Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Paris ip-label Training


Finally I will complete writing about my month off.  The first week of October I was in Paris for training with a few guys from GO and Wouter.  We stayed in the La Défense section of Paris and that was my first time there.  Everything is very modern and does not feel like you are in Paris at all.  It was okay, but I much prefer the older sections of the city.

The training itself was a bit boring for me because it was very technical in an area that I was not at all familiar with.  But, the people that worked there were all very nice and brought us to so many good places to eat lunch.  They also took us to a dinner one night and WOW, I can't even describe to you how good it was.  I just love food in France.  We started with starters including foie gras with is really good, but you can't really think about how it is made...force feeding geese.  Read the link for more info.  The I had a dinner of a variety of duck and goose items which will sound gross to most people if I explain everything (so I wont) but this is typical French food and once you get past what everything is, it is really really good.  We were buy the way throughout the entire dinner drinking really good 10 year old red wine (the restaurant specialized in wine and traditional French food.)  Then we had coffee and three nice little mini deserts to go with it, and finally we had 40 year old cognac...probably the best I ever had.

Besides all the great food, I showed Shawn and Kara around a few nights before they left for Rome and I also hung out with my colleagues as well.

Nice trip, looking forward to going back next month for some more food! :-)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oktoberfest


So after the fam left, I had a day or two to myself, then I was off to Munich to meet Shawn, Matt, and some of Matt's friends.  In one word, Oktoberfest was awesome!  I knew it would be cool, but it was way better than expected!  This is the world's largest festival, and I can see why.  The tents were huge and it's hard to call them tents, they are more like temporary building.  And, the rides, it is like an amusement park.  They literally build entire roller coasters just for Oktoberfest!

The first day we pretty much got right to drinking beer, early...  The tent we were in first had all old people and the waitresses looked like grandmas.  It was still fun, but the next tent was a little more our speed.  Being that we started really early and did not eat much, most of us were back at the hotel and passed out before 9 PM!!

The second day we made it a bit longer.  For the first part of the day, we walked around Munich.  It is a beautiful city, so much to see, and the weather was perfect.  We went back over to Oktoberfest later on and this time had a bunch of food first.  We ended up drinking 4 liters each of beer that night and then after all of that I road a carnival ride because they dared me to and said I could not do it with out throwing up.  Well I did it and did not throw up!  It was really fun the first 10 seconds, then I was really ready for it to be over.

The next day Shawn and I walked through Oktoberfest one last time to checkout anything we might have missed, then caught our plane back to Holland.  We hung out here for a few days, and then Kara came over to meet us.  I think they liked it here which is cool.  After that we were off to Paris, but that will come in a later post.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Fam in Europe


So the fam finally made it to Europe to come see me.  Mom, dad, Mike, and Lyndsie all came.  When they first arrived, we hung out in Haarlem and in Amsterdam.

Next we drive to Eindhoven to fly to Italy on RyanAir.  We went to visit our cousins who have a house there.  They were great hosts.  We got to eat and drink a lot of good food and wine, and even get to see an unexpected country while we were there!  San Marino is a city state that is located within Italy.  It was a cool little country that existed only at the top of a mountain.  The one day we went to the beach (it was 5 minute walk from their house) and I got stung by a jelly fish!  That was the first time that ever happened to me.  Really, I did not know what happened, I thought I brushed up against something but I did not see anything.  When I got out of the water, it started to hurt, then get red, then finally swell up.  After a few days it went away, and then about a week later it came back in full force!  Now it is finally gone, but that was crazy.

We even got to see Vila Santa Maria the village where Bruna and my grandfather's family came from.  It was pretty interesting to see this place since I've hear about it since when I was little.


I also took the fam to Antwerp on the train for a day.  It was really cool to see Antwerpen Centraal Station which is said to be one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, and I can see why!  I think they really ended up liking Belgium.

Finally we got back to Holland for one last day of their stay.  They got to meet Cory and Novita and then we went to Sumo for dinner.  At the end, I think they were pretty ready to go back but I hope they had a good time because I enjoyed having them.  Sorry there are no fam pics, I'm still waiting for them to send them to me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rested

Hi!  I'm finally done with all of my vacations/business trips (at least for a while) and have gotten back into the swing of things over the last week.  I plan on writing about my experiences soon over a few posts since I have a lot to talk about.  But for now, I will talk about my weekend.

Saturday I decided to use my all day train ticket that I bought in August from the grocery store for only €14!  The ticket is good for one day to ride the train as much as you want anywhere in the country!  What a deal.  I ended up on purpose and randomly while underway selecting:
All were very nice but I really ended up liking Eindhoven.  I would not have even considered this, but recently I read in the paper that Eindhoven ranked this year as having the best binnenstad (center of the city) in the Netherlnads.  I can see why it won, it was pretty cool to walk around in.

In Gouda I of course tried cheese and ended up buying green cheese!  I it wasabi flavored cheese and is awesome.  Still got some in my fridge.

After all that traveling around, I was dead tired and stayed on the couch and watched the discovery channel all night...

Today I went to Batavia Stad Outlets.  This was the first time I've been to outlets in over 1.5 years.  They were pretty nice.  It did take a while to get there but was a nice day out since the sun was shining all day.  I bought a few things but nothing major.  I even ate at Subway also for the first time in a very long time.  It was really good!!

That's it for now.  Stay tuned for vacation storied and pics.