Collection of Christmas trees

32101016575_4472940915_k-5If some of you remember then last year I was traveling a lot in December so I got to see a lot of different Christmas trees around the world. I can say that this year hasn’t been so much different. I have traveled a bit less but I’ve seen a lot of different trees.

I’ll start with my favorite. It’s actually from my home town – Rakvere. Few years back they started having innovative Christmas trees. First year it was built from wooden planks, last year from glass boxes and this year from metal and with gears running around. Although locals have been making so much drama about the trees then I think it is wonderful to have such trees in my little home town.

32062020956_7486882b2c_o-4I traveled in the end of November so I got to see some Christmas spirit in Zagreb, Croatia and Amsterdam, Netherlands. The tree in the main square of Zagreb is huge! They just started the big Christmas Market when I was there. As it was raining then I don’t have good pictures of it and it was also late so the best huts were already closed or at closing process. Also I really like the small tree in their airport! I just had to take a picture!

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The Christmas celebration in Amsterdam started in early December so I didn’t get to see the amazing tree there. But instead of that at least they had some really nice lights already out and I just loved them!

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Another tree is obviously my city – Tartu! It is always amazing! I just love it!

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31725715160_b936a9a51c_o-1And for the end will be my humble tree that we have at my parent’s place. It is nothing special, it’s plastic and actually already 18 years old. So it is just so dear to us and it is the only Christmas feeling I know I can count on every year. As my Christmas spirit was choked by working in a public place which means having to be in the Christmas decorations every day plus in the end listen to Christmas music for 2 weeks straight. And to top it all up then there was no snow this year for Christmas so only decorating our Christmas tree was the little spirit I had for the whole holidays.

Can’t wait to see what tree I can collect the next holidays!

Last Days of El Paso

IOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA have been delaying this post because I didn’t want those memories to end. The summer is long gone but I am still there in my mind. But as end of the year is approaching then I need to move on and get to my next travels also.

So one of those days we went to New Mexico again for horseback riding in the mountains. It was my first time ever without anyone else leading the horse and all by myself. Although it was still in a line and going slowly but my horse wanted to go faster. I can’t wait to go riding somewhere again. Same evening we also went to a place called Little Bit of Texas which is a country dance club. I just love this place! First time learning country dancing and also learned new line dances. I could have danced all night!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A day before the wedding we did some touristy stuff again. We went to the The National Border Patrol Museum. All this time and ways people have been smuggled to the States but they are still finding new ways! And things they have built! Museum is always about seeing so you better go check yourself the stuff they have there if you should ever found yourself in El Paso.

whatsapp-image-2016-08-08-at-1-05-00-am-46Now the most important – wedding of our good friend. The reason why we all gathered there with our friends. The last time I was in a wedding I was 8 years old and in Estonia. Now it was American-Mexican wedding in a church. So first of all, churches in America are not like telenovelas. It feels like you are watching a play on the stage although it is your friends up there getting married. Then to the reception people just gather on a random time. Who wants to eat goes earlier who just to congratulate and dance come really late. So we got some good Mexican food, some delicious  wedding cake and we took part of some wedding games. First time even trying to catch a bouquet! Didn’t catch it though. And we were dancing line dance in fancy dresses! To sum it up, I am so happy for the happy couple and this whole wedding was such a nice new experience!

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So on my last night we went to see the sunset one last time and it was just amazing! It was just so beautiful how those clouds were and how the colours of the sun were playing on them and on the city! It is something that even pictures can’t describe. You all know I love sunsets and as it was also my last day then really didn’t want it to end. But we can’t stop time so after that we went to hang out with our friends to get some last drinks and played few bar games outside.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEarly in the morning I had the flight away from El Paso. I would say “to home” but I had like 5 flight to home. I got good seats and one flight even in first class so I got to enjoy the clouds and views over different cities. Whenever I wasn’t sleeping.

So that was my whole summer basically. Just relaxing and enjoying my time because I knew when I come back home I won’t have time to relax. If you haven’t read other posts then check the last posts about El Paso. Also if you want to be updated when new post is coming up then follow me on Facebook. And if you want more photos of my trips or see more of my everyday life also then follow me on Instagram.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Downtown El Paso

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADowntown El Paso is not big. As it is hot then people don’t like spending their days outside so much. We went there during the day and we couldn’t spend over an hour outside. Most places have this refreshing water system so passing them was just a blessing.

The main square has a sculpture of crocodiles and as I’ve seen before then this little area is full of people in the evening when it is bearable to be outside. This little park/main square is surrounded by tall buildings. But same time they are the only tall buildings in the whole city. As America has so much space then they more build to sides rather than to heights.

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The next cool building was Plaza Theater which is an historic building. It really looks like this old style theaters which you see in the movies. And it is still operational today. They show various Broadway productions, musical concerts, and individual performers.

We still had some time on the parking meter so randomly went just on some street that looked more hipster-like and we just wondered to this sculpture that is for honoring the fireman.

Downtown is really small compared to other cities but as it is not some tourist place and so on then they don’t even need big skyscrapers.

Rose Garden & St. Patrick Cathedral

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs our friends also wanted to discover the city then we were going around “touristy” places in El Paso. I mean, El Paso is not a place for regular tourists. There’s not so much to see or do but there are still some cool things and some museum to see.

So one of our stops was to the Rose Garden. I can say that I didn’t even think that it was existing as we were in the desert. But it does exist, although as it was late in the summer then the plants were getting really dry and it was losing its beauty. The weirdest thing in this garden was the sun clock because it was under the tree. So how can you tell time if the sun is not shining on it?!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASt. Patrick Cathedral for Europeans looks like easy little regular church. For America it looks fancy and not an usual church as their culture there is a lot different. Inside was life size cardboard of the pope. So now I can say I have met the pope.

So if you should somehow end up in El Paso, then those two places are to check out. If it wouldn’t be so hot outside all the time then rose garden would amazing! So by any chance, it is better to go in spring when the temperature is still bearable and plants are freshly green.
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Reunion

Finally I am getting to the reason why I was spending my summer in El Paso, Texas. One of our friends, who was in Estonia last year in spring, was getting married. So our little group of friends were all invited to the wedding. It is amazing to have reunion on the other side of the world! Even now it still feels like it was just a dream.

So we all gathered together to catch up and went out for drinks. As our friend was having a lot of people coming to the town for his wedding also then we had bunch of people getting together. So we were re-telling all our cool stories and adventures and playing our favorite drinking game which somehow only works with our group. I’ve tried to teach to some other friends but it never is as fun as with our group.

So here’s the picture of our small group and then the part of the whole group together. Some already left. We were missing few people from Europe who couldn’t come there. But hopefully will be there for the next reunion!

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Marfa & Balmorhea, TX

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo another weekend we went to meet some S. friends and took his sister with us. Really close to Marfa is a little Prada boutique just to look in. It is a super small house. But as Marfa is artsy town and full of galleries and hipsters then it made sense to have this shop there.

Marfa is a small town so we were just walking through heat to different art galleries. I would say they were really from one wall to another. But mostly we had just a big question what those artist were thinking making this art and then what were galleries thinking of having them?! In the end of those galleries we went to one local bar to get some cold drinks. I just love this place!! It was so film-like and cosy and full of stuff, just stuff.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnyways, we were in luck because they were opening a new gallery or a super big exhibition house . So everyone joining the opening got free bbq meat dinner and drinks. Also there were mariachis playing music. Although it was sad that no-one was dancing to them.Before we were heading to Odessa where we stayed at our friend’s place then we went to see Prada boutique again as others didn’t see that before. The road to Odessa was long as it was late ans driving in the dark.
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next day we had 2 other joining us and we went to Balmorhea. There is the largest spring-fed swimming pool in the world. It is a bit expensive to get to the park but as you can’t go swimming outside in the desert then it was cool to go with such heat. For me the water was quite warm but I’m used to cold water in Estonia. Some went diving also but I more enjoyed just legs in the water and sun on my skin. I’m not so friendly with the water.

As this part of Texas is in the desert then there’s not so much to see but those few places are still incredible. Also I was happy to explore the city in another way. Not always just buildings.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gila and City of Rocks, NM

Our second road trip was to Gila National Forest which is close to Silver City, New Mexico. It is known for its Cliff Dwellings. The road there was so beautiful as we got out of the desert and into the mountains. Driving trough forests and over mountains.. Breath-taking!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs we had a storm just the day before then we couldn’t walk the whole hiking track to see the dwellings as the storm broke down some trees. So we could only walk on the one side of the cliff but at least we saw the main sights – the dwellings. It is actually amazing how people in the old times have build walls in the mountains and lived there. We had  a really lovely guide who had a lot of stories about people living there, most of them just assumptions but still amazing.

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The way back we made few stops to see the green views of the mountains. Living in Estonia the mountains are the thing I really miss and need.

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City of Rocks was actually right on our way to home, so we went to see it. It is not an actual city, it is called like that because of big are full of big rocks. It is best place to have adventures and climb the rocks and have fun! It has multiple camping and bbq areas. Also there’s a lot of Jack Rabbits. Not just a lot, the place is full of them! We had to drive so carefully trying not to hit any of them.
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On the way back home we were blessed with an amazing sky colours and a rainbow:

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Shooting and scenic drive

Oh wow.. I really didn’t have any motivation to continue my summer story but don’t worry, it will be finished! I am writing everything in advance to automatically post them after every few days.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So as I got to spend July 4th in America again then obviously I needed to celebrate it! A day before the actual big day we went shooting in the desert with some friends. Never forget ear plugs! We did and I am not used to so heavy sounds, so I got ringing in my ears even the next day.

So we were shooting some different shotguns and in the end regulars guns. Honestly, I have no idea about what kind of guns they actually are. It was just my second time shooting actual guns. But as it hurt my ears a lot then in the end I was just throwing clay targets.

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As we had regular gun with us and we had some full water bottles left then we took turns to shoot them. I tried also and I hit half of the shots I had which I am really proud of. Same time our friends had a really hard time to hit anything. They are really shotgun people.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Also one of those free days we went to the Scenic Drive. The city is a lot different in the summer. The city is in the desert but it had quite a lot of artificial greenery. I just love driving around and seeing the city. Even more going on top of the mountain and seeing the whole city. Right now being away I really miss seeing mountains everywhere!
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Carlsbad, NM

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs we had more time this time and it was warm and nice then we decided to make some road trips. Our first road trip was to Carlsbad, New Mexico. It takes 2 hours to get there from El Paso. On the way we had a stop to eat some snack and enjoy mountains.

Our main purpose was to visit Carlsbad Caverns. It is going 230 m deep (754 feet) and is huge to explore around. It has different “rooms” to go around and it is amazing!  It is a bit dark to make good photos without a professional camera but I have few to at least give some kind of idea how wonderful it is like there.

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As we were recommended to go down my elevator and walk back because of too much people, then our way back was really intense. We walked up over 30 minutes. I don’t even remember exactly. Close to the end we could see bats sleeping in the dark and where there was some light then there were a lot of sparrows or some other birds flying around. Seriously, a lot!

As we were tired and hungry then we went also to the town to seek for some food. As we didn’t know anything of this place then we just drove around and found place called Beto’s Tacos. Really good burrito what I got! Right before we started driving home we went by the park area and enjoyed some sun. On the other side of the river there were a lot of people  on the beach and next to it was a water park. Seemed like a typical Saturday.

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I got to drive back which was my first time driving in USA. The highways are super boring and there are a lot of truck drivers who are just falling asleep. Other than that it was nice to drive. As the road is mostly just straight then when driving with 70(110km/h) feels like driving with 55 (85km/h). And as you seen I’ve got used to American freedom system 😉

Road to USA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo yes, I have been away for a while again. I always think that I have more time when I am home but it is usually always the opposite. So I spent my summer in USA and I wanted to start from the beginning.

First I spent some time home with family celebrating the Midsummer’s Eve with grilled meat and had a bonfire during the sunset. And yes, the best meat is a bit crispy on the side and also my mom prefers a bit burnt, but it is still good burnt.
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So the next day on the way to Tallinn we made a stop in Viru bog. The weather was warm and sunny and perfect to walk trough the bog. A long road is with a boardwalk and has a nice view tower on the way. One the most beautiful bogs in Estonia that I have seen so far. Also you can go swim in those little lakes there.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next day we had a cruise to Stockholm to spend some more sisters time together before I went away. As we have been in Stockholm so many times then we are always trying to take a new route. This time we headed west of the city center, had a walk around the little island and went by the city hall.

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And then it was just around 30 hours of traveling to get to my final destination. I know it is long and I had so many airports but it was all worth it and El Paso is kind of middle of nowhere for the planes. So I went Stockholm-London-Chicago-Houston-El Paso. I had an overnight in London and that was a weird experience. First when last flights finally left I got a place to fall asleep. After a while security guys started waking people up and asking for nationality. Then they took as all away from the general waiting area and took us to one of the gate’s waiting areas. As all people staying overnight were there, then were some annoying kids screaming and middle of night they started asking for passports again. Finally in the morning we got back to the general waiting and then it was just enough time to charge my phone and get to my plane. WhatsApp-Image-20160627

And the coolest part was that as Chicago-El Paso was overbooked then they were looking for voluteers to get the later flight. As I didn’t have an exact seat number yet and I was last on the list then I got offered quite a big voucher money to get there few hours later. As I didn’t have all the tickets back yet then it was really good way to get better tickets back to Chicago.

And here’s a picture that describes best how we felt when I finally got there. I was really really tired and same happy and he was super happy.