A couple of days ago was a good day. That was the day for new adventures for Lars and I! We went on a mission to try our new snorkeling gear on the almighty beach of Rijeka – The Sablicevo Beach. You know the beach with the crystal blue water I visited last time, when I had my mental breakdown? Read the tragic story here. Anyway, this time around it was a blessed experience.
The water seemed to be even more clear this time and the water was at the perfect temperature. I even got Lars to join me, as he’s not the greatest fan of cold water. But yeah, it was amazing to actually spend time together in a different way. In other words, away from our computers. Hehe.
For me this day was the starting point to something I’ve wanted to try for a long time – freediving! And what I mean by a long time, is stalking other freediver’s IG accounts to the point it seriously wasn’t healthy anymore. So the mind-blowing thing happened at the end; why not.. try it?
Anyway, as I child, my cousin and I were constantly in the water during the summer, “pretending” to be mermaids and all that jazz. I also spent so much time with my family, and one of my closest friends, at the local pool back home. I could dive to 5 metres deep with no probs at all and could hold my breath for around 2 minutes.
My younger me is my biggest hero right now. Playful, carefree & explorative! Exactly what my life needs, and are some of the reasons why I’m going into this again.
Trying snorkeling this time was super nostalgic and it just came so naturally for me to be in the water again – and this time with my boo.
It’s simple, you just join a wine tasting and suddenly you’re 12 hours deep into a new friendship. That’s at least what happened to us. It could’ve been because we have just been lacking friends to talk to for 3 months, and anyone could’ve been a victim to our bla bla. But, I honestly can say that it was one of the greatest days I’ve had and it was because we just totally clicked with the people we met.
This wine tasting was a gift to my boyfriend, Lars the Winelover, for his birthday. Although, this wasn’t the usual kind of wine tasting. It was a wine tasting at a Medieval Castle in Chianti. Who doesn’t love a little castles and Medieval history to a bit of wine, right?
About the wine tasting tour
We met up in Florence and then we drove to a place called Trebbio. The place was just the most Tuscan place I’ve ever seen. A castle on top of one of the many Tuscan green hills as far as the eye can see, vineyards, olive trees and a red fiat casually placed next to a super Italian looking house.
Pazzi and wine tasting – what?
The whole experience started off with a tour around the castle, which by-the-way was owned by Medici’s enemies, The Pazzis, back in the days! We had no idea that our experience was going to involve us actually walking in one of the rooms where The Pazzis conspired against Medici’s power. Lars and I just looked at each other and had a moment of; holy scheisse, this gone be good. And it was amazing.
Though, the castle today is owned by some very “ordinary” people. It was bought by a duke as a gift for his wife back in the 60’s. Their grandchildren are now making this area into a Tuscan cradle. For me it was mind-blowing. Imagine growing up in a castle. A CASTLE. Their living-room was the Pazzi conspiracy room, like I can’t even.
Then the wine tasting journey took us below ground level and into the pits of wine.
The power of Chianti
We got an amazing introduction to the Chianti wine and how important it is to pronounce Chianti as Ki-anti and not Shi-anti. Otherwise you’ll be banned from Tuscany. And the Chianti God gives you alcohol poisoning even before you drink the wine. We also learnt about how important it is with extra virgin olive oil and got other tricks in the sleeve.
We also got a sneak peek of some wine from the early days, that no one is allowed to drink. I think Lars cried a bit inside, but we had to just give a teary glimpse on the wine and just keep walking.
An intimate wine tasting
Then our group was split up, where some people left on Vespa road-trip, and Lars and I, along with our two new best friends, went on a very intimate wine tasting. So yeah, it was four of us and we got super lucky to meet a couple from Down Under.
We got an amazing wine tasting, with different type of wine and some complimentary snacks from the area. Below you can see a very happy guide showing us some secret information about wine.
After the wine tasting we had some free time. Below you can see one picture of Lars, Mark and Tate, two of our new mateys. Or how they say it in Australia. Tipsy and merry, we just talked about everything between how huge corporations suck and the freedom of travels. We also met another couple from Murica.
After this amazing wine tasting in Tuscany, we drove back to Florence. Guess who was in the car together? Us, the Down Under couple and Murica couple. It hit me in the car that we are from three different continents and how amazing it is that we can just hang.
We also talked about the fact that Australia and North-America have only existed for a couple of hundred years. Sometimes I forget that it’s actually us Europeans back in the days. Tate also had some Swedish heritage in her DNA.
When we arrived back in Florence ready for more, we decided to go to a place where Lars and I once had a beer-date. On a bench.
We found some chairs this time and three beers later, the Muricans left. Yet, the four of us still weren’t done talking. So we ended up talking until 00, Lars and I missed the last train home and had to spend a spontaneous night in Florence. It was a good day.
The digital nomad lifestyle is not only about creating digital epicness to an awesome view over a Tuscan beach, it’s also about doing batshit crazy things. Like hanging on to your bare life, whilst you’re riding on the back of a former motorcycle World Champion – Troy Corser. See video below.
I’m not lying when I say his top speed must’ve been 250 km/t when we did the long wheelie that for me lasted 10 lifetimes. He also did some cute little tricks in the swings, like drifting with the motorbike. Yes, with me still on the back. I didn’t even know that motorcycles could drift. Like, don’t they just flip over and turn into a billion pieces?
Anyway, we survived. Proof on the picture below.
That day was me embracing my boyfriend’s digital nomad journey. How he combines his passion for motorcycling and living abroad. It is universal knowledge that Italy is blessed with some good motorcycle tracks and is also one of the reasons why we came here.
So yeah, I crashed the testosterone-party at Mugello Circuit, where he attended Race Academy. He learnt shitloads about motorcycling and I learnt shitloads about his world. Especially after I got the chance to try a pillon-ride with Troy Corser, “The Teacher” at Race Academy.
I’m truly grateful. I’ve always seen race motorcycling as men doing the “huga-buga” Silverback gestures, you know, thomping on their chest to show off their manhood. But, now I saw a different side to it. I saw a community with so much support and brotherhood. There is no: “Oh my God, look at him guys. Such a noobz.”. It’s people working for the same passion and having a mutual respect.
I also saw my man’s bravery, his drive and how he really is passionate about this. I have to say I got some extra butterflies in my stomach after this experience. So proud of you.
This experience has also learnt me another important lesson. It’s not always about me, me, me in relationships. Yes, I’m super spiritual and I have always had the belief that this motorcycle world is all about ego. So I have been fighting it. Fighting Lars. But, I see more love in this community. Even met a guy who is more empathic towards other human beings than vegans. Super blessed.
We stayed in Florence from Tuesday and until Thursday, hoping to avoid the crowd. What we found out was that early weekdays don’t apply on high-season to avoid the masses. The crowd is the same-same and the tourists are scattered everywhere.
You can either find your partner-in-crime and hide in a huge “I’m invisible and safe and all is well”-embrace or you can find cute little streets away from the crowd. It can be a detour if you’re on an A to B mission, but it’ll be the greatest detour of your life. Narrow streets, cute shops and yeah, less people. What’s not to like. See survival examples in the pictures below. Or you can choose the third option; be a vampire and move in the night.
In addition, we had to survive 34 degrees in full blown sun. There were points where we just “NOPE” and just had sacrifice some places and retreat to more silent places. We also have some more Florence travel hacks, just click on the “Florence travel hacks” field below!
Florence travel hacks
Google Map pins: Before you enter the cradle of Renaissance, then find your Google Map and pin all the places you want to see, the places you want to eat and so forth. With the crowd and some waiting in queues, it’ll make your life so much easier.
Firenze Card: If you’re going to spend more than 2-3 days in Florence, then this is your ace in the sleeve. It costs €89 for the Firenze Card, but it is valid for 72 hours, you can enter the majority of the museums for free, you get a priority access once in each museum (aka skip queues) and it has a lot of discounts to different shops and restaurants. I’d seriously pay the amount of money for the Firenze Card, just so I can skip the queueing! We walked almost straight in to the Galleria dell’Accademia, when people were queuing forever in 34 degrees and sun. Suckers.
AirBNB: If hotels are sold out or are too expensive, then we’d recommend staying at an AirBNB. If you’re also staying longer, you can find an apartment with your own kitchen, so you spare some dollars on not eating out.
Trenitalia: Can’t even find a decent and cheap place to stay in the middle of Florence? Find a place outside the city, for example Pistoia or Prato. From there you can take a train directly to Firenze Santa Maria Novella next to the old town. The train tickets are super cheap and you can find them here – Trenitalia.
Duomo: Ok, what we didn’t know was that one has to book a slot to come up to the infamous creation of Brunelleschi – The Dome. We had bought the ticket and then saw it was fully booked. So, buy the ticket and book it early here.
4 things to do in Florence Italy
Galleria degli Uffizi
If you don’t have time to go strolling and visiting all them endless gems in Florence, then Uffizi Gallery is the one museum you need to visit! It’s worth the queuing (although, if you have the Firenze Card you get priority access) as you can spend hours in there. It’s FYI considered to be one of the largest museums in the world. How about that.
Your eyes get the pleasure of seeing original creations from Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Caravaggio and many more. Totally a starstruck hive if you have a passion for art, history and culture.
Another tip; keep an eye on the opening hours, as the museum sometimes has opened during the evening and you get the place pretty much to yourself!
The Medici Chapel was an interesting and fascinating place. You could sense it was a space where death is welcomed with open arms. You enter the Chapel below, in the crypt, where the Medici’s remains are kept alongside sacred ornaments containing relics. Reliques in form of bones, pieces from human skulls and all that jazz.
When we went up the staircase, we were met by I sight that seriously took my breath away. Usually you see chapels and churches in bright white, illuminating the whole room. Although, the Cappella dei Principi (“Chapel of the Princes”) was dark and almost gothic in a sense. The stones used to decorate the chapel were dark green, brown, grey, with small golden and red details. All of it illuminated by the dome above.
Last, but not least, we visited The Sagrestia Nuova, designed by the great Michelangelo. We watched a documentary in beforehand and we already knew what was coming – Michelangelo’s subliminal mockery of the Medici family. Once a student, then a silent opponent towards the greedy Medici. As it was for the majority of Florentines back in those days. The statues of the Giuliano and Lorenzo weren’t as grand as they should’ve been by the book. Also, the statues representing Dusk & Dawn and Night & Day, were a symbolic meaning of the passing of time. As with the Medici family.
If you love astronomy, technology, science, compasses, time measuring devices, telescopes, globes, maps and all them kinds of goodies, like moi, then this is your heaven. It’s amazing to see how mathematics and logic could create so complex things, before our modern technology. Well, this was birth of the technology era, but it’s just mind-boggling to see how far they were already back then. All thanks to the father of modern science – Galileo Galilei. I can’t even figure out my phone.
I’d say that Galleria dell’Accademia is not worth the queue if you don’t have secret crush on Michelangelo’s David and if you’re not super interested in sculptures as an artform. I personally felt the grand David was the reason for entering this museum (yup, totally starstruck), as I’m too ignorant about sculptures. Mesmerized, but ignorant.
Although, I later learned that sculptures were one of the most expensive artforms back in the days and were often used to show an economic strength. In addition, in the New Testament, believers were called “living stones”, which gave the sculptures an additional – and symbolic – meaning. My point; don’t be ignorant and life will be more exciting.
Ok, let’s get back on track. The museum also had its own floor where you could admire old frescoes in gothic style. Again, not my cuppa, but maybe yours?
3 things to do in Florence Italy – when things get too crowded
Alright, back to avoiding the scary masses, which is basically an artform in itself. We found some more quiet places to visit in Florence, on the Firenze Card. Here are some of them below. You are welcome.
Museo Casa di Dante
Dante’s crib! We found his old house hidden somewhere in Florence. A bit lost at that time, but you’ll find it easily on Google Maps. I have to say I was expecting a bit more, being Dante’s house and all. But, just knowing it was there where he slept and pondered about the world – and Beatrice – made my whole experience.
Otherwise, it was more of a collection of information elaborated from Dante’s scriptures. Aka, it wasn’t always directly about him, but what happened during the time he walked the streets of Florence.
Museo dell’Opfificio delle Pietre Dure
No pictures taken from this little spontaneous trip!
This museum was a collection of different… stones and rocks. Being a rock collector myself back in my days when I was 5 years old, this was definitely was an extension to my rock knowledge. I also have a love for crystals as being spiritual AF, so it was a bonus applied to this experience.
All in all, an interesting little detour, which sparked a further understanding about how rocks and stones were used to decorate differents aspects of the grand life in Florence – and for the Medici family.
Bibiloteca Medicea Laurenziana
Barely any people, probably the smallest museum in town – but, damn it is beautiful. This was Medici’s personal library (like holy cow). What I’m about to say now goes against every fiber of my being, but I’d seriously consider becoming as greedy as a Medici just to get a library like that. The vestibule already had me on “I wanna become a Medici.”
Food wise, check these 6 vegan restaurants out in Florence! If you’re not vegan, doesn’t matter – you’ll convert to veganism the moment you take bite.
I will keep it short and sweet this time, and let the pictures do the talking. I’m totally fried right now after some months as a digital nomad and I’m still trying to balance logistics, expenses, travelling and most importantly my dreams. Anyway, Estonia spat me out with 3 infections richer – totally not Estonia’s fault – and here I am, lying back in my Italian feeling sorry for myself. I guess that was the last drop to say that I need to slow down.
Enough about me, more about Estonia! Estonia once more was an amazing reminder of how amazing my birth country is and how my roots stand strong. Blessed to have a family who is as “crazy” as I am aka free spirited, open-minded, empathic and who has a lust to discuss worldly matters. Fuck capitalism and live more, you know. Therefore, yet again, we talked until the morning, discussed deep things, patterns and layers in people and in our family and yeah, just bonded and made up for some lost time.
I also got involved with two exciting projects – was interviewed for a school’s magazine on how it is to be an Estonian abroad (met the interviewer randomly in Venice) and got a volunteer job at Let’s Do It!, which is an NGO fighting illegal dumpsites and trash globally. I’m really excited.
Now, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Tallinn – Modern City versus Old Town
Viinistu – A charming, harbour town
Tammneeme – My dad’s roots
Pärnu – My mum’s roots
I’m proud to be Estonian by blood, although I know I’m a globalist at heart. Despite this, I know my digital nomad a** will be back in Estonia at some point, where I also want to give this amazing, innovative, hard-working country a voice and help to lift up what we have lost so many times under occupation – the love for freedom, nature and our culture.
I sort of failed on my last minimalism travel to Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, because it went too minimalism! Guess I forgot that I have to be presentable some times.. especially when you’re in Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina with your best friend. Like, how many times can one reuse a tank top (the only clothing that is ish presentable)? Well, I’ll tell you, after three times you kind of don’t ever want to wear it again. But then you’re unlucky and have occasions where you have to look presentable at least good 8 days in a row. I did though, and I’ve learnt my lesson.
I’m on the bus to Copenhagen as we speak. Heading home to Estonia to finally see my family again after a year. I’m really excited, as we’re soon getting a new family member to our little Klan and of course to see my grandparents again.
This post will solely be to show my appreciation for Refuga, the guides and porters, and the people I met on our journey to Everest Base Camp. A special thank you for Refuga of course. The company that made it possible for me to get a step closer to my dream.
Feels like I’ve been away for a month, but I’m finally home now! Saying finally is actually pushing it, as I really feel sad for not being in Nepal anymore. How can one come back from a trip that gives you the feeling of meaning in life? Something that’s bigger than life itself and something that felt like home. Although, coming back made me understand even more that I belong out there.