My Heart All Over The World

When I set off to Chicago after visiting my folks I expected to see the sites, try some good food and hopefully come away with an appreciation for the Windy City. Nothing more and certainly nothing less. What actually happened was far greater – I forged new friendships with people I genuinely enjoyed being with. People I want to get to know better; who I want to visit and have visit me. We laughed, talked, goofed around and had fantastic camaraderie. I miss my new friends. And that is how it can be with travel. You can meet kindred spirits, those who truly become part of your tribe regardless of where they live in the world. Sharing that common experience and hoping to connect with one another at another place, another time.

With travel this type of connection does not always happen so I value it when it does. There were times on my big trip that I did not connect with people (yet enjoyed time by myself as a result). Other times I met people who were cool and we hung out for the day or weekend or week. It was like that was our purpose of knowing each other – doing stuff together while away.  We would get on okay though we were more like acquaintances. Then there were those who I know, over time, we could develop a good friendship. And finally, as mentioned above where those who we hit it off right away and we knew we kindred. And it’s all okay. I am grateful for all the people I have met, though the latter are the ones I think of the most. Heck, in some cases I’ve even seen them again. How cool is that?  In the end, I have friends all over the world and memories that have woven themselves into my soul. And that makes me smile.

St Patrick’s Day in Dublin 2015


Goofing around at 360 Chicago


When R visited

Half of the crazy Dublin crew

Small Victories

I ran down the stairs of one of Prague’s metro stations. I was heading to a Couch Surfing meeting at a pub in a neighbourhood that was best arrived by subway. As I descended the stairs I noticed that the ticket vending offices were closed since it was evening. Hmmm…so I will need to find a ticket machine. I spot one and walk towards it as I fish out some coins for my purchase. I look at the machine. Uh-oh…it’s all in Czech. “Of course it is Eeva, cause you’re in Prague!” In a small panic I look at the well-worn machine looking for English anywhere.  I don’t spot any. I look around to see if anyone can help me. A woman walks past hurriedly, too fast for me to stop to ask her for help. I turn back to the ticket machine. “Eeva, you can do this. You use transit all the time. Most machines are the same.” I sigh. “I can’t believe I’m giving myself a pep talk on how to buy a metro ticket.” My worry increases a bit and I am getting flustered. I look at the machine and it’s buttons. “Okay Eeva, you probably have to pick a ticket type, put the money in and a press the appropriate button. Most machines are like that. If it doesn’t work try again.” My internal dialogue is picking up speed as I am nervous. I am freaking out over a metro ticket! As I raise my hand to drop money into the machine my eyes glance downward. “What is that? OMG! English!!”  I found instructions in English in very tiny print. I start to read it and a smile plays on my lips “YES! You figured it out girl! Exactly as you were gonna do it!”  I buy my ticket and so want to do a happy dance on the spot. I figured out how to buy a metro ticket without needing English. The validation was sweet! I never realized how happy I could be for figuring out on my own how to buy a metro ticket in a foreign country with a foreign language until that moment. Every other time I was with someone else, had help from an employee or instructions were in English. Okay, yes the instructions were in English on this machine but I didn’t see them until after I tried (and successfully at that) to figure it out. Happy! Happy! Happy!  Small victories are sometimes the best victories.

The machine that initially eluded me.

The machine that initially eluded me.

Sunday’s Special – The Colosseum, Rome

As much as I like researching obscure and lesser known whereabouts (at least to me) to feature on Sundays, now and then it is good to post about famous landmarks around the world. Afterall, they are well known for a reason. Rome’s Colosseum is no exception. A truly stunning building that I was able to see a very long time ago and hope to see once again in the foreseeable future.

Started in 72 C.E. by Roman Emperor Vespasian, it took eight years to complete the oval amphitheatre with its eighty arched entryways and an over 50,000 spectator capacity. Under the rule of Emperor Titus the world’s largest amphitheatre was completed in the year 80 C.E. It was in use for centuries as a battleground for Rome’s infamous gladiators as well as used for chariot racing, battle re-enactments, and gruesome events such as executions of both people and animals.

Despite much of the building destroyed due to earthquakes and stone robbers of years past this ancient edifice boasts throngs of tourists and visitors hoping to glimpse a piece of history and stunning age-old architectural design.  Officially built as The Flavian Amphitheatre, it truly is a sight worth seeing.

Photo credit – Wikimedia Commons Public Domain by Kevin Brintnall

Roman Colosseum Rom

The Colosseum, Rome

Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons – Taken by User Cynageorge


The Colosseum at lit up at night

Photo credit – Wikimedia Commons Public Domain by Fubar Obfusco

Interior of Roman Colosseum

Interior of Roman Colosseum


HELLO! Greetings from India. I’ve been here a month and leave soon for Dubai. Here are some pics of my time here. I have seen Punjab, Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) and Goa. India has been a series of ups and downs. It truly is unlike any place I have ever visited and I have only touched the surface. I suppose a return visit is in order. The ups have been having Dempy (of Dempy Kaur Photography) as a travel companion (and interpreter), staying with her relatives in a Pubjab village, the home cooked meals, air conditioning and how inexpensive this country is. The downs have been both of us being sick (so horrible), heat that we are not used to and now the rains in Goa (this is the least “down” and I am going to enjoy it despite that). Also seeing such poverty amongst riches is trying and hard. I am not sure what to make of it. The poverty affects so much – the environment hurts, animals hurt and people hurt. They do what they have too. It is so different than what I know. Yet that is why I travel  – to see and hopefully learn.

Anyway, here is a bit of India:

Punjab town

The stunning Golden Temple, Amriitsar


Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur Sahib


Food at the Sikh temple

I am happy to count all the home cooked meals I had in India among the best food I have ever enjoyed.

Selfies at Wonderland Amusement Park

Display at Rangla Punjab Haveli

Traditional dancing show at Rangla Punjab Haveli

The yummy food at Rangla Punjab Haveli

Farming village in Punjab (animal foods are stored in these)

Farmland in the village I stayed in

Beautiful sunset in Punjab

Fresh cinnamon that is home grown. I had never seen such large cinnamon sticks before. They smelled amazing – so fresh.

This calf is so adorable.

The colours of India

A camel hanging around a parking lot in Chandigarh.

Display at the cool Nek Chand Rock Garden, Chandigarh

Mosaic statues, Nek Chand Rock Garden

Last sunset in Katana, Punjab

India Gate, New Delhi

India Gate Canopy

Chandni Chowk in Delhi. I didn’t spend too much time here as the rains came down hard.

The beautiful Taj Mahal, Agra

Taj Mahal from one of its many gardens

Rush hour in Delhi

Streets of Baja, Goa

Beach bar/restaurant in Baga

Baja Beach, Goa

Tourist shops and palm trees

All photos taken and owned by Wanders The World/Eeva Valiharju