Maybe the best advent calendar 2017

Hello together.

The advent season started now and what shouldn’t be missing? Exactly, an advent calendar. Usually kids get this calendar, filled with sweets and candies. But sometimes also the big ones :-)
This year I got also confronted with the subject ‘advent calendar’. The basic idea was to make a advent calendar. Fast the ambition came fast ‘If I make a advent calendar already, then the right way’. :-D

So, what exactly is or is needed for an advent calendar. 24 ‘doors’ of course. The best is some bags or boxes, to put all the small, sweet surprises in for the 24 days till xmas. But what, how, why?
The decision was quickly made that it should be a house. A wooden frame, for the boxes, which looks like a house.
Great, a good plan so far.

And everybody knows about the bad boys and girls, which can’t wait for the day to come. This has to be prohibit! :-D And then I am just on a ‘diy lamp’ trip… so the house has to have a lot of lights.
So far the rough plan. 

The final plan was made after a few detailed thoughts:
Every box will get a window (a house has windows, isn’t it), which lighted by an LED. To prevent the cheating, the calendar need to know which date it is and which box is removed. (I don’t need to mention that there is an arduino in the game. ;-) ). To be able to do that, every box need a ‘switch’, which is checking if the box is in the shelf or not. If someone removed the wrong box (a box from a date in the future), an alarm will be set off. However, if the box is pulled out of today, then a Christmas carol should be played.
Of course the house has to be a chimney with smoke… it is winter and people are heating. And of course the smoke has to be illuminated too.
And then we need a display, to show the current date (just in case the person is not really awake in the morning and don’t know the current date). 

And since we already put so much light in the house, then should be also install some gadgets, that the calendar can also be used as light/lamp. For example, I came up with the idea to illuminate the windows randomly. Just like in a real house … here is a light on and there is a light on. And then sometimes one goes on or off here and there. The imitation of a real house, so to speak.
(If I had known what will get into … I would have thought again !! :-))

And off we went with the crafting.

First, the house had to be built. The boxes are 6.5cm x 6.5cm. In order to leave a little space, I made the openings for the boxes 7x7cm. 7cm deep, however, is not very much. This would certainly overturn the house constantly. So I extended the depth to 20cm and got a bit ‘storage space’ for slightly larger surprises. I needed a partition anyway to accommodate the wiring for the switches.
In between, I also had to solder the LEDs. For this I drilled a hole in the wood in each shelf, for the SK6811. They are round and fit exactly in a 10mm hole. The nice thing about the SK6811 is that they are ‘smart’ and only need one pin on the Arduino. You always pass on the signal to the next LED. Thus, I always needed only 3 cables, from LED to LED. And not from every LED 3 cable to the Arduino. That is very convenient.
The LEDs then fixed with hot glue and that was done.
Then the roof ridge. Here I had to cut the two windows into the wood and saw out the opening for the display. Glued in front of the window openings then the ‘window paper’ and glued the display in the opening.
And install 3 more LEDs in the chimney and fix it to the house roof.

Most tricky was the subject with the box-switches. To accomplish this, I had to cut 28 slots into the partition to sink the cables there. But only to the extent that they are just in there. (24 data lines + 1x ground per row) I had the great idea to simply take self-adhesive copper foil. Seemed easiest to me. 2 strips under the box (1x data line, 1x ground) and another strip under the box. So this would close the circle once it’s in the drawer. Unfortunately, it didn’t worked out always. A little unevenness, a small curvature in the bottom of the cardboard box … and there is no contact. So I had to put half the strips on the cardboard box with a little bit of soldering tin, so that the contact – more or less sure – was made.
Definitely it was a pretty fumble. But at some point it was done.

What was missing were the RTC (Real Time Clock, so that the Arduino knows what day it is and also rememberes when the power is gone), a receiver for the remote control (yes! Remote control for the Advent calendar! ;-) How should one otherwise switch through the light modes?) And the buzzer for the Christmas carol or the alarm.
I soldered the buzzer and the RTC to an Arduino Mega Prototyping Shield. There was already a DHT22 sensor (temperature and humidity) on it. … Well, if he’s already there, then it can be used. So the calendar also shows the temperature and humidity on the display. Why not? :-)
The receiver LED for the remote control I have installed behind the windows in the roof. So it is not visible from outside. But you have to do a bit of ‘aiming’.
In addition, I have installed a photodiode. Actually, I wanted the advent calendar to light up by itself when it gets dark. I later discarded that.

And then it was time for programming. Afterwards everything seems very logical and simple. But when you start, it’s not like that at all. You start and you always have some stumbling blocks in your way. Such as an Adruino only handles single-thread. Mostly that is not so tragic. But if you want to play a song and in the same time want to turn lights on and off, then that’s not possible.

But after many hours it was finally time. The good piece was finished … more or less.

And here is the whole thing in action:

And some more pictures

What is needed:

  • Arduino Mega 2560
  • RTC
  • Buzzer
  • SK6811 LED
  • Boxes
  • Remote control + receiver
  • Photodiode
  • Tools and wood
  • Cotton

Winter greetings
Gordon

Good Bye Cyprus – Hello new plan.

Hello together.

Sunset in Cyprus

Sonnenuntergang im Nikosia-Tal

After 2403 days I left my adopted home again. 6 1/2 years in a different country (and then on an island in the Mediterranean) is what other people just dream about :-) But I had several reasons to leave the island again. The main reasons are that new plans arrived, that Cyprus is a small island(!) and live there is also not always sunshine. Plus I was almost the last one from our friend circle core. All others left earlier already.
And some more reasons.

6 1/2 years are quite a long time. I’ve learned, saw and experienced a lot in that time there. So much that I can’t put everything in one article. All this experiences and memories would fill up a whole book (or several). (Even I would love to write down this book, to stop the forgetting.)
I had wonderful times and really bad times. As live is. Nothing is only good or only bad. And I don’t regret that I moved on the island that time. I’ve learned so many valuable things which raised my horizon.

I was living in a country where they don’t speak my mother language (and I survived :) ). I speak, understand and write now (more or less) fluent english (not perfect, but ok). Greek… well, lets not talk about that :-/ But I speak a few more words Polish, Russian, Italian, Spanish and French now.

I found new friends from many countries. Friends from Poland, Ukraine, UK, Germany, Latvia, France, Hungary, USA, Russia, Cyprus, Greece, Sweden, Spain and other countries. Good friends. And I am glad to met each of them.
It was quite interesting to find out the differences between the nations. Also to learn the one or other word in the other language (even I am not a language genius). I think the most known words bei foreigners in German are:

  1. Scheiße! (almost everbody knows it)
  2. Ja / Nein
  3. Guten Tag.
  4. Hände hoch. Nicht schießen.
  5. Ein Bier bitte.
  6. Wie geht es Dir?

I can look back on awesome memories. For example our camping trips (especially to Karpaz in the north).
I started diving in Cyprus and one of the most awesome dive was in the sunken church in the Kouris dam. But also the wreck of the Zenobia and all the other approx 100 dives (till now).
All the photographing trips with other friends which are into photographing. We found beautiful places and made also beautiful pictures. :-) And actually I started proper photographing in Cyprus as well.
In the last months Ewelina “convinced” me to go climbing with her. Also this I started then in Cyprus.
And all the great meetings with my friends are great memories for me. Doesn’t matter if swimming/diving on the beach or BBQ evening at home. Every meeting was great.

2400 days are a loooong time. I would love to write about everything here… about love and hate, friendship and disappointment, from good and bad times… but I have neither the time nor the memory for it right now. And on the other hand they are my experiences and memories… for you it would be probably boring.
I am very glad that I made this experiences… even I would love, from my perspective now, to make some things different. Unfortunately its never going back, only forward.

And that is another main reason why I left Cyprus. I have a new plan now. Actually I decided 3 years ago already to leave Cyprus. But I couldn’t find a place where I wanted to live. Back to Germany was not an option. But I also didn’t had any other place on this earth in mind where I would like to live for a while. And like this the time was passing and nothing happened.

Gordon in AndorraIn the summer 2013 I went with a young lady for a road trip through west Europe. We drove in 9 weeks over 9000km through (almost) all countries in west Europe. And this gave me a lot of good and positive energy. But it should took another few month until I realized that this is what I want, what I need to be happy. Traveling… constantly… a lot. I think I am not made to be somewhere longer on one place. I love to see new things, new places and to explore the world.

And this is now the plan. To build a flat on 4 (or more) wheels and then to be home wherever we just are. Just like the motto “Home is where the heart is.” … or something like this :-)

The opinion of the people which we told the plan already are spread far. People which travel by them self or which have a ‘different point of view’ understand us and would do it them self, if they could. Many other people don’t understand it, think we are irrational … till that it is insanity :-)

In general we get to hear that we should think about it again. Unfortunately also from people which are important, like family (slowly they should know me :-) ).
But the plan is made and we will do it… at least we will try.

And we are not fully naive. I mean we don’t want to drive around a beg or something like this. We will have a working live as well. Just that we will live in a flat on wheels. And our desk will be as well in this flat. Our electricity will come from batteries, which will be charged by the sun (or – if the sun is not shining for a while – from a generator). The internet we will get from a satellite or mobile networks.
In our flat will be a proper bed, a proper bathroom (yes, with shower, toilet and sink), a proper kitchen and a proper living room. Just a bit smaller then a normal flat.
Our flat will have a 3way heating system (warm water through a diesel heating and a stove) and an electric floor heating as backup. It will have a air condition for the hot summer days. We will have running water (ok, maximum 1000 liter, then we need to refill). Drinkable water will come from bottles, as in most of the other flats as well, I suppose. We will even have electricity and internet.

I was thinking a long time how to do it. First it should be a camper. A bit adjusted and converted.
But then I was ‘suddenly’ not alone anymore. Ewelina was suddenly with me… well, not so suddenly :-) And with her 2 cats… and it become more complicated. But she was fine with this plan and even liked it as well. So the question was not ‘Yes or No’. The question was ‘How’. And we were both thinking forth and back how to do it. We even started to run around to check camper. It was small… but must work out somehow, we thought.

Until… yes until one day a crazy idea crossed our way. We found (I think it was accidentally… or not…) a converted bus. I mean a proper bus. And in a proper bus is a lot of space. Nothing with 1m² bathroom any more and 5m² for the rest of the flat. No no, here is a lot of space. Approx 20m². And it can be quite cosy.
So we were asking Google what is possible and what other people did already. And we found out, it was not an individual case. There are more crazy people which converted a bus to a mobile home. From very simple to absolute luxury. Most of them did it by them self, but some hired a company. Especially in America it seems to be a trend. But also in Germany is a community already for it.

Autosan H9-20 der Polnischen Marine Quelle: http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autosan_H9

Autosan H9-20 der Polnischen Marine
Quelle: http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autosan_H9

And then the questions came… Which bus shall it be? MAN, Mercedes Benz, SCANIA, Margirus Deutz, etc. The list is long. Quickly we realized that we need a bigger wallet. Ours is to small.
But also therefore is a solution. A risky one, but it is a solution. And the solution is to buy an “old” polish Autosan bus. This ones are just sorted out everywhere in Poland. It means they drove until now on the street. They are very cheap in buying and there are tons of spare parts. Also the maker is still producing spare parts.
Problem on this story is that this bus was never registered in Germany. Not a single registration here. This can be a problem with the registration here. Also with the MOT. Spare parts only in Poland. If something breaks down… I will not think on it right now.
But… its a better price range. So, lets cross all our fingers and hope the best. :-)

Also regarding the converting are we not so naive. We know it will be expensive. Thats why, getting the bus, getting hopefully quick the German papers for it and then converting… piece by piece. Earning money and continuing working on the bus. Until our camper is ready or we run out of nerves :-)

It will be a huge project, yes, that is clear. We know that. But what would be the live without challenges? Would be boring, isn’t it? And as I said, slowly the people should know me. :-D
I love this idea. If we manage it until the end or not. Ich can only learn. I need to take care of the bus and learn how it works (mechanic). I need to make a truck driving license, which is also learning. I need to find out how heating systems are working and need to build one. I need to learn about electric stuff and need to arrange all the electric stuff in the bus (with solar, generator and all this systems). I need to build the water system. Also gas… or I leave this part to a professional guy… better maybe :) And more, much more. I will need to learn so many things with this bus project… things I will need also later in my life.And for sure it will be not a second boring next year! :-D For now I need to go to the nice guy from the DEKRA (like MOT) and to talk to him. What I need to think about and what they need. Like I said, this bus was never registered in Germany. Everything new for them. Who knows what differences they have between the systems, which nobody knows yet.
And when this is clear and nothing big can happen there, then I pick up Ewelina in 2-3 weeks in Poland and we will check straight some buses. And hopefully the right one will be between them already. So we can buy one straight away. :-)

That is the plan for now. I hope I can give more often an update now. Just smaller :-)

Until then
Gordon

Happy New Year 2015

Hello.

I’d like to still wish you a Happy New Year 2015, if I haven’t done it already :)
I hope you had a great New Years Party and your targets for 2015 are reachable ;)

We spent New Year quite modest. At a – more or less – lonely place with Jim and Christos. We met, unpacked the cameras, heated up the Glühwein, prepared a snack and then photographed the 5 rockets at midnight and then we let the things slide.

It was nothing wild, but still it was a wonderfull evening. Quite and relaxed  with good friends.

It was also the last New Year here on the island. In a few weeks I will finally say Good Bye. But later more about it. There are many big plans for the new year. I hope they are not to high to reach. :)

So, then I wish you a Happy New Year again and that 2015 will become an awesome Year! ;)

24 hour adventure

Hi togehter.

Once again a small story about one of our photo trips. This time with a lot of adventure. Lets see if I can put it in words. :)

Actually there was a Couchsurfing meeting planed on friday. But then my friend got told that she have to work on Saturday and also nobody else was suppose to come. So, I also canceled.

I called Christos, to see what is going on there. He had another plan. To go in the mountains, to an old abandoned hotel, camp there and Saturday exploring some abandoned villages. Sounded like a great idea. It was late already… but if we would hurry up, we could make it to the hotel until sunset.

DSC_0688So quickly finishing the job, packing the stuff and get a move on. But the other 3 wasn’t ready either yet. Around 6 we finally started. First stop petrol station, then shopping a bit and on the way in the mountains. Fully packed is my car even more weak. It was a slow drive up there. :-(
We reached the abandoned hotel Berengaria after the sunset. But we could use the last light to make quickly some shots in the blue hour. 4 photographer :)
Then it became more and more dark… until we were standing in pitch black night. And one thing I can say… the hotel is damn spooky in the dark. From outside it’s still ok. But I made some shots in the pitch black inside of the hotel… there you start feeling a bit strange. But check out the pictures down, then you maybe know what I mean.

The hotel was build in 1930. It is mainly build with natural stone. It was so glamorous that it was called ‘Hotel of the kings’. Also was it the first one in this area of Cyprus.
It seems like nobody really knows what exactly happen to the hotel. The rest is just legend. The legend says that the very rich owner had 3 sons. After his dead the family property, money and the hotel should be divided equally between all 3 sons, so that there will be no fight and no problem between them.  All 3 should own the Berengaria hotel.
But after the father died, they had forgotten all the good intentions and the 3 brothers started to fight for the money and the hotel. All 3 died in strange accidents within 3 years.
Nobody was the owner of the hotel anymore, after they died, and the people were burglarizing the hotel. All what is left now are the blank walls.
People say that the ghosts of the 3 brothers are still in the hotel.

We slept in the night right next to the hotel. In our tents. We haven’t seen any ghosts. Maybe they where so good to be quite in the night :)

DSC_0711We got up late in the morning. I got out of the tent around 9:30. I was the last one, of course. :) First of all… coffee and a cigarette… and then starting the day slow-paced. Around 11 we were all back in the car and ready to go. It was planed to visit more abandoned places today. But the first stop was just a few minutes from the hotel away. A abandoned (of course) house. It looks bad from outside already. Broken windows, doors are open, every piece of metal is rusting and the gardener wasn’t here anymore for at least 20 years.

Already when I was surrounding the house it was clear, this house is special. And it is special because it must be abandoned for years already, but there is still everything in the house. Everything. The rooms are fully furnished. In the kitchen are still bottles (I didn’t checked if one is still closed). Even bulbs are still in the sockets. And also clothes are still lying around. Of course, everything is in a very bad condition. But whoever was living here, must have been left in hurry. And somehow nobody seems to be interested to plunder the house in all the years. For us photographer is it of course a welcome target to make some good pictures :)

And then we went on in direction to Vretsia. It’s just approx 30 km west from there. The normal street would make a huge diversion. We decided to take the across country route. My navigation system tried to lead me that way straight away… couldn’t be that bad then, was my thought. Just goes to show you never know.

DSC_0809Before the village Foini we had to take a turn. Down from the main street. There is even a sign to a venetian bridge (Elia bridge). Cool, then we also see some venetian bridges.
Just a few hundred meter later the asphalt road changed to a concrete road. Another few hundred meter later the concrete road ended and we were on an dirt road… literally. And then the adventure started. (We decided after a few kilometer that we will not say anymore ‘it becomes worse and worse’… we call it now ‘it becomes more adventurous’ !!)
5,5 km until the bridge. Our average speed was around 20km/h. Partly just 10 km/h. Wheel ruts so deep that a axle fracture is granted at 30km/h. I think we needed an hour for this 5,5 km. Then, 200 meter before the bridge, we came finally back on an asphalt road. And we reached the first bridge. The Elia bridge. A quick stop, some pictures and we moved on. Just a few hundred meter down the street is the second bridge. The Tsielefos bridge.

Photo by Christos

Photo by Christos

Then we had the next great idea. Direct from this bridge goes a ‘street’ further to the 3rd venetian bridge and from there to Vretsia. Problem no. 1 is that the street goes through the river. I saw once here how a quad got washed away when it tried to cross the river. But that time was more water in the river. At the moment was the water level lower and the river quite calm. After thinking back and forth I decided ‘Ok, lets try it’.
So I went back to the car, took a run-up (as much as possible) and… crossed the river without problems. The other people around looked a bit stupid and my car was a bit more clean again :)

Unfortunately was the street the same shit as before. Actually the real adventure started now. 25km on a dirt road. Ok, the navigation system knew this street (really surprisingly … I recommend to everybody to check where your navigation system is leading you!). I was hoping that it will not crash down. We would have never found back. But even more I was worried about my poor little car. And I kicked my ass that I didn’t took the GoPro with me to record THAT on video.

Wheel ruts and partly steep hill downwards with up to 40% (no joke). We were driving on forest fire prevention swaths. Once I took the wrong turn and had to turn around. Did I mentioned that we were driving on a dirt road? Most of the time a cliff on one side. The road wasn’t always wide enough for 2 cars and of course no crash barrier.

DSC_1008After approx. 2 hours we reached the 3. bridge. The Roudia bridge located in the middle of the forest. Another venetian bridge. And the most beautiful from all 4 I saw so far. In the middle of the forest and surrounded by beautiful trees.

After another hour with 20km/h we reached finally Vretsia. We were hoping to find a restaurant there. We were so damn hungry. But we found with Vretsia our first abandoned village. It must have been a Turkish village. In the middle of the village is an old little mosque. Surrounded by normal houses, a villa, a school, farm houses and a restaurant, in which still someone is living. Self made cheese was hanging from the roof, to dry out. We could hear goats in the valley, a huge pig was standing around there and even 2 beautiful horses were on the meadow.
After a photo excursion we went further. The road became better finally and in the next village we found a cafe. They had just chips, but at least something. Plus a coffee :) We spend a bit time here and had a rest… until we were heading to the next location. The old abandoned Axylou. But except of another dirt road was nothing to find here.

After that it was to late and I wasn’t in the mood to torture my poor car more. So we went back home. But we had a great day. With a lot of adventure. :)

And as always… some pictures…

Best wishes
Gordon

I’ve been to a classical concert… never call me philistine again :D

Hi together.

I’ve been to a classical concert. Never let it be said that I am a philistine :)

A friend mentioned that there is a classical concertRoyal Manor House (14th international Pharos Chamber Music Festival). Somewhere in a village between Limassol and Paphos. She wanted to go with another friend. With the bus… changing the bus 3 times… would take them around 2 hours. And somehow… :) I thought ‘Ah, what the hell. For 10 Euro it could worth it to go and check it out. I have anyway no plans that evening.’. So, I offered to join them and offered to go with my car. Would be much faster.

It became quite interesting when I realized that the concert will be in the Royal Manor House in Kouklia. Also known as Sanctuary of Aphrodite. A ancient place with an old villa on it. A very interesting location for a concert.

I collected both girls at 7 and we went off to Kouklia. With the car it took us just half an hour. Cyprus is not that big :)
The concert was supposed to start at 8:30. We arrived around at 8. Of course, we are still in Cyprus, the concert started approx. 15 minutes later. The program was chanced completely (how, I couldn’t understand) and before they started they had also a power cut in the room (good that I had my torch with me :D ).

But then they started finally. 1 1/2 hours violin, piano, viola and cello. … And I have to admit, as someone who is not a big fan of classical music, it was a very nice variety of Rammstein and Co. Live has it a totally different charm as when you just hear it. For sure was also the location not really innocent on the fact that I really liked the concert.
The time was just passing and it was almost sad when they were playing the last notes. I would have liked to hear more.

I am sure when there is another opportunity for a nice concert, I will go again. Doesn’t matter if classic or any other interesting music genre. Especially if it will be again in a special location. Also would like to go again to a Jazz concert. Lets see.

The original program:

Franz Schubert: Minuets for String Quartet, D.89 (1813)
Antonin Dvořák: Piano Trio No.4 in E Minor, Op.90 “Dumky”
Franz Schubert: Sonatina No.1 in D major, Op.137
Gustav Mahler: Piano Quartet in A minor

The musicians:

Piano: François-Frédéric Guy, Yevgeny Sudbin, Ashley Wass
Violin: Daishin Kashimoto, Tanja Becker-Bender, Boris Brovtsyn, Levon Chilingirian
Viola: Diemut Poppen
Cello: Alexander Chaushian

 

Following of course some picture and a video of the evening.

Best wishes
Gordon

Recently at the tattooist…

Hi,

a friend wrote me a while ago if I’d like to go with her to a tattooist. She wanted to get a new tattoo. Of course I gave her company. I am thinking a long time already to get another one and where hoping to get some new impressions and information.

So, we went to Agia Napa. To the studio of Blood Brothers. Not really around the corner. But she knows the tattooist longer already and wanted to have it done from him. So, while she was ‘busy’ I checked the magazines and templates for new ideas.

Really, when you are already in a tattoo studio, then is it not easy to leave there again without end up yourself under the machine. I didn’t… but only because it became late already and there was no time anymore. But I caught the fever and made an appointment for some days later. It was very spontaneous, but like that I had some more days to decide what and where.
I have already another tattoo for a long time in my head. But for that I need to find, first of all, a person who have knowledge about this kind of tattoos. It’s about a Maori tattoo. And the shapes and symbols have meanings. Just not many people know this meaning. So obviously someone from New Zealand would be the best address. :)

Ahh yeah, of course I had my camera with me… ;)

And a few days later we swapped. I got the pain and my friend took the camera in the hand :)

But I am not happy with the result, to be honest. The tattoo looks ok after all and is ok. But if you compare the template with the result, then you see that a lot of details are skipped or changed. The turtle is only with a hint on its existence recognizable. Also the Manta is hard to recognize. Lines are crooked.
Maybe I am fussy… but a tattoo will be always on my skin. I want to have it done perfect. And I mean 100% perfect. When I choose a design, then I want it to have it done exactly like the design is… not changed in any detail.
Next time I need to be more careful with choosing a tattooist (who will decorate my body for the rest of my life) and will check more intense the work he have done before.

Here both for comparing. tattoo vergleich

Best wishes
Gordon

I am back

Hi.

It’s been a long time since I was writing here last time. I was just checking it… 6 month to be exact. That is really a long time. And even before that, I was writing for a long time just sporadically (beside of the Road Trip).
But also nobody was complaining :P

Relaxen über den Dächern von NikosiaIt’s not like nothing happen in the last 6 month.Actually a lot happened. But nothing to tell in a blog or any online source. Lets say there was a big emotional rollercoaster… with all the trimmings. That also took my mood to write here. Plus I was very busy that times with other things. And also the time started to fly.
I just read the the article about the Olympus E-620 and it feels like it was yesterday. 6 month passed since then. Really a lot happened in the last 6 month. And yet this long period of time seems to me very, very short.

So, what happend here in the last month? I make it short. The long version could fill books.
I fall in love with someone I knew longer already. There was also another one. Back and forth… the other got the woman. I got the broken heart. A long sequel and done. (Shortest possible version… for a story which was going on for 6 month.)
I was thinking a lot in that time about all and sundry, the situation and myself. I recognized some mistakes in myself and tried to change my life partly. Since beginning of this year I go regularly to the gym. 2 month ago I started then Muay Thai as well. Moved into a bigger flat (to big actually). :) And some other personal changes.

And now almost the same story repeated.
I think at the current point I don’t care what will happen with the woman. I made a decision and do just the planing to it. An nobody will interrupt that anymore. For the first woman (with the long story) I just canceled all my future plans (freedom of traveling). She have a child already and I was ready to found a family with her. We were talking about it and made partly plans already.

Now I am back to my old path. I want to see the world. Being curious and traveling everywhere. The second (short) story was fitting into it, because she wants to travel as well. In a different way as I want (she wants backpacking and I want to have my home with me, with a camper), but we could have find a way. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

BuffaventoNow I ‘ve said it already. My plan is to purchase a mobile home and to travel the world with it. The plan, so far, is still very rough, but clear.
The current question is: buying a mobile home or build it myself. A ready one… is ready. There is possibly just a general overhaul necessary and you’re set. But it is always recognizable as a camper. The idea for a DIY is that you can customize it to your taste and you can make it inconspicuous (so it is less attractive to thieves). Of course, at the DIY version also plays the ‘playfulness’ a not insignificant role. :)
The whole project is very costly in the starting phase. I estimate the cost with 15,000 euro . Whether for secondhand or DIY . Of course we are talking about used vehicles. A used (and correspondingly old) motor home or a used motor home base vehicle .
The money has to be saved first. And I think that I will be not able to save it in Cyprus. I’ll probably have to go back to Germany for some time. Conveniently living while saving as much as possible . Loan is not an option for me. I would not get it anyway (without collateral).

Now the common question : And then what? How do shall it go then?
Well, I always say to people ‘I ‘m a programmer . This is so cool. I can work from everywhere in the world. I just need internet.’ And … where am I? Since over 6 years in Cyprus. ‘Everywhere’ is different.
We fortunately live in a very modern world. Internet is also available via satellite. You only need a receiver. A dish on the roof, or wherever. I looked around a bit and found a company that offers that. Nowadays you do not even need a back-channel anymore. In the earlier days you could receive Internet via satellite, but you still needed a land line for sending the data. This is now no longer like that and thus it is absolutely independent.
So I can create a prerequisite for my work and can work from anywhere in Europe. ( The provider only covers Europe… so I will have a long stay in Europe first… but that’s big too.)

More thoughts to date are :

  • Solar system on the roof with 2-3 large catering batteries. For work I need a lot of power for the laptop. Even if it is cold, even in the middle of nowhere, even in winter .
  • Sufficiently large water tanks… I think I will like to stay long in regions where it is not crowded with people. The supply must be ensured.
  • Toilet without chemicals (marine toilet), supplied from the waste water tank ( from the shower and so).
  • If possible, unobtrusive appearance

More will not come to my mind right now. But it certainly arise more details.

That’s the plan. Why do I want to do that? Hard to explain. Here in Cyprus, I’m ‘done’ . It doesn’t excites me here any more. I think I know here almost every corner and at some point you come here to a point where you say ‘That’s enough. Get off the island.’. Then you think about it a few months back and forth … but at the end nothing changes on this thought. Even otherwise, nothing changes. What this thought only strengthened … until eventually the time has come.

A long time I was thinking ‘Where shall I then go?’. Back to Germany? No, not really. But where then? And … I have not really found an answer. Now I have one… everywhere. And with that answer I am very happy.
Der Tag wird kommen...I know that this ‘project’ for most people is not traceable. One can not travel continuously through the world and live in an RV all the time. That is not possible. But… they can! And there are people who have been doing this for long already. And they are still alive . ;)
It’s not the typical, prescribed scheme … home, family, children, dog, regular job, pension, death… And everything which is not running according to scheme, makes people fearful. Everyone who is not integrated into the scheme is sentenced. ‘That will not do.’, ‘ How can you just?’, ‘ Expectant reasonable! ‘, etc.
I have contact with some people who do not live according to the scheme and go their own way. Be it Homosexuals, Spiritual people, long-term travelers, hippies, vegetarians/vegans, etc. … People who do not ‘normal’ according to the rules of society. All know this unacceptability too well. All get to hear the same words from their fellow human beings. We should become reasonable! So in other words, we should start to go with the flow.
From my experience I can tell you who once swam with an open mind against the flow will never again (want to) go with the flow.

But this should be no philosophy hour. (Maybe another time.)
I for my part have adopted this plan (especially after the experience of our road trip last year) . And so it will be … :) Hopefully.

Yes, as far as only once by me.
The writing is not as fluid as used to be. I probably come out of practice. I should do it again more often :)
That’s why I shorten this here now and will continue next time. Probably there will still something new or I find something old new.

Oh, and I am still photographing, of course… or, after a break, again. I will upload a few pictures in the next few days, which are already a few weeks or months old… however.

Well then, see you soon.
Gordon

My beloved Olympus E-620 died suddenly and unexpected :(

Hi.

Today I have bad news (well, for me, not really for you). My good Olympus E-620 died suddenly and unexpected.

When I was at the castle Buffavento, 3 weeks ago, I had of course my baby with me. But suddenly, in the middle of a photo series, the display became dark. I thought that maybe the batteries are empty. But the screen remained black, also with new batteries. I realized that the background light is still working, but no information has been shown on the display.

Olympus E-620 aufgeschraubtI opened the camera carefully, didn’t had warranty anymore anyway, and was shaking on the contacts. It can happen that some become loose with the time. But nothing.
I didn’t dare to do more and closed the case again. So, I was sending my baby to a ‘specialist’ in Nicosia, who was recommended from some friends of mine. So, I put all my hope in this guy.
A few days later came the answer. First of all he was complaining that I opened the camera already (so what?). And he can do nothing and he don’t have the right spare parts. He will send the camera back… aham, great guy.

My last chance was eBay. I bought a new display for the camera and was hoping that this is the delinquent. Just today I got the replacement display, after 2 weeks delivery time, and changed it… you guess right, it wasn’t the display. I guess that some electric thing inside burned.

I could send the camera to Olympus for repair. Olympus have a fix price list for repairs. So I know it would cost me at least 200 Euro. And here is the thinking to invest so much money in an old camera (I know, my baby). The technology is outdated and I think a longer time already to change to another maker.
Olympus makes really good cameras… I could say they are made ‘with love’. But they are more expensive. There is rarely something new and lenses are hard to find. Especially when you are looking for something more special on the secondhand market.

Also Olympus have some new cameras on the market, of course. But only mirror less cameras. Here I could have targeted on the  OM-D E-M5. But just the camera with the kit lens cost over 1000 Euro. Far over my budget.

So I decided to change to Nikon. Why now Nikon and not Canon… honestly? When you compare the current models of both makers… then you’ll become mad. The one is here better and the other one not so good. But there is the other one better and this one not so good.

I got somehow to the new Nikon D5200 and was reading many good recessions. And the price of under 600 Euro incl. the 18-55m lens is really good. So I ordered this baby – the first camera I buy new and not used. And honestly, the difference is really big. Even the Olympus made great pictures… the Nikon is better.
Of course, between the Olympus E-620 and the Nikon D5200 are 4 years of progress. There are the 12,3 megapixel (E-620) vs. the 24 megapixel (D5200)… not that I am a megapixel freak, but it is nice to have some more. Or the much better ISO sensitivity. That was one thing which bothered me most at the Olympus. More then ISO 800 was not possible, then I had just noises in the picture. With the D5200 I can use still ISO 3200 without to much noises. And a video function is also included. I will not need it often, but sometimes I missed it.

I had the Olympus E-620 just half a year. Then it broke down. Pity, but now a new age of photography is starting for me. The first pictures with the D5200 I’ve posted the last days already (e.g. the shooting with Océane or the night pictures in Nicosia (thanks better ISO!)). The Nikon D5200 just gives me more possibilities to develop and I am more satisfied with the picture quality.
The only bad thing is that I have to sell now all my Olympus lenses and to buy all lenses new for the Nikon. Because the Olympus lenses don’t fit on the Nikon. :( It can take months until I have all lenses again.
If you like, then you can help me a bit. Just go to my Amazon wishlist (click here) and then you can buy me some parts, if you like ;)

So, now I continue with Nikon.

Rest in Peace my little Oly…

Best regards
Gordon

To sleep in a real castle (Buffavento). Adventure pure.

Hi,

sometimes I get some really crazy ideas. And the craziest ideas are mostly the best :-) But unfortunately are this ideas too rare. :(

However. I was thinking a while ago about this and that… and somehow I got the idea to sleep in the castle Buffavento. The castle is located in the Kyrenia mountain range, in north Cyprus. Here in the south are no castles at all. :(In the Kyrenia mountain range are 3 castles. St. Hilarion, Buffavento and Kantara. But the other both are controlled and you need to pay entrance. So it is not that easy to get in. Buffavento is abandoned. Nobody wants entrance and the castle ruinous slowly (it is the one in the worst condition). But it could be also because the way to the castle is the hardest. Approx. 30 minutes (more or less) climbing up the hill. The street and Buffavento on the mountain.

Therefore is the castle on the second highest mountain in the range and the view is just awesome. When there is a clear view then you can see the whole valley between the both mountain ranges. Inclusive Nicosia and even Famagusta in the distance. On the other side of the mountains you can overlook half of the north of Cyprus (with Girne ‘in front of the door’).

I was visiting the castle already in 2011 during my ‘I AM’ tour in north Cyprus and could remember the great view.

So, I had this idea. And I’ve known it will be amazing… Even I wasn’t sure if I can just sleep there (with tent). But hey… nobody is controlling it… so let’s try.

So, I went last weekend. Quickly picked up Bengi, a friend from the north. As pair makes life more fun ;) And we went to the castle. Somehow was the way longer than I thought. The street to there is also an experience to make. The street as wide as approx. 1 1/2 cars (small cars!)… on the right side rocks and left the abyss. But a great view on the side of the abyss… and I pray every time that no car is coming! …

But we arrived soon on the parking below the castle. We was just eating quickly a sandwich to get some power and then we got our backpacks done.
Of course I packed proper… all I need to remember. Tent, several torches, batteries (incl. my solar tank), warm clothes (for the night), sleeping back, a mat (because of all the small spiky stones… not good for the airbed), airbed, another thin blanket, 3 bottles of water, sandwiches, cookies, beer, first aid kit, tablet pc (for music), several cable… and so on. So, all we needed. And it was heavy. I would guess that my backpack was around 15 kg.

And then we started the walk, up to the castle. Unfortunately I had the way much shorter and easier in my memory. Bengi was gasping for air after half of the way and I took her bag as well, so she had just the backpack. But short after that also my legs started to hurt and felt like pudding. It doesn’t look that bad from down. But the way up ascends steeply and was wriggling through the mountain, which made the way even longer.

But then we reached… some when… the target. We stepped into the castle Buffavento. A 1000 years old building in which nobody was living for a long time (that is at least what I told myself) :)
And we would sleep here tonight. But first of all we had to climb 140 more steps, to the upper castle. Up here, in the highest building, we wanted to stay. From here we had the best view. :)

Girne in der NachtIt is hard to put it in words what we experienced up there. Starting with a stunning sunset (and I mean stunning), direct behind the mountains. It’s a feeling as you’re direct inside. The sky becomes Orange and everything around (and there is a lot around) is sinking first into the sunset then then slowly into the night.
The view up there is just amazing. You’re there direct on the mountain crest. Left is the valley between the Troodos- and the Kyrenia mountain range. In the middle Nicosia. And on the right side the north side of Cyprus with Girne and all the villages around. We had a clear view this night and could see until Famagusta.
And when it became dark, the world around us started to shine like fairy lights on a Christmas tree. Nikosia is a really big city (for Cyprus circumstances) and it seems like it is filling up in the night the whole valley. In the north is Girne spreading his lights. And from the sky the stars (it was almost new moon). That is a dreamlike atmosphere. And while watching it drinking a beer and talking about god and the world…. unforgettable moments.
Especially when you get always remembered that you are in a real castle, where earlier people was living. Now is it quite there, very quite. The only sound up there are the bells of goats and every some hours the Mosque.

Zelten in der BurgIt was a great idea to do that. Really, that are moments which are hard to explain to someone who have never been there.

The night became windy. Buffavento is named by the Italian Words buffa di vento… which means: “Defier of the Winds”. And it can be really windy up there… from all directions. But we had luck and the wind wasn’t that strong this night. And it came from the north, so we was protected by a thick wall.

We missed the sunset. :) But at 8 was the sun up and was shining on our tent and transformed it into an oven. After a few minutes we couldn’t stand it anymore and got up. In the right moment, because the first tourists came approx. half past 9 to see the castle. So, we got up in the right moment. :)

And because it was so great, I went this weekend straight again. This time with Hugo, which I forgot last weekend. And this time I was pant even more then last week. I always thought it will be easier each time… I think I was wrong. :o But it was the last time for now that I went up to Buffavento. Now is it time to get new ideas. Any suggestions? :)

And below a few picture of the adventure :)

Best wishes
Gordon

And a small video of a bit poor quality:

Visit at Lefkara

Hi together.

Today I was with a friend on picture tour. We went to the small mountain village Lefkara. It’s approx. 40 km from Limassol. With the car is it approx. 30 min to go.

The village is really special. Many people told me already about it… how nice it is, that artist live there and all the embroideries. Today it was time to go there.

Lefkara is located between Larnaca and Limassol. Almost exactly in the middle is a highway exit with McDonalds. This exit you have to take (but it is also signposted) and then in direction to the mountains. The second village is already Lefkara. You can’t miss it.

The village itself is separated in an upper and lower part. It’s around 500 meter above sea level and around 110 people live here.

It is famous for its embroidery and silversmiths. A legend says that even Leonardo da Vinci came 1481 to Lefkara to purchase lace cloth for the altar of the Duomo di Milano.

For sure is that this village is a special place on the island. I can’t really describe it, you need to see and feel it by yourself.

The village consists almost only of natural stone houses. The streets are very narrow (also for cars) and in many of them are flowerpots. The people are very friendly, which is maybe referable to the point that they want to sell their embroidery.

In some corners you can see some woman sitting together and they embroider together, on the street.

One alley was very interesting. It was approx. 1.20 meter wide. In the middle was a kind of bridge – which connect one house with the one opposite – above it. Under this bridge was a couch and a chair and even a painting was on the wall. I was afraid to walk through someones living room. But it was the alley. Really cool :)

After walking a while through this narrow alleys in this village, you realize one thing: Time carries no weight here.

Unfortunately are there also some abandoned houses (of Turkish Cypriots, which left them already before the war). They ruinous slowly but steady, which destroys the total picture a bit.

But anyway I would suggest a visit in the village Lefkara. It worth it for sure.

Also you can make beautiful pictures here ;)

I can’t say much more at the moment about Lefkara. Go there an have a look by yourself.

I will add some pictures below. Unfortunately I didn’t made much of the landscape and of the village itself, because I am at the moment more into macro photography :)

Best wishes

Gordon