Traveling on vacation

I’ve been on vacation for a week now…kinda…

We decided that it was time for the kids to meet my spouse’s extended family, which meant a trip to Turkey (Istanbul to be precise). We have been planning this for close to a year, using airline points to pay for the travel. On the way in, we have experienced, in order, weather delay (Ottawa to Toronto), equipment problems causing a 2 hours delay (Toronto), a kid with air sickness (Toronto to Frankfurt), a missed flight because of earlier delays (Frankfurt), a still sick child (Frankfurt to Istanbul), and one piece of delayed luggage out of four (Istanbul). Of course, with the delays, the youngest’s nap time no longer lined up, so she was very cranky… And finally, we did not manage to reach my father in law in time so he waited for close to five hours at the airport. All in all a good trip…

The other interesting thing was that, as Canadian, I needed to pay a US$60 visa to enter Turkey. I haven’t had to pay for a visa in ages (I think Kuwait was the last one…)! And it is, by far, the most expensive visa to enter Turkey! I wonder, why does Turkey not want Canadian visitors? We are not traditionally dangerous…

I am writing this as I sit in Ankara’s airport. I came here for a day to talk to customers – I get to play evangelist and I get one more day of vacation later. And, most importantly, I get to help our Turkish team with the message that IBM Rational is back in the systems space. However, the account team may not be so sure about my visit, it seems I have brought the bad weather (rain) to Istanbul and that I have done the same to Ankara (snow). I may get a reputation with this…

And that is why I am actually able to create this post: no family obligation and no one to tell me to get off the computer!

Back from Sweden

I’m back from almost two weeks in Sweden visiting a customer. The trip was nice. I got lucky on the way over, getting to sit in a newly reconfigured B-767-300 with the lie-flat mini-cabins in business class. There is a picture here, although it may disappear in the future… It was a bit strange to be sitting at an angle, but then each seat has a fairly large LCD screen! Unfortunately, most of the programming for the personal video system had not been completed. And then again, I typically sleep on the way over to Europe (sometimes even before we reach cruising altitude), so I would not really had a chance to enjoy it. Maybe I’ll get lucky again in the future! But it did not happen on the way back.

I have been asked by Kelly to provide pictures. So, I have created a Flickr account and made a picture set from Stockholm. The pictures aren’t great because I have an old digital camera and there were snow flurries that day. I should pull out the old pictures, from seven years ago, and post them too.

What to do in Stockholm?

As I stated previously, I am in Stockholm and after a few meetings held at GMT-5 time (i.e., late in the evening here), I am wondering what to do…

Would anyone out there who have experienced in the Stockholm restaurant/tourist scene like to send suggestions my way?

Thanks in advance!

Four o’clock, nightime, and the weekend

I am currently in Stockholm, Sweden. And here, at 16:00, it is almost night. Stockholm is much farther North than where I normally live: 60° vs. 45° North. This means much shorter days…

I have to stay in Stockholm over the weekend. I was hoping not to have to travel on weekends this year, so that I can spend time with my family, but my first trip of the year gave me meetings on both sides of a weekend. At least, I like Stockholm. It is a nice city and I look forward to visit it again (I was last here in 1999 – things have changed a bit – especially in the suburbs). I have been told that the renovation of the Vasa has finally been completed. The Vasa is a ship that was raised from the lake in Stockholm and it was still being renovated the last time I saw it, seven years ago, I wonder how it looks now. I may very well go and have another look!

One thing for sure, I will try to bag a few geocaches over the next couple of days!