The time for us to leave Ethiopia has come. With cheer in our faces we boarded the airplane and I sat, this time, on a window seat, staring through the glass from the very take off. Immediately after, I pointed her Entoto, and commented our walks in search of hyena holes. Few minutes later, we swiftly flew by the Nile canyon with its ancient Portuguese bridge, laughing about the cheeky baboons encountered on its slopes. Following, the wondrous Blue Nile Falls appeared underneath, and we recalled the involuntary showers during our picture session. Gondar’s castle came across our view, and nearby the Fasilades bath, where we experienced the unique Timkat celebration. We were having the trip of our lives and the aircraft took a sudden right turn, that provided us the opportunity to admire again the incomparable rock hewn churches of Lalibela and Gheralta. We crossed the Afar region and veered left over the old town of Harar, our favourite civilizations crossroads and most adventurous destination for historical travellers, poets, and spies. But the pilot did not have enough of Afar and returned to its most Northern point, where we flew in slow motion, recalling our last visit to the lava crater volcano of Erta Ale in full moon. Later I spotted the beautiful red rose in the Danakhil salt lake that she planted with her own blood and I watered with my tears, the one we named Aleksandra. I was so excited to see it that I kept repeating her:

– Look, it is our rose, it is her!

But she never responded. I did not mind, because I knew that from the end of that flight she would have the rest of my life to show me the beauty of the North.


Kristiina Juutinen

6 Jul 1980-15 Feb 2014


February 15, 2014


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  1. Nigina says:

    Dear Roberto
    It is a beautiful way to say it. And an amazing picture. This is how I will remember her – free spirit, daughter of the wind.

    For the rose. For Kristina . For you.


  2. manila6 says:

    Nigina, Kristiina’s family would like to read your beautiful lines in her funeral, on March 15. Would you allow them to quote you?

    Warmest regards,


  3. Nigina says:

    Dear Roberto

    There is fairy tale… About the snow-child… A child of the wild wind and snow, living in the woods, loving freedom. One day she falls in love. And her love is bigger than anything, bigger than the world. And decides to settle, to “leave the woods”, for her love, for her baby. But she melts. And her spirit goes back to the snowy woods…

    When I knew about Kristiina, I thought about the snow-child. Same free spirit, same desire to travel the world like a snow-flake. Visiting more than 70 countries, she had a list for many more. But she decided to stop. For her love. For her baby. But can one stop such a free spirit? She “melted”, flew away to the wild, in the middle of the place which really wanted to visit. She probably had a reason to go there. May be she knew something we don’t? She among us now. Forever…

  4. Hilkka says:

    Dear Roberto. I am terribly sorry for your loss. I was lucky to spend some time with Kristiina in Zambia many years ago and have cherished the memory of our days together as a source of inspiration. She carried such an urge and determination to discover the world – and a sense of humour that made me miss home (Finland). I would like to send a message of condolences to Kristiina’s family, too. Could you please advise what is the best way to contact them? Thank you and, once again, I am deeply sorry for your loss.

  5. Francesco Fresi says:

    All my sympathy Roberto… I am speechless… Un abrazo muy forte, hermano.

  6. Isabelle Emcke says:

    Dear Roberto,
    I wanted to send you my condolences. I knew Kristiina in London, we studied Spanish together and then lived together in Charlton house for a couple of years. She was such a special person, her sense of humour fantastic. She is badly missed but lives on in our hearts. It is wonderful to know that she had you as a partner and that the memorial fund was set up to continue her legacy. All the strength in the world to you, her family, and everybody whom she loved and who loves her.
    kind regards,

    • manila6 says:

      Dear Isabelle,

      Thanks for your condolences and support. Her family and myself are squeezing strength from this project and it is helping Dani, but as well ourselves. Kristiina is with us.

      Thank you,

  7. Francesca says:

    Caro Roberto, ti vorrei fare le mie condoglianze e dirti coraggio per il dolore che ti ha colpito. ci siamo trovati, Kristiina, tu, Pep e un gruppetto simpatico di amici di Chiara al suo matrimonio, un anno fa. Ci era piaciuto chiacchierare con voi e Kariina ci era parsa una persona dolcissima. E’ difficile dire altro. Ti abbraccio forte, Francesca

  8. Pep Agut says:

    Estimado Roberto, soy Pep, compañero de Francesca. En este momento de trágico silencio mis manos buscan escribir alguna de las palabras que emergen de mi corazón sobrecogido, pero la tristeza las atenaza. No puedo más que recurrir a los recuerdos para, con esas manos y ese corazón, mandarte el más sentido y sincero de mis abrazos.

    • manila6 says:

      Muchas gracias, Pep. Tus sentidas lineas nos confortan en estos momentos tan dificiles y nos ayudan a recordar a Kristiina con cariño.

  9. Pingback: Good morning, Kristiina | Kristiina Juutinen Memorial Fund

  10. Maxi Kuehnle says:

    Dear Roberto,

    I am very saddened to hear about Kriistina’s death and want to send my condolences. I met Kriistina’s in London at university and I lived with her in Charlton. I remembered her as an adventurous person who was always content and happy with life. I know that no words can soothe the pain that you, your family and Kriistina’s family must feel right now but I wish you all the strength and courage there is to get through these difficult times.
    Warm regard,

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