18:56 Sun.
2 Aug, 2020

How many trips did I do for this project?

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12:00 am
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How much travelling can you do for one project? Well a lot I guess, sadly this was my final trip for the project of the past 3 years. The final thing left to do was present the project results to the EU commission, who financed the project, so naturally the meeting was held in Brussels, Belgium. Yes, another check on my ever more complete list of countries I’ve visited.

Over the years, I got used to travelling and since 2017 there was no roaming in EU any more I decided I was confident enough to just go to the Brussels without any extra preparation of where I have to go, where is my hotel or any other information in this regard, as I felt it was a waste of paper and I have all the information on e-mail at the tips of my fingers anyway. So as it usually is with this things, the first thing I discovered after landing was that my phone died – literary died, not just dead battery but actually completely dead without hope of recovery. Oh shit, I thought, I never felt so lost in my life. Luckily I had my laptop with me so with a lot of struggle I managed to find a WiFi point at the airport, find the location of the meeting and freaking memorize the whole way there since I didn’t have any paper to write it down. Lessons were learned.

Too much of my amazement I actually correctly navigated to the location of the meeting, and I was only 3 hours late, luckily it was just a rehearsal session for next day’s defence before the commission, so it wasn’t as terrible as it sounds. During the meeting I managed to look where my hotel was, luckily some girl had a hotel near mine, so I could use her to navigate near my hotel and then spent half an hour to find my hotel. Funny enough I was staying in a quarter called Stalingrad.

The meeting next day with the commission went flawlessly, they were impressed with the project results and all in all, despite some hiccups during development over the years, we passed with flying colours.

Have I ever seen this before? I can’t put my finger on it, but it looks familiar.

This time again I took an extra day off to have some time to explore the city. After returning to the hotel I was unpleasantly surprised that my hotel room was empty. They made a mistake and thought I checked out that morning, after a bit of nagging and complaining at the reception they soon found my belongings and upgraded me to the best room of the hotel. I was actually quite happy about it, the room was probably larger than my apartment, with a view over the street. Well, this might sound a bit better than it actually was, since everything is extremely expensive in Brussels the hotel was low to mid range at most. I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this before, but we have a daily budget for hotels which you should not exceed, there are some exceptions to course (New York at 3 times the budget, khm), but generally you get much more out of it if you travel to a town which is cheaper, as you can get into much nicer hotels.

Despite these problems the visit of the Europe’s capital was great. I just couldn’t believe at the decorations of the buildings in the city center, everything was old and shining of gold. It truly looks like the capital. One thing I found fascinating was that there were a lot of nice graffiti on the buildings all over the place.

I didn’t mention food much, well as the food goes, haha I don’t think I ever ate so much junk food on any trip till then and since. Waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Sure, why now. Ever heard of French fries? Well they were invented in Belgium. Belgium chocolate? Yes, please!

Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
18:15 Sun.
2 Aug, 2020

Yeey, Switzerland

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Well, this one is not entirely trip on its own, but when visiting Madrid, I managed to configure my flight so that I had an overlay in Switzerland. Since I haven’t visited it yet. Sadly there were some problems with the weather and our flight was delayed for a couple of hours, so I only had 3 hours to the connecting flight, but I said since I was there already I will take a chance.

The problems with the weather were some very very strong bursts of wind, which were still somewhat present when we attempted to land. Never in my life was I thrown so much around the plane, well not since I did my glider plane’s licence. I’m not kidding but just before landing our plane was tilted more than 45 degrees with wing almost touching the tarmac. Luckily we landed safely, but I haven’t felt so sick in a long long while. My boss, who was accompanying me on this trip said I was actually green in the face, and I believe him. Ever since then I always take anti motion sickness pills, even if the flight is only an hour long.

Disembarking the plane I almost ran to the train station, to find the train to the Zurih. The train station was enormous, and not that clear which train goes where, or it just might be that they all go to the Zurih. Anyway after half an hour ride I was in the city. It looked almost like in the story, city full of old buildings, streets were full of people and expensive cars. Since it was just over new year’s there were still some decorations around and there was this, I’m not sure how to describe it, smell of winter / snow in the air, truly wonderful.

I walked a bit around the streets, visited the lake and looked at the prices in shop windows. Yea, Switzerland, nowhere else could you see expensive watches, clothes and jewellery with prices of several thousand CHF everywhere.

Not long after I had to leave to catch my flight back, but not before I bought 3 Lindt chocolates for total of 30 CHF, up to this day these was the most expensive chocolate I ever bought, and it wasn’t even extra large, just normal large (0.5kg?) chocolate. The saddest part was that all three were a gift so I didn’t even try them in the end. :'(

Of all the extravagant and expensive stuff found in the shops go figure, what I actually managed to take photo of….
18:00 Sun.
2 Aug, 2020

Spain again

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12:00 am
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What, Spain Again, just after San Sebastian? Well, not exactly, there was Australia in between, but as I write this posts 3 years later yea, another visit to Spain!

Once could say I like paella so much I throw a trip to Spain just to have it.

Since I learned about heat in Spain during my San Sebastian’s visit during last summer, I decided it was probably better to visit during winter this time. Just kidding, it was not up to me, again we had another project meeting this time in the middle of January 2018 in Madrid.

Well can’t say I’ve seen a store like this anywhere else, and I could say I’ve traveled somewhat…

The weather this time was much more cooperatively, I came from freezing Slovenia to a warm and sunny Spain. The added bonus was that because of their western position the sunset was only at 18’o clock or something. Well, since I’m already speaking about it I should mention that on the other hand sunrise was at 9. Perfect for my schedule.

This visit was a bit shorter in total only 4 days, of which I spent most of the time at the project meetings. Still, I had some time to explore the city. Again the city is enormous. I visited some parks, viewed some old buildings in the city centre and of course I had had a paella. This is just a must, if you visit a Spain, no matter which part, you have to have paella, it’s so good.

A knight on a horse and a squire on a donkey. I wonder who that might be. 🙂

Well not much more to say about it, nothing exciting happened during my visits, well nothing until our flight back.

 

17:00 Sun.
2 Aug, 2020

Workation

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Uff, this was so long ago I almost forgot I went. I’m not sure if I just couldn’t find it now or really didn’t even mention it anywhere. Thank god for the pictures, looking at them brings back the memories even though it is more than 3 years since I was in San Sebastian, Spain.

In middle of June of 2017 I had another project meeting, this time in San Sebastian, Spain. I was so happy to go there, not only because I have a thing for Spain, but also because Mikel, one of my best friends from Sweden, lives (or rather lived there).

I touched down in Barcelona, from where I thought it would be an interesting experience if I took the train to get from there to San Sebastian, which is on the west coast of Spain, and I was not sorry I took it, the train was fast, clean, nice and the best part was I was able to enjoy great vistas and see a bit of Spanish landscape which you otherwise just fly over.  The ride took over 6 hours if I remember correctly so in the evening I just made it in time to crash at my hotel.

The city of San Sebastian is very nice and quite different compared to the rest of the Spain. It is belongs to Basque country and the natives there consider themselves Basque before Spanish, they have their language, which is actually spoken there on the streets, but everyone also knows Spanish. The city is also quite rich, not sure from what, but just by watching the houses or rather mansions you can tell.

Other than that the city lies inside a gorgeous bay surrounded by small hills. Perfect for watching sunset.

As luck would have it, I arrived as usually during the extreme and unusual heat wave. It was way over 30 C all the time I was there, which is really unusual, so ofcourse no-one has ACs. Luckily the beach was large and nearby so it was not so bad, when I was not at the meetings.

Besides travelling, these project meetings are also great because of the social aspect and dinners that accompany them in the evening. I still haven’t eaten anything like the year before in Haliklidi, Greece. Though the Spanish variant wasn’t bad either. Up for eels anyone?

In the northern (I think) part of Spain the so called tapas are very popular. When you go into a bar or hang out with friends you don’t usually go for a dinner but into a bar, where the whole groups orders various bite sized snacks called tapas. They were very very good and the idea that you can try many different ones alongside nice cold beer, huh, really fantastic.

I said that Mikel lived in San Sebastian, well that was not actually true anymore, he moved to Valencia, where he had work. But luckily he came back just in time for me to meet with him. We spend a wonderful day of chatting, remembering the Sweden and all our friends from there. We even went to a nearby town just across the French border just, so we could send Jean a postcard from France. All in all it was a great day, well worth suffering the heat for the whole week.

Mikel and I in San Sebastian, 2017

I usually I also wrote some postcards to send back home and to co-workers.  I have slowly started abandoning this practice as it is becoming incredibly hard finding post stamps lately. But in San Sebastian I had a different problem, I couldn’t find mail box. After complaining to Mikel about it, he actually drove me to the post office in the end I was not surprised how I couldn’t find it earlier.

Mail box in San Sebastian

After the day I spent with Mikel I had to return back to Slovenia. To go back, instead of going by the train again I took a plane to Barcelona, which gave me whole day to explore the Barcelona.

The city is really amazing, I’m always overwhelmed with such big cities, since in Slovenia we have nothing like that. Since it was summer it was full of people, literary everywhere, on the buses, underground, I don’t think another person would fit on the beach and don’t get me started on the other tourists attractions. The  city is also notorious for the pick-pockets so I was kind of nervous whole time there, but luckily survived without any incidents and managed to see quite a lot of it. Still, I don’t think I would want to go on vacation there.

In the evening I returned back home, back to Slovenia. Huh, again, thank god for the pictures otherwise I would completely forgot about everything. But still I should be more diligent in the future and do this thing more real time like, otherwise what’s the point. 🙂 So now I’m off to the next overdue trip from memory lane.

10:33 Sun.
24 Feb, 2019

An unexpected journey.

Copenhagen , Denmark
5 °C
Breezy
7:58 am
3:53 pm

When the time came to leave Sweden, a storm was brewing over the airport. My flight got delayed for more than 3 hours and I missed my connecting flight to Ljubljana in Copenhagen.  Despite being a bit annoyed by the waiting at the first it turned out to be a good thing in the end.

The staff at the airport was nice, they booked me another flight for the next day evening, paid for a nice hotel in the city and a taxi to get there. To top it off since I was on a business trip I didn’t have to get extra vacation day but my company actually paid me extra since I was stranded there an extra day. 🙂

When I arrived to the hotel it was already pretty late, so I only ate dinner and went to sleep. The next day I had a whole day to explore the city, before the night flight back to Slovenia.

The city of Copenhagen is a mixture of modern and old buildings, full of cyclists and nice walkways to walk by. Despite being very hot, the city was crowded with tourists.

After couple of hours of hiking around I managed to get to the famous canal – Nyhavn, from where all the tourists take photos and of course why would I be any different? 🙂

Nyhavn
Nyhavn

I spent the rest of the day exploring the old town, interesting the vivid colored buildings are not limited to the canal.

After the long day of walking I took a subway to the airport and late that night returned back to Slovenia.

Despite a small inconvenience of missing the connected flight, it turned out great Denmark – Checked [X].

 

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