Greetings from Mongolia – better late than never

I finally had the time to go through some pictures from Mongolia. These are from the Semi-Gobi, “not-quite-desert-but-almost”.

Home to Dorio and his family, close to Khogno Khaan. This was their summer yurt spot, in the winters they moved their home to a more protected area. If I remember right it was only some 6 hours driving from Ulanbataar.

The northernmost lighthouse of the world?

Already some time ago we had a trip through Lapland, driving – and occasionally hiking –  from Finland to Norway and back.

The nature is wonderful, and the more North you go the better it gets. We went all the way up: the last stop before turning back was the Slettnes Lighthouse by the Arctic Ocean. It’s a little lighthouse built in the very beginning of the 20th century. The locals claim it’s the northernmost lighthouse in the world, and the northernmost point of Norway (inland that is – Nordkapp is on an island!). To be sure it’s the northernmost lighthouse in mainland Scandinavia.

If I remember right, it took us about 5 hours to drive through the peninsula to the town near by, Gamvik. And it already took almost the same time to come from our previous stop close to Alta to that point – Northern Norway has some meandering roads. There are parts of the peninsula that are so bare that it seems like Mars. But still, at the very tip, there was still a lot of life. And landscapes.

It was a place I would still love to get back to. They rent out the house under the lighthouse proper, and even at the time we were there, some time in the very beginning of September, it was already pitch-dark at night. There was a lady intending to stay there for the whole winter, that must be an experience, since it’s right by the open Arctic Ocean and even the 3 kilometer road taking to the nearest town, Gamvik, will not be open for cars when it snows.

The town of Gamvik and the people who showed it to us were also unforgettable – put perhaps more on that later. Just to start, since there were very few stores and taking transporting stuff there simply takes forever, nothing was easy to buy. Even fresh fish – in a fishing village…

Desert dust


I visited the West Bank a few weeks ago. The white desert dust on my shoes has already been washed away by the rain in Helsinki, but the other things I brought home with me will stay.

I will try write more about it later, but for now I will start with this picture of Comer Camara, who lives in the refugee camp of Aqbat Jaber in Jericho. There is something about the calm proud look that she, and many other people I met, had, that in the middle of the occupation was one of the things that astonished me. For me, just a visitor for one week, many of the things that they had to face everyday due to the behaviour of the Israeli military in the occupied territory seemed so unbearable and unjust, that I had trouble keeping my calm.

She is standing next to the house UNRWA built for her family, as the old one was collapsing. There are some 5 million Palestinian refugees today, and the UN agency created to help them, UNRWA, takes care of most of the infrastructure in the camps. After more than 60 years, the refugee camps in the West Bank have become more like village-like entities with houses, schools and health care centres, and a lot of the people living there were born in the camps.

When the agency started working in 1950, I bet nobody thought it would be needed for this long.