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To da Land of Mountains, Zacuscă n Țuica

So yeah, It has been a while again since I last wrote something, It was in Ireland to be exact. To make sure the story doesn’t have a few empty pages let me nutshell the last couple of months for you.

Ireland was nice, and the Carriage project was interesting too, But due to unforeseen consequences I had to head back to NL which I did around Christmas. With the intention to stay for a couple of weeks and head to Wales somewhere in January things turned out to go completely different. In the end, the Project in wales got Delayed, I kicked back in NL until end February. Had a Roadtrip to Berlin with Brothas, Solo Hitch to Brussels meeting LT friends. Eventually I ended up on the road again, Thumbing East, Onward to Transylvania! Let me tell you how that went, I have to pre-warn though. not much pictures have been taken due to being in the moment and thus its gonna be a boring lecture of text for your amusement.

Adam Sunset

NL sunset, before I left. Amsterdam in the Horizon

Its Monday, the 29th of February. The journey started with a ride from my mother and her partner, She had a day off work and offered to help me on my way and drop me at gas station. Even though the intended gas station was around Utrecht, Due to missing it, a closed gas station and construction stuff we ended up in Arnhem. I got my backpack, we said our bye’s, the usual selfy stuff and off they went. I turned myself 360degrees and noticed a German plate. I approached the dude who just arrived at his car. He was heading just beyond Frankfurt and agreed to take me with. Awwyeah! what a great start! Waiting time: 3 minutes

Mister used to be a Lawyer, but due to being in the 60s he is now working as a notary. He has a boat in Harlingen, every once in a while, he drives from Frankfurt to Harlingen, this time because his boat needed to chance harbor. So he went to the Northern Netherlands to find a new place for his boat.  He was quite open to the whole Natural Building concept and actually knew of some interesting places and Traditional building techniques in Germany, We discussed multiple subjects until we reached Frankfurt.

He slowly drove away, while i’m working on my shoulder straps of my backpack to get them in a comfortable position I’m also scouting all nearby plates. No Romanians yet, ah well. I approached the nearest dude, his trunk was open so I couldn’t see his plate. very soon it became quite clear he was a Dutchman. A Dutchman living in Switzerland. He offered me a ride to Basel, not exactly my Direction. Though Switzerland is, and the Dude seemed pretty cool I friendly Declined. I walked towards the Trucks, the first truck was a Czech. He said he spoke a little bit German and he seemed to understand that I wanted to go in the direction of Nurnberg. He didnt seem to like talking via the window though and told me to come in the cabin to check the map. Even though his German wasn’t as great as it seemed. He agreed to take me to Nurnberg.

The ride wasn’t that special. Due to our language barrier and both our lack of German vocabulary it was mostly quiet. We drove and drove at an easy pase of 90, Occasionally 70 due to the snow and wind. At some point he had to take a 45min break, where he started making coffee. I made a picture of him making coffee, So there will be at least a little bit of Visual experiences to this post eh.

I asked for Permission, No he did not look so Mad all the time :))

I asked for Permission, No he did not look so Mad all the time :))

Around 20:00 he dropped me at an Autohof just beyond Regensburg. That is when hitchhiking seemed to be done for the day. All truckers were getting ready to sleep, the autohof guy assisting the truckers didn’t seem to like my presence to much, nor were there any other cars. The autohof was quite far from the highway you see but 8pm is a bit to early to go to sleep. I waited to see what happened. Not much later a Belgian plate entered the gas station. A long haired bearded dude got out, in dutch “A very good evening, I don’t suppose you are heading to Austria are you?” he started laughing and said: no, Thats where I just came from. But damn dude, your on a real shitty place man. I agreed, but what to do, it was just the way it is. Meanwhile we started talking about some random things and thats where the magic happened

“You know what dude, I’ll bring you to the next Gas station directly next to the A3 towards Austria. I know I’m heading in the other direction, but its only about 15km back. Its fine. Hop in!”

Such a random act of kindness, I have had similar things happen to me in the past two years, These Random acts of Kindness. Although sometimes I feel really bad about accepting them, It became quite clear to me that I should simply not. For these people that offer these random acts of kindness do this out of good will. It makes them happy to help a brother out, like with food. I often get offered food, Most of the time great food, but sometimes food that I simply don’t eat. If this is the case I try to decline one time, if they accept great! if they don’t, basically I just accept the food. For I will simply pass it on to another person  I will meet on the road who would love to accept said food.

The ride was short indeed, But the chat was Great. We even chatted for a while arriving at the gas station before he went on his way onward to Belgium. The Gas station was much better also, Super crowded, lots of cars. It was somewhere between 22/23.00 But besides that, Romanians!!!! and 4 of them just waiting for me to take me with! Oh boy was my mind going nuts, Imagine finding a ride through the night all the way. 2 of em were people my age, pretty cool and friendly But sadly both vans full with tons of people. One van wanted to bring me, but due to lack of a girdle on the passenger seat and scared of risking a ticket in Germany he didn’t want to bring me. The last van had 2 dudes in em besides that completely empty. He seemed friendly for we talked a bit in Romanian. But in the end he didn’t want to take me for I didn’t have any money to pay for the ride.

Though luck! Still luck was on my side that night. Earlier I noticed a Hungarian Van. I wanted to speak to him but he was on the phone so I left him alone, he noticed this. I went back to him about 30 minutes later, he was still calling but this time he asked me “Whats up man, where are you going? Budapest I replied. Ill take you to Wien he said. meanwhile he gave me his phone, He was talking to his sister who lived in The Netherlands for about 4 years, so I had to speak some Dutch with his sister.

The dude was hilarious, It was getting late and my memory didn’t register everything, for example his name but he was constantly popping jokes. Mostly jokes about Romanians and Hungarians. Some of which I found amusing, some of which I didn’t. He is a bike mechanic most of his days working in the workshop, but every once in a while he needs to get out. that’s when he drives his Van through Europe and delivers stuff. He didn’t have a wife or kids, He was just a happy single dude going through life. Around 02:00 we were close to Wien, he was supposed to take a right somewhere before all the crazy intersections. But that last gas station was really bad and he didn’t like it so much. This hilarious dude moved out of the way to help me on my Journey, He drove to the start of the A4 which leads to Budapest, The first Gas station was big and full of sleeping truckers, restaurants and stuff. great place to find a ride. Not as great to sleep though..

There were fences all over the place which is not that much of a problem. The problem was that behind those fences all you could see was grass. no trees or bushes or anything nature-ish to Stealth my tent. Besides the wind was blowing like crazy, really crazy. It was sure I wouldn’t be using my tent that night. I had to think of something else. Walking around the property there were barely hidden spots or corners free from wind or sight. There was this recycle station though, some crates stacked, these big compressor containers for cardboard and stuff and an automatic light. Seemed fine to me, The greatest thing was, it had walls around it except for one side so most of the wind was blocked. I found myself some cardboard to cover the dirty floor, and tried to get a couple of hours of rest behind said containers.

I wasn't in the mood for pictures of my 5star hotel. but Here a Gmaps of the Recycle station highlighted in Red.

I wasn’t in the mood for pictures of my 5star hotel. but Here a Gmaps of the Recycle station highlighted in Red.

Yah, well, With the draft still coming in on occasion, Me freezing my ass off even though I was wearing everything I had and also every hour or so an employee throwing away stuff, activating the light. Not much rest was had. At 05:00 I was fully awake and wandering around the gas station, hoping to find a Truck towards Buda or Romania. it was about the time the truckers wake up anyway, sadly non of the 30 Truckers I asked that morning seemed to go in my Direction. An hour passed when I noticed another Belgium plate. I walked up to the car and said to the guy: “Flemmish, Dutch, France?” …. silence … “Romanste!” he replied. Whooohooo! I threw my best Romanian into play. Romanian was the only language they spoke anyway. They agreed to take me to Deva. Yup! all the way. and gues what? Fara Bani!

In the van were 2 dudes and a woman. She was sleeping on the back seat but they woke her up so I could fit in. Initially we had a bit of a chat, My Romanian is not perfect but I can do small talk, Explain who I am, what I do etc. Besides I understand a fair amount to make oke conversation. After an hour drive or so the woman and one of the dudes started sleeping. Usually I try not to sleep when I Hitch, I want to be aware where i’m going and its a bit rude towards the driver taking you. With some 700km still to go and 50% already sleeping I took my chance, I had a great couple of hours rest. All fresh! That afternoon at about 14:00 we Arrived in Deva. The only thing was they dropped me Before Deva due to they had to take another road. While walking to the other side of Deva to find a better hitch spot, I passed the train station of Deva. There was a train going to Cluj in one hour. That’s when I realized If i’m gonna walk the rest and try to hitch the last 200km, I might not make it tonight. 200km on Romanian roads basically means about 3 to 4 hours of driving depending on how crazy your driver is. Besides, when it gets dark, its gonna get very Hard. So I figured, Lets take the last bit with the train, allows me to read a bit, relax. and be 100% sure I will arrive in Cluj before midnight.

So yeah, the Train ride was supposed to take about 4 hours. Romanian trains eh, they take their time. Luckily there was a Romanian woman sitting next to me, she liked to talk. A LOT! So instead of reading my book, I basically had a 4 hours conversation until arriving  in Cluj one hour late :)))) She was actually pretty cool and told me lots of places to go, visit, etc. It was fun!

When ya happy and ya Hitching have a jump!

When ya Happy and ya Hitching have a jump!

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Inch Bofin Carriages

Rain, Wind and Rainbows, Wooosh, Woooosh. Rakatakataka. The sounds of the Rain falling on the roof of the workshop is wonderful. Rain never bothered me that much. Though I have to admit, after a month of mostly Rain and Wind it gets you somehow. Beautiful sunsets are rare, simply because most of the time its way to clouded and taking a hike when wind is blowing you out your shoes making the rain feel like stones being thrown at you has its charms, yet it makes staying next to the fire and spend the weekends inside much more charming. Anywayz. Besides the somewhat saddening weather, Working on the Carriages with Franky has been great!

The first week I had to get to know the Workshop a bit, but work was in abundance. He is currently working on a Handsome Cab. Its one of those old skool Carriages used as cabs, It gets drawn by one horse, with the maximum of two passengers. The driver sits high in the sky on the back of the thing. My first job was to add some Trim, Trim???? No were not a barber. With Trim we mean the profile on the edges and corners. I had to get used to this word too, for I would usually say Profile. yet here its called Trim. So trimming I did! Afterwards I had to join some mitred profiling on the inside of the doors, A bit of filling and sanding of gaps and joints etc. Nothing fancy.

Carriages are not all about wood, there is actually quite some metal involved, This particular project has a metal frame with mostly plywood attached to it, (which is not that common) yet there was a lot of metal work to be done, from Ornaments used for the ropes. to the rails on the edges, bends for the shafts etc. I don’t have that much experience with metal work, never could have imagined how Franky handles dem apples. Fire is what we needed, Metal should be glowing red for it to bend properly! we lit the fireplace in the workshop. Just a fire is not enough, it needs air. Franky grabbed a Hairdryer, a big brick and placed the hairdryer in front of the fireplace. That will do!
After some time he took out the metal, hold it here and hit it there he said. We were supposed to bend the thing in a spiral. A big metal beam in a block of concrete just outside the workshop. It had some bolts and shapes welded onto it, Holding it in one of the shapes and a couple of hits from Thor’s mighty hammer it became a spiral alright!

After some more heating and hitting we managed to get the Spirals somewhat similar! Meanwhile I worked some more on the carriage and trims. The next step was to make an U bend to connect the Shafts to. This would eventually become the thing that goes around the horse to pull the carriage. With some spare plywood I found I had to make a bending mold. Afterwards I worked some solid wood into laminates. We didn’t have proper space to do the bend though. “Go to the chicken coup, behind it is a door. just fixate the bending mold on the door, that will do” he said. It was a Magical day, for it wasnt raining. I placed the door on some iron supports and attached the mold to it.

It had been a couple of years since I bent wood. But the theory was still somewhere inside that grey mass above. The most important thing I remember was preparation!! I checked all the Laminates, the glue, the strap, clamps, holes. Everything seemed to be just fine except for the lack of clamps. With some improvisation to solve said clamp problem and managed to bend the thing. Not perfect, but acceptable! With the help of a Japanese draw saw, the chisel and the plane I made the halfwood joint to connect the shafts to the Ubent.

With that done it was time to get the thing connected to the carriage. We leveled it and placed it in the right position on some bricks. While Franky was busy bending and welding the three metal parts needed, I did some small work attaching the torch holders, whip holder etc. The windows at the front had to be attached to. The window consists of two parts, one with hinges connected to the roof that can flip up. the second part needed some custom made metal hinges that connect it to the side of the carriage. I calculated the angle, cut, drilled and bent the small metal parts and attached them. a little adjustments were made, it worked just fine!

looking good so far.

looking good so far.

The shafts need reinforcement, with the help of the mold we used for the bending the local blacksmith made us some metal reinforcements. all we had to do was to fit them properly and drill the holes. We added metal on the bottom, top and back of the shafts. then drilled them through and fixed the bolts.

To complete the thing we add some handles with some flexiply and the spiral thingies we made earlier. The spirals are for the ropes of the driver to steer the horse.

Bofincarriage3

Lovely

I cut off all the extending bolts, we sanded whatever needed sanding, Voila si Gata. There was only one problem, The carriage didn’t fit through the door…… At first I laughed, then I cried! We had to take off the shafts, the metal parts connecting shaft to carriage and also the back seat. That wasn’t as easy as expected for the springs the carriage was resting on were perfectly in the way. With some hitting and pulling we managed to get the seat of, meanwhile destroying half of the thing :)))). Anyway, with all the things removed we tilted the carriage on its back with the front pointing upwards. which made it fit through the roller shutter. Outside we reattached all things, restored the damage that was done removing them. Result:

Handsome Cab, de la Inch Bofin

Handsome Cab, de la Inch Bofin

Working on the the Carriages is nice, something different then usual even though the materials related to this particular carriage, (Plywood), is a bit boring. The place itself is alright Lots of space, lots of mud, lots of horses, In the garden we have quite some Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, different herbs and Turnip TURN-UP TURN-UP! ready for consuming. Its a bit different though then the places I have been staying at for the past two years.

Franky, he doesn’t like silence that much, in the workshop its the radio brainwashing us with the same shit everyday: Justing Bieber and Adele songs 10x a day mostly, srsly, I go to sleep and wake up with those Damn Radio songs in my head HHNNNGGGG. Besides that whenever he enters the kitchen or living room the TV goes on, throwing all this Terrorism, death and destruction and Commercial bs at us. Luckily I have the power to shut down said TV or Radio whenever he is not around :D. We work 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, the weekends as you wish. Which is alright, Everybody has its own thing. For me though, I have been avoiding these things.  Its as if i’m walking this middle line with both side pushing and pulling me of sorts, On the right side things related to my old life which I’f been trying to avoid, Media, Structure, Repetitiveness. On the left side, Freedom to do as I wish, Woodworking, Organic home grown Vedgz, Home made stuff(Bread,cookehz,Peanut butter,chutney) Its hard to describe really, how this place makes me feel on occasion.

In any case, I’m learning new things about carriages and metalworking which is great! So ill make the best of the time I have here. Winter has not even started, yet the year is almost at an end. Spring is around the corner. Time flies! With the blink of an eye ill be thumbing again!

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PS : I bake cookies now. Behold a few of my Creations!

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Spring Awakenings

I have awoken from my winter sleep, yeah I know. I haven’t been blogging much the past months, this obviously because i was sleeping! The truth is, winter wasn’t so bad as i had expected it to be, there was allot of snow, ice and coldness, but it didn’t get much below -10. we did some work on the inside of the house, a bit of claying and upgraded our fireplace. making plans for the kitchen etc. but mainly winter was a period of rest, eating and sleeping! To put the special occasions in a nutshell: I spend Christmas in Vilnius together with Rasute and she invited a friend of hers Aiste. we ate Traditional Lithuanian Christmas dinner. There are quite some Traditions involving Christmas, not gonna get into it in this post. but the main thing you should know. is that they prepare 12 non meat dishes, and everybody should eat at least a bit of every dish, we made them all our self’s. and the 3 days after Christmas we ate from the same food we made for Christmas eve. It was awesome.

Due to the fact that Aiste is a wonderful woman, and she invited me to join her for New year in Kaunas, I spend new years eve in Kaunas. I initially intended to go to Vilnius, but i haven’t been to Kaunas before and i figured it would be nice to get to know this city also. New year was quite the experience, for Lithuania was Covered in mist. We went to this mountain, which has a panorama view of Kaunas. but when the fireworks started we could only hear the Bangs as if WW3 just broke lose. We ended up running back to the Old town(or city center) where we managed to see a bit of fireworks, but visibility was very low. somewhat sad for i love fireworks and i didn’t see shit really, we spend the rest of the night wandering around the city, checking out some river sides and raided every children playground we could find while not trying to break anything on the icey paths.

But back to Spring!

CIMG1177 Whoohoo, Its here! snow disappeared some time ago and in the past 2 weeks we had quite some nice weather. Thus i was busy sawing planks again working on the front entrance of the house. last summer we cleared the old yellow planks, then build up the straw clay walls and finished them with a lime layer. now i’m making the roof bargeboards and adding planks to close it all up. the sides look like this now <-. the right side is closed till the roof, but i wont make more pictures until i finished both sides.

We burned through allot of the wood we had gathered this winter, we have some left for this summer. but we need to restock wood if we want to be able to survive next winter. so that’s what Bas has been doing mostly, cutting down trees from our forest and moving them with the help of our Horse, were also scavenging wood from next to the road. for this time of year allot of trees gets cut or trees that got blown over due to winter winds, but they leave it laying besides the road. Which is such a waste, so then we take them instead. also, sooner or later the stairs to our first floor will be made. so Bas will use one or two trees to support our new stairs, therefor they have to be removed of bark and stocked somewhere to dry.

Against our expectations some of the limestone layers we applied last year, didn’t have enough time to dry properly. also there was a period early winter where we had rain, then frost and snow. then it would melt and rain again, then frost etc. due to the weather the part of the walls low to the ground started to absorb allot of moisture, with the freezing and melting it started cracking. its a shame really. but due to these developments we decided to finish the house in a wooden layer similar to the front entrance. to save some time and be able to finishing the outside of the house this summer. to do this wood is needed, with our connections we bought a nice batch of wood, Pine wood to be exact. Freshly cut from the trees around our area and freshly sawn by the nearest sawmill. the truck dropped it with its crane, so we had to stack it properly so it can dry enough for us to be able to use it. I love the smell of fresh cut pine wood, its so sweet. also your hand get black and sticky due to the resin, which stay for about 2 or 3 days.

We stacked all the fine boards but there are lots of boards with mostly bark on them, (you get all of the tree you know) those aren’t qualified to be used for the house, so we decided to use them to build a new floor for our firewood stacks. This winter there were quite some times when either rain or snow got blown onto our dried firewood. and it was really annoying. also the current floor was not leveled either, and those barky boards are strong enough to make a reasonable floor. so we started taking out the wood and constructing the new floor, then we gathered some old wood from previous years to make the sides. Now our firewood has enough cover not to get all soaked by a rainfall or snowstorm.

Friday 20/3 was the Solar Eclipse. we were working outside and enjoying the lovely weather, it didn’t get dark here but we tried to check it out making a hole in cardboard and projecting it onto another piece of cardbord. which worked somewhat. i knew it for quite some time, but still i didn’t prepare for it well enough to be able to look at it and see it happening. it was a nice afternoon anyway. and Aiste managed to make this picture of the eclipse!

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

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Winter is Coming.

Slowly the weather is turning, last week was actually doable, but the week before. Osnap. it started freezing at night like crazy. Every morning there were big layers of ice in our buckets and wheelbarrows, getting thicker and thicker. When you feel like adding some more clay, you suddenly realize that all the clay is frozen and almost unable to use. It was an exciting period. For i was spending the time here alone. Basz had to go back to NL for a while.

In school they teach you to calculate, teach you to write and read. try to teach you rights and principles obviously only useful for living in the System. But they don’t really teach you how to grow food, And especially not how to keep warm in cold weather except for maybe the occasional. “put the thermostat on 20°” So for me this was an exciting time. For i had to figure out how i’m gonna be able to keep this house around the 20° while its freezing outside, this is something i know how to do in Theory. But obviously Theory is something different then actually doing it. Indeed we have a Rocket mass heater, and a nice cozy fireplace but my lack in experience was to great. I generally woke up around 10°, yup. thats dang cold. So then I would fire up the rocket stove for the rest of the day, but nope. I was doing something wrong and couldn’t get the house above 15°. Luckily i have sweaters, and my Desk where i spend most of my evenings is almost in front of the fireplace. You guessed correct, after dinner i would light the Fireplace until i went to sleep to keep me warm. only to wake up in 10° the next morning to try solving this mystery once again. I can remember very well, this one evening after cooking some Delicious Macaroni for me, myself and I realized the living room was actually 17.4° What a great feeling. I beat the 15° (“Euphoric state of mind Busting dance moves all through the living room on my extremely awesome Beat-full musix FYI: Brock Berrigan“). Luckily after 6 days, it stopped freezing. and weather turned back to “”normal”" between 4 and 7° outside. I gave up on heating the house though i kinda got used to the colder temperatures in the living room, and felt like wasting shit loads of wood. In the end, after dinner I would spend my time close to the Fireplace anyway and wouldn’t be aware of the 13° living room temperature.

I think the point i’m trying to make is, That for the first time leaving da “City Slickers Life” and spending 2 weeks alone here @IzReal, I started to realize what things have to be done daily to keep general things comfortable in this kind of lifestyle. obviously temperature of the house is one of them, No thermostat you can turn up or down whenever you feel like it. If its cold you gotta chop sum wood and burn dat shit. Chopping wood daily was actually something i really enjoyed. I would do this most of the time when the sun went down. so i could Enjoy chopping wood, While watching the amazing painting the sky drew for me with its beautiful colorful sunset.

Or for example thinking ahead a vew days, because if the clay is frozen due to not storing it inside, you cant use it or continue your work the next day whether you like this or not. Same for the water well, water comes through the hose, so if you forget to hang it low in the well it would freez. happens a vew times…. Cooking was not really a problem, normally you have to think about other peoples belly’s, and have some dinner done at an appropriate time. but these 2 weeks alone were amazing. I just started whenever i felt a little munchies and made what i was in the mood for. Then i would make enough food for 2 people. so basically i ate the same stuff for 2 days. then cook again for 2 days and so on.

What i also came to realize in these 2 weeks of solo time at da IzReal is this simple things as loneliness//boredom. I remember when i told some friends about my plan to Hitchhike through Europe searching for Ecological/sustainability projects by myself they though i was crazy. Not only because of the supposed “dangers” hitchhiking would bring me, but also because of Loneliness and my lack of good social skillz. The big difference is. when you hitchhike, you meet new people, lots of them every day. You talk to them, you give them your story, in return they give you theirs. some are interesting some are not so much. Some invite you to join them for a vew days,(like the 2 Belgian dudes i spend a vew days with in Berlin) Some you will never see again. When you are alone on the road, you have to talk to people whether you like this or not. and by doing so all these awesome things happen, simply because you surrender your self to them so you allow them to happen. This is why i didn’t feel lonely or bored at all while hitchhiking.

But then you spend some time all by yourself, on a 5hectare land, kinda isolated from lots of people and cities. and basically don’t really talk to anyone in real. For i had everything i need and no reason to leave this place (which i actually really enjoyed) I just noticed that at the Fridays and Saturdays, I actually felt weird for a while, i’m not sure if it was just Boredom, or Loneliness. i just had this craving to do something, go somewhere. meet people. Socialize. Hang out with some peepz i know in V-City. Yet i didn’t feel like randomly driving to Vilnius for an hour, go to a bar and socialize… This probably because Ausra has left the country, and i cant call her anymore to crash at her Couch so easily:( So instead i skyped with my brothers and played Dotehz. forgetting all about this weird feeling:)))

Of course some work has been done also. The front portal thingy is closed now, not finished for sure but definitely on its way. Here some Before and,,, Well not exactly after, more like an in between. pictures

and the entrance on the pantry side has been made. Massive heavy door dang.

A random Autum Sunrise for you enjoyment below here. and 2 pictures of some really interesting trees i made when i made a little walk through the woods and surroundings before the leaves were all gone.

Also
Did you know that in Lithuania it is tradition to honor your ancestors every first weekend of November? They do this by visiting there graves and light candles on them. i got recomended to check out a cemetery at night, so i did. and it amazed me. i have never seen something like this before. Lithuanian graves are very well taken care of and seeing so much candles really made a big impression.

Basz haz returned today, so things instantly turned crazy again, also soon were gonna have some new visitors. A dude from Italy, and some people from England, who will hang around for a while and help around.

Molis ir šiaudai, Tai ko jums Reikia!