All posts tagged: vanlife

Baltic feelings

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The landscapes are flat… very flat. Everything is flat, even Peipous Lake, the 5th largest lake in Europe, which is never deeper than 15 m! And Bertrand adds: “Flat landscapes are boring. On the one hand, we can see a long way, but on the other hand, there’s not enough height to get a better view point. It’s challenging to get good photos. ” He isn’t very inspired by the Baltic countryside and has trouble deciding where to aim his lens, especially when he thinks about the stunning Scandinavian panoramas. — Bertrand is kind and I’m conciliatory. We are both profoundly averse to conflict. But every once in a while, we get on each other’s nerves. It’s not easy to be with your other half 24/7 in 6 m2. Today the argument was over what we should or shouldn’t take photos of. Bertrand, the artist, focuses on quality and doesn’t see the point of taking a photo of something he says is “useless”. Me, the hyperactive, would rather have too many than too few. I’m …

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Perchs & herrings in the Finnish way

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Kala keittö (pronounced kala’ keïteuh) Fish soup Ingredients Fish: kala Perch: ahven (pronounced ah’rven) Potatoes: peruna (pronounced perrona) Sweet potatoes: batatti (pronounced batat’ti) Onion: sipuli (pronounced sipoli) Ginger: inkivääri (pronounced inkivairi) Vegetable stock cube: vihannes liemi kuutio (pronounced vianess lieymi koutïo) Dill: tilli Method Bring a large pan of water to the boil Gut and descale the fish Cut the potatoes and sweet potatoes into large cubes. Slice the onions and finely chop the dill. Cut the ginger into small cubes. When the water boils, add the stock cube, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Wait 10 minutes before adding the onion, dill and ginger. Wait another 5 minutes before adding the fish whole to the soup, head first so that the tail is not submerged 20 minutes later, it’s ready! Alternative recipe: perch on the wood fire… No comment! Sinappisilli Herring and mustard sauce Ingredients Sinappisilli (a traditional Finnish sauce made with herring and mustard) Dill: tilli Potatoes: peruna (pronounced perrona) Method Bring some water to the boil and add the potatoes. When they are cooked …

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Bivouac in Lapland

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We’re spending four days in the wide open spaces of Lapland to take in its beauty and sample its cuisine! While we’re here, a Finnish couple, Roope and Anna, are staying in the van with us. We follow their advice and look for “lakka” along the edges of the tracks. These Arctic berries are very rare, and very popular with the locals. By chance, we stumbled across an orange-tinted marsh, covered in these precious berries. Roope and Anna had never seen so many at once! With mosquito hats and hiking boots, we were ready to take on the mud and gather the creamy, amber fruit that isn’t too sweet and is slightly bitter. Here we are with three full boxes of the Finnish dessert, but we still need the main course. Roope, a big fishing fan, has all the gear we need: rods, all kinds of lures, knives, waterproof clothing, an inflatable boat, etc. He gave Bertrand some advice to find a better rod. Roope dedicated it to him using his knife. We’re going to …

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Tweedy Eddie D.

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Ardara is Ireland’s tweed capital. Tweed is a material made from wool. It is not knit by hand on needles but woven on a loom. Eddie Doherty invites us into his workroom and shop where he tells us about his ancestral craft. Eddie became a weaver in 1956. He is now 70 years old and is overwhelmed with orders from all over the world. He is Ireland’s last traditional weaver, and one of the few remaining worldwide. His colleagues have all switched to mechanical methods. Their output is higher than Eddie’s but that hardly fools anyone, the stitching is not the same, and the threads are not as tightly woven. Without interrupting his monologue, he climbs up on his gigantic loom and starts the machine up. It’s an instrument measuring 2 metres in width and almost as much in depth, capable of weaving up to 12,000 threads at once. A “Heath Robinson contraption of wood”, according to Eddie. The straps around the rollers start moving, the weft bobbin scoots from left to right, over and under, …

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A breton in Ireland

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Erwan is a breton of 25 years. He’s also a Breton from Belle-île, and there aren’t very many of those! We met him on the ferry between Brittany and Ireland. We looked at the Irish map together whilst lying on the carpet between two bouts of insomnia. Erwan has several identities: to start, he’s Breton; a seasonal restaurant worker; international sound system examiner; plumber; future offshore welder; and more recently, a surf fanatic. He started surfing two years ago and hasn’t been able to stop since. He has taken 10 days of holiday, 4 days in Brittany and 6 in Ireland looking for the most coveted spots. He’s travelling in a little white 205 that is sparsely but efficiently equipped. The rear seat and passenger seat have been folded flat leaving just enough space to slide in two surfboards hidden under a white sheet. There is a foam mattress behind the passenger seat. When it’s time to go to bed, he lays his seat down flat, rolls out the mattress all the way to the …

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#vanlife godfather

Foster Huntington, the #vanlife godfather

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It’s the story of a guy who made a complete U turn in life. A guy who decided not to take the motorway, preferring to stick to the smaller tracks and roads. A group of blokes talk about it, a rare breed, and rarer still are those who do it well with annoying skill and success. The story of this guy is touching, like the setting of the sun over Oregon. Foster, a disillusioned dropout from a university in Maine, which he never really wanted to go to. He overcame his problems by releasing ‘A Restless Transplant’, a blog which was quickly spotted by Ralph Lauren who then offered him a job in New-York. Too much time spent behind a desk bored him to death, and inspired him to work on a personal project, The Burning House. This materialist-minimalist photo blog inspired by Wabi-sabiste (!) is drawing attention from a publisher who has offered to make a book out of it. Foster saved the advance payment and spent it immediately on a van (a VW Synchro), quit his job and hit the road, creating the famous #vanlife and released ‘Home Is Where You Park …

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