A little village at the end of the world

There are special places that only exist in our memories. Places where our most precious childhood moments took place and that make our hearts sing and warm our souls. These places are so personal and intimate it like they almost don`t belong to this world, but are only a part of our personal universe.

This place for me is the little village where my grandparents had their farm. Where I learnt how to read and count, where I had my first puppy and kitten, where I was playing with our baby goats when they were only a few weeks old, the place when I met my best friend. A place called home. A place when I return as much as possible even until now. Even though I only return there in my thoughts. It used to have about 250 inhabitants when I was a child, now the number has steeply decreased to maybe less than 50. This is just a number and the place will never disappear as long as I exist. Because it lives through me 🙂

And where is your special place?

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30 Day Photo Diary: Day 8- A Story about family

I passed by their house during one of my walks and what immediately caught my attention was the warm laughter coming from inside. I normally don`t enter people`s houses without being invited, but this time just couldn`t help it and decided to “ask” (with gestures and smiles, as they didn`t speak a word of English) if it`s ok with them. They didn`t mind at all!

Something that will never seize to strike me is how genuinely welcoming and hospitable were people that I met in Kerala and how quickly they would open up and allow me to take their pictures. I was often offered tea and biscuits and asked to sit down and chat – the chat went with them asking questions in Malayalam and me answering in English. After that I would sometimes get flowers and almost always be invited to come back.

I am going to print the pictures and give it to them and to the rest of the families the next time when I go back. I am sure they will be surprised and excited to see them. And sharing these captured specs of happiness is the least I can do for these wonderful people.

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Good Old Vintage

I`m not a particular fan of second hand items and the idea of using/wearing something that belonged to a stranger. But on the contrary and more importantly- I just love beautiful things that are unique and I inspire me in a noncommercial way. I also love the “hunting” process and the feeling that I ran into something amazing that I wasn`t looking for and couldn`t have found in any other place.  It`s like a treasure hunt! And vintage markets can be full of such treasures if your eyes are opened enough to see them 😉

Ijhalen is one of the biggest opened second hand markets in Europe, opened for one weekend every month and an absolutely must visit place for anybody who is in Amsterdam. It’s a buzzing place, where almost everything can be found-shoes, clothes, jewelry, books, electronics, furniture, antiques.. Prices are mostly really low and could go even lower depending on your negotiation skills. But it`s so much more than just super cheap stuff-let me illustrate by sharing the discoveries of my last visit:

  • A pillow for my sofa  – 0.5 Eur
  • A leather belt- 1 Eur
  • “And other stories” sweater in a perfect condition in a nude colour that I`ve been looking for the longest time, but could not find because it`s “from last season”- was 7 Eur, got it for 5 Eur.
  • Absolutely beautiful handmade Italian notebooks- on the more expensive side – 2 Eur each.
  • Awesome cufflings with the logo of Amsterdam that are just the perfect gift – 15 Eur
  • And the most unexpected and awesome discovery- A set of three huge american painting textbooks piblished in 1964– 5 (!!!) Eur for all of them.

More info about the market can be found at: http://ijhallen.nl/en/

And some tips on how to get the best out of your visit:

  • Bring cash and small change- you want to spend all the time hunting for great deals rather than queuing at the ATMs.
  • Make sure you bring a backpack or some extra bags with you to carry your purchases. Things might get tricky if you decide to buy a coat or a huge pile of books (like I did) and the seller doesn`t have a bag.
  • Take regular breaks- looking at all these unrelated items could be overwhelming and you need a fresh set of eyes to spot the good stuff!
  • Make sure you put those negotiation skills in practice- it`s a part of the experience!
  • For early finds make sure you go on Saturday morning, and for great cheap deals – on Saturday.
  • Getting there by public transport is absolutely fine, but if possible go by car as you might be carrying a biiig pile of stuff on your way out.

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