inhabited by manates. This hotel was perfect for chilling by the beach but it didn't have the same relaxed feeling than Rosa Del Viento eventhough the beach bar served Mojitos among the other drinks, all inclusive as well.
But if you were too restless to just lay in the sun, you could always walk around to see pelicans, eagles or huge iguanas living nearby the hotel area. Note to self: don't go too close to iguanas, they don't like it. One of them got mad and chased me around the yard. I guess my boyfriend and the hotel staff had a good laugh on my expense.
No pasar says iguana. This was a friendly one, the evil one who chased me was really really ugly and I was too scared to get a decent picture of him. This Ace Ventura is done with iguanas for now. Peace out <3
As november tends to be pretty dark and gloomy here in Finland, I decided to take 3 weeks off from office work, grab my camera and book few flights into the sun. Much more inspiring than cold november rain in Helsinki! Our first stop was Tulum Mexico, the home of beautiful beaches, cenotes and maya ruins. Here's a preview, more coming up later.
no.1 / the sun & our hoods
no.2 / the storm and rain
It's the time of year when leafs are starting to fall and I'm getting an irressistible urge to leave. I love autumn and the nights getting darker in Helsinki, but every year I get that sound in my head that tells me to go somewhere, to wander. And the sound has become louder year by year, so slowly I've taken actions towards it.
As you might have noticed I've changed my websites language from finnish to english. That's about supporting my plan to move abroad for work. First step towards this was to partially move to Tallinn, and I've been loving every second of it. But I don't think Tallinn is the place I want to stay permanently. So don't know departure date or the final destination yet, but I've noticed that the law of attraction seems to work flawlessly; positive or negative attitudes can produce corresponding results. So whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
I've been sailing around Helsinki for 7 years now, seen the agencies, startups and freelancing the hell out of this city. Learned a lot, laughed a lot, cried a lot. It's not like I've seen it all, but it feels like there is so much more out there.
Pros and cons of freelance life is that you can work anywhere you like. This can be both good and bad depending on your attitude and work ethics, but lately I've found not having a fixed location to be a good thing. Change and new enviroment can really boost your creativity.
I used to think I need to work in a real office in order to be effective but later on noticed that's really not the case. This, among many other things in freelancing, is a question of attitude.
When I started freelancing full day me and small group of other rookies rented office space from Helsinki based digital agency Valve. This was actually one of the best decisions back then since this lead me freelancing for Valve and eventually moving along with them to their new open office space. From there I moved on to office of our own together with old friends. This was a real comfort zone expanding experience to group up with a bunch of YouTube pros, kitesurfers and startup people - you could only expect the unexpected every morning you went to work.
Today I send all my love to old office buddies from a restaurant called Lendav Taldrik. This place includes nice atmosphere, good indian food and freshly made mint lemonade. Eventhough I miss the old days sometimes, todays office is not too bad either :)