Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter Weekend

For about two months, me and my girlfriend, er, fiancee, were contemplating on going away for a week around easter. With a long weekend, we could easily go away for 7-9 days with only taking 4 days off work. As usual, we both were busy with work and what not, so in the end left it very very late to look for holidays.

At Wednesday before Easter we went into some travel agents trying to look for last minute offers, but since this is Switzerland, they don't do last minute offers very well. Swiss people tend to plan their holidays months and months in advance, nobody is crazy enough to do it last minute and no travel agent is crazy enough to offer special last minute rates. We looked for Sharm-el-Sheik, Las Palmas, Canary Island, everything with sun and beach and where we could scuba dive, but nothing came up.

So on Wednesday night we just sat at home, browsing the web and we found another destination: Stuttgart. You might wonder, why Stuttgart? Well, it's only 5 hours driving, it has an outley center close by and well that's it really.

We booked a hotel and decided to drive 5 hours. I charged my GPS on Thursday night but Friday morning when we woke up it was all white around us. Yes, for the first time this winter, it snowed properly. This then made the driving a bit of a challenge, as it probably be more than 5 hours in treacherous conditions. I still wanted to drive but my fiancee looked up some flights and found a cheap flight to Stuttgart via Zurich. So in the end we flew to very short journeys (30 minutes to Zurich, then 25 minutes to Stuttgart).

The outlet city is called Metzingen and it's amazing what they all have. Hugo Boss is the biggest store there by far, but any other brand - you name it and they probably have an outlet store there. We also found some nice restaurants to eat, a city center and on Sunday morning we went to the museum to see Pop Art Portraits.

All in all, it was a nice getaway. If ever you want to do some serious shopping, then Metzingen is recommended.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


About a month ago I was sitting in a meeting room trying to read the powerpoint presentation that was given. Normally I don't have problems with my eyesight, but this time I just couldn't read what was on the screen in front of me. Granted, I was sitting in the back, but still I used to have 20-20 vision.

A week after that there was another meeting where someone put up a powerpoint presentation on a screen. This time I wasn't sitting in the back but everything was still out of focus and I couldn't read what was on the screen.

So a week ago I went to the opthamologist to get my eyes checked. After 5 minutes of trying to read letters from a wall, the verdict came out. My right eye was out by -1.00 and my left by -1.25. It's not a lot, but still it's bothering me when I have to read presentations from a wall at a distance.

I went to an optician afterwards and chose some fcuk vision spectacles. After 30 years without glasses, my eyes finally couldn't tolerate all the bad things I do to it (reading in dim light, having two computer screens with different resolutions next to each other, not eating enough carrots, etc). Now like the rest of my family, I wear glasses.

I'm also going to try contact lenses, maybe they suit me better...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

78th Geneva Motor Show

It's that time of year again, where all car manufacturers all over the world flock to Geneva, Switzerland for the annual motorshow. A show where I have had the opportunity to come as a member of press for the past 8 years. A show where the manufacturers showcase their latest technology. No surprise that this year, all manufacturers were big on eco stuff. Even Cadillac had a hybrid Escalade!

Anyway, yesterday was press day and like usual my cousin flew in to enjoy the press day with me. We started out at Kia as they were the first one who had visible breakfast. It was just bog standard croissants and orange juice so we moved on to Citroen. Over there the breakfast was quite good, very nicely presented as if it was a Michelin starred restaurant. A couple of sandwiches, some cakes, scrambled egg, and shot glasses of orange, coffee and yoghurt. A good start for the day. Same their cars suck.

A mid-morning snack was more than welcome at Ferrari. Even though they make fast cars, the coffee machine was very slow. I wonder why? For lunch it was business as usual at Toyota. Good stuff, dependable stuff. Then to Mercedes for a second lunch - a German speciality of sausages and potatoes. To be a bit picky, the food was actually from Bayern, whereas Mercedes hails from Stuttgart. Their biggest competitor - BMW - hails from Bayern. I wonder if the chef realised this?

Dessert at Nissan, drinks at Volvo and Saab. More drinks at Volkswagen, snacks at Ford.

And as of 5pm there was the Mini after work party. And this year it was actually full - even though Mercedes and Th!nk had similar parties. Good cocktails and good nibbles, mixed with cool music is worth closing the day for.

I really enjoy the car show, I do.