Ah, Colorado

I just got back from a week long visit to Colorado; Denver to be precise.  Hadn't visited in four years and can't believe I forgot how nice it is out there.  Beautiful climate, friendly and open culture, spectacular landscapes, and a fun, vibrant city.  I had the chance to take a hike in an area called North Table Park which was my first true hike in the area.  The views only scratched the surface of the views this state has to offer.  Can't wait until my next visit.  A few of my favorite shots are below and feel free to take a look at the Flickr album of my visit if you'd like.  

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"Thanksgiving" in Måløy, Norway

Here I am in Norway on Thanksgiving day.  Obviously Europe does not celebrate Thanksgiving as it is an American holiday, yet I've had a nice amount of hello's and happy holidays from across the pond (thanks to those who said hi).  I thought I might feel a bit down not being able to experience any holiday cheer on this day for the first time in I think forever, but quite the contrary.  This week is when Norway and many parts of Europe start to begin the celebration of Christmas; perfect timing!  There was a nice little gathering in the town I'm visiting to kick off the holiday season.  

The streets has some great christmas lighting.

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A simple and classic tree near the center of town.

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I was given some (virgin) gloeg (gløgg) from the local scout troop, which was delicious!  Also great to chat with some Norwegian scouts about badges and other things (nerd alert!).

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Even had a santa sighting.

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And finally closed out the night with looking at this far city from afar.  Beautiful little town.

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So never fear (Mom!), I got loads of holiday cheer today!  Hope everyone is having a great holiday and all the best from Måløy, Norway!

One Week in Norway

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Several weeks ago I got the opportunity to join a Norwegian company that is doing some really cool things in the field of video conferencing and even better, to travel to Norway for a few weeks to meet the team.  I not only love to travel, but to see how people live and do things in other parts of the world so I couldn't be happier.  I got here exactly one week ago today and here are a few of the most interesting things I've noticed so far. 

1.  When something is really crazy or messed up, Norwegians call it "Texas".

I had to ask three times when I first heard them say it but yes it is true; even Norwegians who have never even been to Texas call a bad situation "Texas".  I was told a story about a recent fire where people stood watching the blaze saying "Wow, that is so Texas".  Sorry Texans, I know you're not all that bad but the reputation of your state for being totally nuts has gone global.  Yeehaw.

2.  Not all of Norway is super freezing cold all the time.

The first thing people said when I told them I was going to Norway was "Oh man it must be so cold there!"  Not true, at least on the Western coast which benefits from a current of warm water and air all the way from the gulf of Mexico.  It's been around 50 degrees fahrenheit since I got here (sorry to my friends in chilly Boston). 

3.  The currency is some of the coolest I've seen.

And it gets smaller in size as as it gets smaller in denomination.  Look at the 50; such a little guy!  Also don't think I'm ballin' out with a 500 there.  $500 in Norwegian currency is around $70 U.S.  Also if you think their currency is cool, check their new passport design.  

Norwegian bills actually get smaller in size as they get smaller in denomination. The only way to describe the 50 is s'cute.

4.  People don't mess around with drinking and driving.

Not buzzed, not just "a" drink, not one sip.  I was told this as soon as I arrived and almost didn't believe it right away.  Then I observed some social situations in the first few days I was here.  If someone was driving they didn't ask for a drink, nor were they offered one.  And I am in a very small town where if people are driving their home is only a few minutes away, not to mention there are only a couple police officers for the whole town.  My first reaction was "wow" followed by a strong sense of respect.  It would take a lot for Americans to have this kind of restraint, but to Norwegians, it's just normal.  

5.  Norwegians love cheese.

Be still my heart people that love cheese as much as me.  The cheese sections in markets are huge and I didn't go into one home or even office where there weren't several of these (even the place I am staying had two in the drawer):

Norwegians love their cheese

Not that it really needs to be mentioned, but Norway is a beautiful place.  Check out my album on Flickr for some shots.  I'll be adding more as I go.  

Whoa Barcelona!!!

I am visiting Barcelona for the week for work and it has only been a couple of days but I am quickly beginning to see why people I've talked to call this their favorite city in Europe and/or the world.  More to follow:

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Oh and another plus is that they have the best chocolate mile I've tasted in my LIFE.   

Best chocolate milk I've ever had!

Thank You Montreal

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I just got back from a few days (not long enough!) vacation in Montreal.  I'll be posting some more photos and other things soon, but a few things that are fresh in my mind about this great city and international travel in general:  

  • If you have the opportunity, take any chance you can to travel abroad.  Especially to places where English isn't the primary language, it really puts things into perspective.   

  • French is probably the most intimidating language I have ever encountered.  It seems too elegant for me to attempt to speak it.  I feel like I am mangling a beautiful rose when I try.

  • Google Transit directions are amazing.  I would have been lost on this trip without them.  They helped me get around the Metro on both train and bus and were extremely accurate with times and ETA's when doing so.  Yet another reason not to use Apple Maps.

  • If you are going to try to learn a few phrases in the native tongue to assist in getting around during any international trip I highly recommend learning how to say "I'm sorry" (in my case je suis désolé). I'll be honest I did not use it much because of my fear of mangling it, but I'd be willing to bet it goes a long way when trying to interact with locals.  In the few times I got the courage to attempt to speak French, I got a genuine sense of appreciation.  

I've said it before, if you live in the Northeast this is the best budget international vacation you can get.  There are so many things to do.  Historic sights, a good nightlife scene, and amazing food; all within a few hours drive depending on where you live.  I can't wait for my next visit.

German Airport Fiasco an Embarrasment for Germans

German media have tracked down a list of tens of thousands of technical problems. Among them: Officials can't even figure out how to turn the lights off. Thousands of light bulbs illuminate the gigantic main terminal and unused parking lots around the clock, a massive energy and cost drain that appears to be the result of a computer system that's so sophisticated it's almost impossible to operate.

Sounds like the Big Dig of airports.

via: SplatF