Dopplr Annual Report 2008
Dopplr Annual Report 2008

I’m finally listening to some fresh good music. Unfortunately I’ve been missing the concert by Kaiser Chiefs in Berlin a couple of days ago, but I might attend Franz Ferdinand at the end of March. According to (Dutch-)Isabelle, my music pusher, they are releasing a new album this week and the first single, Ulysses, is really really catchy.
On the other hand U2 wrote such a bad song, Get Your Boots On, I won’t probably consider the idea of buying the new album in March. I’ll download it, tho.

Yesterday I also received my Dopplr Annual Report for 2008: it is a nice document about my travels during last year. Apparently I’ve been traveling only 37 over 365 days 😦 I’m sure I’m going to do better this year. We will see. I somehow don’t feel like going to Austria next week: I don’t like business trips…



Swinging Pino by Lugri
Swinging Pino by Lugri

Slowly I’m back on track: work emails have been answered, now I have to complete my tasks before I leave for Zell am See.

Christian and I had a great time in Paris. He have been there just once, when he was just a kid and didn’t remember much, which is why we had a usual touristic tour to begin with. We didn’t miss any important sight, such as le Louvre, Notre-Dame, Père-Lachaise, Montmartre and the Tour Eiffel, the top of which was unfortunately closed for maintenance. After some fitness time on its 700 steps I personally earned a big portion of Mousse de Canard, while Christian couldn’t get enough Flan Parisien :mrgreen:

Yesterday I selected some pictures to be published on flickr and I discovered that I still didn’t upload old ones from my visits in Hamburg (a few) and New York (2)! With the slow internet connection I have at home I don’t even know when I am going to fix this.

This week we will probably go to cinema to see either Twilight or Valkyrie, hopefully not Australia and I am playing with the idea of attending a couple of Berlinale screenings: I did it 2 years ago and I’d really like to repeat the experience.

Hot ‘n’ cold

Io mi soffierei il naso... by Lugri
Io mi soffierei il naso... by Lugri

Tomorrow I’m leaving for a short holiday again :mrgreen: Christian booked indeed a flight to Paris as part of my birthday gifts: we will be back on Sunday evening.
Since I’m a bit older now and I still have many days off to spend I’m going to be off on Monday too when we will visit the Grüne Woche fair, hopefully in a more comfortable and relaxed way than during the weekend.
My time in Berlin will be anyway rather short this month: on Sunday 25 I’m supposed to fly to Zell am See in Austria, where Nokia is organizing a conference. During the week on the alps I will also have the chance to fly with on a balloon! How cool is that? Much better than going skiing which I can’t :mrgreen:

I’m back from Paris and hopefully I will start blogging again as of tomorrow. Millions of pictures are also waiting to be selected to be uploaded on flickr… I have a huge backlog, I know, I’ll do my best… In the meanwhile please enjoy the much better photos ilGrisa posted on his flickr profile.

So what?

Pino and the Dwarf by Lugri
Pino and the Dwarf by Lugri

I didn’t blog for a looong time. So what?
This blog experienced the longest downtime ever. So what?
I was busier collecting experiences than writing about them.

So so what?
I’m still a rock star

But now I have to quickly resume what happened so far :mrgreen:

Before Xmas I visited a couple of other markets, like the one at the Kulturbrauerei in P’berg: it featured products from the northernmost European countries. A typical Finnish product seems to be bear meat… I couldn’t resist and I tasted it. Salty and nothing really special, to be honest. I prefer other kinds of bears 😛

During Xmas time I visited my parents in Italy. It was rather boring and… loud, because of my niece 🙂 I had time for a short trip to Milan too (the main train station has been completely renovated) and I had the usual lunch with the Grisas just before I flew back to Berlin.

Back home I had a very busy time with many guests: the usual Frank met Jörg and James first and Krijn and JW later. We could have opened a small Dutch embassy :mrgreen: I’d really love to thank them for the nice time we had together. The new bear’s eve party was rather boring, however with them, Maurice, Ollie and Andreas, it was fun.

On January first Frank, James and Jörg had unfortunately to leave, but ilGrisa landed from Milan. On the next day we rented a car and we drove to Krakow for the weekend. We were freezing 😕 But it was nice to be there again, after 6 years.

Back in Berlin I found Christian very sick and I spet most of my holiday time with ilGrisa strolling around the city. We visited interesting spots like Südgelände and the Berlinische Galerie with an interesting exhibition about panoramic photos of Berlin after WWII. We also watched a couple of movies (both on DVD an in theater): I’d really like to recommend Vicky Christina Barcelona and Die Welle.

Since yesterday evening the flat is rather empty again and today I went back to work… It’s 2009.

Crack the shutters

Yellow leaves IV
Yellow leaves IV

Last Sunday, as part of one of my birthday gifts, I went with Christian to the Berlin Japan Festival. It is basically a fair for Berlin or online shops which sell Japanese products, either traditional (on the ground floor), or modern (on the upper floor).
It was really interesting and I collected a lot of address for my next Japanese purchases :mrgreen: Even Christian fell in love with some Noren (暖簾)… We are definitively going to buy one for our new flat.
We also attended to a some shows: Kimono (着物) fashion, Japanese Women Choir and martial arts (I forgot which one, exactly).
The fair was hosted by the Postbahnhof (post train station), an interesting building itself.

Buy my book!
Are you looking for an original Christmas gift? Why don’t you buy my book? :mrgreen:
Like Bree published her first recipes book, I just released my photo book of St Petersburg, featured by my flickr pictures and my blog entries…
Just click here.

The lightning strike


Unfortunately I have been really busy in the last week, more than ever before. I went first to Heidelberg to visit Christian’s parents, then I attended Snow Patrol’s concert, I flew to London and I had lot to do in the office. Nevertheless, I’ve been trying to blog from my iPhone and hereafter you can read the result.

What if this storm ends?
I’m flying back to Berlin after a short business trip to London. I have been there only once before and I couldn’t really connect with the city: too overcrowded, so European but so stubbornly different from the mainland. This time, my visit was much more pleasant even if limited to Oxford Street, at the west end of which was my Hotel and at the Eastern end of which the studios were I was screening some workshops. Yesterday I really had a busy time, since I woke up at 5am to catch my flight to Heathrow and I worked until 11pm, Berlin time.
Attending the workshop was funny: I was hidden behind those kind of semitransparent mirrors that can be seen in the movies. So cool!
The studios offered me some sandwiches at lunch and I could choose a real meal for dinner. Excited by the large offer I ordered a salmon and tuna sushi box: big mistake. The fish wasn’t very good but the rice… come on, it was disgusting. And terribly cold. No, frozen.
London was overcrowded ad usual but surprisingly empty at night… I was anyway too tired to go out.
Flying back to Berlin was the true adventure. Currently going on. No, now I’m successfully back in Berlin. Just 3 hours later than planned. Long story short: British Airways employees were simply too unfriendly and pissed me off.
At the Berlin airport of Tegel I saw some advertising for the German Bundesland Baden-Wüttenberg:

Wir können alles, außer Hochdeutsch
(We can do anything, except speaking High German)

The part about the language is true… I sometimes can’t stand Christian’s dialect: net instead of nicht is funny, but ö pronounced as e or the diphthong au as aa is annoying, not to mention the relative pronoun wo (lit. where) used instead of die, der and das (which, that) 😕
Of course this worsen when we are visiting or being visited by his friends or parents. Like last weekend.

Sunlight through the flags
Like in July, we rented a car but this time we had time to visit Mannheim a little more: it is unusual among German cities in that its central area is laid out in a grid pattern (called Quadrate, squares), the streets don’t have names, while blocks are named after their coordinates on the grid. Funny.
On Sunday we visited Frankfurt am Main too: Germany economic capital. The city didn’t impress me very much, but the skyline is gorgeous! It looked like a nice place for shopping, but on Sunday every shop is closed…

Back from my tour in Baden-Wüttenberg I attended the only German concert of Snow Patrol. It was very short and unusually located in a small theater, but very emotional. The band chose Berlin to present their new album because they recorded it here, they will be back in spring for the official tour and I will be there to see them again! At the exit of the theater I have been interviewed by RBB, the local TV station, I hope they didn’t use the material for any broadcast :mrgreen: My German was so broken!

If there’s a rocket tie me to it

Color palette
Color palette

Busy days in the office: I have been screening competitors and writing reports and dealing with new tasks (or polished old ones). On top of that I also finally and completely moved out my flat in Charlottenburg during the weekend. My bones were still hurting yesterday 😦 ilGrisa is right: I need more sport. And since I’m not biking anymore like I did in Amsterdam, this is definitively an imperative. Jeanny, my colleague, on the other side, wants me to join her to Bikram Yoga. But I hate sweat. And, first of all, I’m lazy :mrgreen:

In the previous post I was blogging about the new record by Snow Patrol: well, I have some more news about them.
The song after which this post is named is probably my favorite of the whole album.

A fire a fire, you can only take what you can carry
A pulse your pulse, it’s the only thing I can remember
I break you don’t, I was always set to self-destruct though
The fire the fire, it cracks and barks like primal music

I also discovered that they recorded their new songs mainly in the famous Hansa Studios in Berlin. Like U2, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and others before them.
They even released an iPhone application with lyrics, interviews and all kind of bonus materials: why should I buy the CD if I can have the whole experience on my iPhone instead?
Next Monday I will attend their concert here in Berlin: finally a concert after a long time without any live gigs!

Tomorrow Thursday is Christian’s birthday and we will visit his parents during the weekend… Hopefully we will have the chance to visit Frankfurt too, this time. I desperately need to discover Germany a bit more. Frank will be with us when we drive back to Berlin.

Back in Berlin on Monday, after the concert on Monday evening, I will go to London on Tuesday for business reasons. I’m not comfortable with London. Not because I had the chance to go to India instead, but because I feel London too overpopulated (ok ok, India is even more overpopulated). Anyway, I will try to have some nice time there too between workshops, meetings and travels to and from the airport :mrgreen:

This week, because of elections, I guess, some US series will not be aired. Most notably Heroes, which is improving after a tepid start… Desperate Housewives is improving too but I still don’t like the whole mystery-thing. Let’s see… Bree still rocks much more than anyone else.
Last Friday I was watching Private Practice, which is not the best product ever but makes me cry anyway 😳 While watching it I felt simply good… Sans souci.

I was planning to spend some words about US elections as well as Prop8, but I don’t have time now… Let’s hope for the best, while I go buying the last things for Christian’s birthday.