Dam Square, Amsterdam

Well, this is not the only video I recorded from Amsterdam Geotag , but also the only one from my trip to the Netherlands, so, enjoy this not at all unique view from that country :P

The video was recorded, as its name says, in the Dam Square Geotag , where the Royal Palace and the National Monument -built to memorialize the victims of World War II- can be found.

Amsterdam Impressions:

Amsterdam: Impressions

Last update: 2009-08-14

Fast forwarding since the last trip, I arrived to the Netherlands to visit my friend Craig (the author of the Espanish Tribute, which was created during these days), who showed me some cities of that marvelous country.

Amsterdam 2

Amsterdam Geotag is located in the west of the Netherlands, on the shore of river Amstel. Aside from being the capital of the country, it’s also the largest city, with a population a little bit over 750,000 inhabitants. In it, you can find the oldest stock exchange in the world.

The first settlement in the area appeared around the 13th century, as a fishing village that grew around a dam that was built across river Dam. Since then, the city became more and more important in time. It even became the wealthiest city in the world during the 17 century.

Amsterdam 3

The houses of Amsterdam reminded me a lot of the ones you can find in the downtown of Copenhagen Geotag (Denmark), with plenty buildings with just 3 or 4 stories, very colorful and a typical architecture you can find in the north of Europe.

The presence of water in this city is quite important, and you can see plenty of channels spreading from the main river that crosses Amsterdam from one side to the other.

Amsterdam 4

The weather I could find in there during my stay (in mid January) was quite irregular. Some times you could find the sun shining, and five minutes later a heavy rain. Anyway, most of the time it was cloudy, and not as cold as I was expecting it to be.

The people in there was nice, although I didn’t get to talk too much with people born in Amsterdam (I’m sorry Craig, but you are from Scotland :P ). As far as I’ve been told they’re kind and helpful… let’s check next time :D

Amsterdam 1

I liked the nightlife and the party places. But surprisingly, most of the ones we found were closing really early… at least for my standards, but you know, I’m from Spain :P

I think that Amsterdam is a really interesting city, with plenty of places to discover and to enjoy, and for sure it’s worth a visit. I just hope that the next one (because there will be a next one :D ) I can stay longer.

P.S.: I’m having a problem uploading pictures to flickr… I’ll hope to be able to post pics both from Milan and from Amsterdam soon.

Update 2009-08-14: Finally I managed to upload the pictures from Milan and Amsterdam :D

Amsterdam Impressions:

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Lord of the Flies

Another book, and I’m almost up to date with the list of books I’ve already read :)

Lord of the Flies Original title: Lord of the Flies. Author: William Golding. Year: 1954. Genre: Fiction, Allegory. Language: English. Read in: English. Publisher: Faber and Faber Ltd. Pages: 225. ISBN: 0-571-19147-9.

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Plot outline During the Fifties, a plane crashes on a desert island. The only survivors are a group of children, who get together and try to assemble their own civilization while waiting to be rescued and taken back home.

Comment without Spoilers The narrative rhythm is quite constant, but maybe not as fast as I would like. I think that the whole novel is too slow, and it took it a long time to trap me. Maybe it’s just that I’m used to faster books, but for example, Mrs Dalloway’s rhythm was even slower and I really enjoyed it.

The story is really interesting, and I think that the beginning point is an excellent idea that could lead to many different stories. However, I feel that the author could have achieved more with it, and that it ends too soon.

The characters in the book are very well depicted, and we can see all their motivations, feelings, thoughts and complexities that led them to behave the way they do all throughout the story.

Thanks to the descriptions offered in the novel, you can make a really clear image of the island in your mind. The same happens with the different fauna and flora that can be found in the mentioned island.

The edition published by Faber and Faber is quite nice, although not excellent. The quality of the paper and the printing is good, as well as the material of the cover. However, I don’t like the cover at all… maybe it’s just that I find it too colorful for the content of the book.

So, it took me a long time to read this book, because I didn’t really enjoy the first 2/3 of the novel, as its development was really slow and I felt almost as if nothing was being told. It’s as if the beginning was those 2/3 of the novel, the middle part the other 1/3 and the ending just the 3 last pages. Fortunately in that last 1/3 it improves a lot, raising the overall impression of the novel, but anyway, and contrary to the generalized opinion of the whole world, I’m still not sure if I would really recommend this novel to everyone.

Warning, SPOILERS

As I said in the first paragraphs, this novel left me a really sweet and sour taste, because after such a slow development of the story, once it was becoming really interesting, getting into the dark side of the human psyche with the hunting of Ralph by the wild boys, the author suddenly ended it with the appearance of the rescuing ship.

I don’t know, but I feel as if Golding wasn’t enjoying the path the novel was following, so he just decided to give it an end and send it to the publisher, not to loose the effort put in his work. And it’s a pity, because I think that he could have added at least 100 more interesting pages.

End of SPOILERS

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2009 July

It’s been more than a year since the last time I wrote a post of this kind. More precisely, since April 2008, but I think it’s a nice idea to take them back, as it’s a great way for me to keep track on how my life is evolving and what things I’m doing.

So, July for me began in Bratislava Geotag (Slovakia) where I was, exactly as last year in those same dates (June 28 - July 11), in a BEST Summer Course at the Slovak University of Technology, although this time it was on urban planning instead of robotics, and I was an organizer instead of an student (I love you all, LBG Bratislava :D ). And of course, It was a really crazy event, like every BEST event :D

After such a hard work in Bratislava, I spent 4 days relaxing in Vienna Geotag (Austria), visiting the city with some of the participants from the course (Olga, Camilla, Karin and Greg!) and visiting an Austrian participant (Markus!) from my BEST Spring Course in Madrid Geotag (Spain).

Then, 4 days gathering energies at home, and then 8 consecutive days of work mixed with partying (amazing birthday, Pablo :) ). It was also a sad week, as I began to say farewell to some colleagues from Overon (the company I work for) I won’t see again before moving to Stockholm Geotag (Sweden).

But after some much suffering, a great reward, which consisted on ending the month with a week enjoying Budapest Geotag and Nagykovácsi Geotag (Hungary) and the marvelous Hungarian people with the help of Olga! :D

As a preview for August’s report… well, there will be my last working shift and moving to Stockholm! So, stay tuned for more!

The Bro Code

I haven’t written about TV series for a really long time, but I’m going to take advantage of this post to say that I really love How I Met Your Mother :D

The Bro Code Original title: The Bro Code. Author: “Barney Stinson” with Matt Kuhn. Year: 2008. Genre: Comedy. Language: English. Read in: English. Publisher: Simon & Schuster Inc. - Fireside. Pages: 196. ISBN: 978-1-4391-1000-3.

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Plot outline This book is the famous Bro Code to which Barney Stinson, one of the characters of the TV series How I Met Your Mother, is making reference all the time.

Comment without Spoilers This book collects 150 articles, as well as some amendments to the Bro Code, stating the behavior that Bros must have in relation with their Bros as well as in other common circumstances of the daily life.

The mentioned articles are quite funny (the book has been written with that purpose) and, aside from being short, most of them have illustrative pictures as well as tables, and other complementary stuff.

The binding is not very good as it’s too weak and can be broken easily. Despite that, the quality of the pages and the printing is good, and the effect given to the paper to look old is a nice detail.

A very recommendable book if you’re a fan of the series or even just of the role that Barney plays. But if not, I wouldn’t really recommend it, as there are many jokes that come directly from the show and can be misunderstood.

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New Year's Eve in Milano

And now, for all of you to feel a little bit how is a New Year’s Eve in Milan Geotag , I recorded this video:

The video was recorded in Piazza Duomo Geotag , the heart of the city. And well, it was recorded in two parts, the first one being after the second one, but I liked it more this way.

Enjoy it! :P

P.S.: CH, after this video do you still think that I’m scary? :D

Milan Impressions:

Milan: Impressions

Last update: 2009-08-14

Finally, with this post I finish with the trips I did during 2008, and at the same time, begin with the ones I’m doing in 2009. How can that be? Well, because I went to Milan Geotag , Italy, with the sole purpose of celebrating New Year’s Eve in there!

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Milan is in the north of Italy. It’s the second most populated city of Italy, with about 1,300,000 inhabitants; but it’s metropolitan area is by far the largest in the country, with approximately 7,400,000 inhabitants. Also, it’s known as one of the world capitals of design and fashion.

The first settlement to appear in the area of Milan was around 400 BC, and under the Roman regime it got the name of Mediolanum. Since then it has been under control of other countries like Spain, France and Austria between others, before becoming definitely Italian again.

Milan 1

The downtown of Milan is a nice example of Gothic architecture, but that area is very small. For the rest of the city, the predominant architecture you can find is tall and grey concrete buildings. The streets are usually wide, but unfortunately, I don’t really know why, I feel them dirty.

The climate is very constant, and in December is really cold and wet. It rains a lot and it’s not strange to find snow covering parks and streets. But the snow makes a beautiful view for places like Sforza Castle

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I find the people from Milan a little bit weird sometimes. Usually they are open and talkative, but sometimes during the night (and the parties) it’s hard to see them in an open mood. I remember being with my friends shouting “Buon anno” (Happy New Year) and greeting everyone on the streets, and people were really reluctant to say anything back.

Nightlife in Milan is good, but maybe too expensive. For me it is complicated to imagine myself partying regularly in pubs or discos in there. Or at least buying all the drinks in there.

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I enjoyed my time in there, but there’s not really much to see in Milan, and in just one day you can calmly visit everything. I’ve already been there twice, and I don’t really think I would go back there if I have the chance to visit other places.

I would like to post pictures, but right now I’m away on a trip. I wrote this picture before leaving, but I forgot to upload the pictures, so… you’ll have them when I get back to Madrid.

Update 2009-08-14: Finally, I managed to upload the pictures :D

Milan Impressions:

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Sofia: Impressions

Last year (yes, this trip is still from 2008… you see how lazy I’m becoming about writing in here!) on the second time I visited Macedonia, I decided to make a short stop in Sofia (София) Geotag , Bulgaria.

Sofia is located in the West of Bulgaria, just near Mount Vitosha, and it’s the heart of the country in many aspects, such as administration, cultural, economy, and education. It has a population of almost 1,500,000 inhabitants, being the 12th largest city by population in the European Union.

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It’s one of the oldest cities in Europe, and its origins can be traced back about 7000 years, and before being known as Sofia, it had other names such as Serdica and Sredets. Due to its location, during history it has been conquered by several empires, such as the Roman, the Byzantine or the Ottoman.

I don’t know why, but to tell the truth, while I was in Sofia, it reminded me a lot of Madrid Geotag . Maybe it was because of the mixture in its architecture, and how the downtown is distributed, but I can’t say it for sure.

Sofia 2

During the time I was there, and taking into account that it was in November, the weather was a little bit cold, wet and foggy; but never to the level of being uncomfortable. So, nothing strange given the dates and the location of Sofia.

I can’t really say much about the nightlife, as my only experience in that was waiting for the bus at the central bus station. And neither about the people, as I didn’t really spoke with any natives aside from for buying things.

Sofia 1

So, for the little time I spent in Sofia (just 8 hours), I can say that I liked the city, and I would really like to go back to be able to enjoy it more. Also… come on, they use the Cyrillic alphabet (like in Macedonia, although in here it’s a slightly different version), which of course, gives the city some nice extra points, at least for me :D

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Summer Breeze

So, the Summer keeps going on, and plans and travels are just popping out from everywhere.

After spending two great great weeks in Bratislava and 4 amazing days in Vienna, I’m slowly getting back to my regular life. But not for long, as in just 6 days I’ll visit beautiful Budapest again (I’m really waiting for it :) ) and in less than one month I’ll move to Stockholm… I already found a place to live in there!

So, arranging all of this, combined with having a life, and having to work as hard as ever, is not letting me much free time for the blog, but I really hope I’m able to recover part of my previous writing rhythm. If not, well, in a couple of weeks you’ll see another post like this one, or like the one I published 3 posts ago, haha.

Anyway, I’m still alive. And happy :)

¿Me Pone con el Cielo?

Well, another book to the collection :D

Me Pone con el Cielo Original title: ¿Me Pone con el Cielo?. Author: Various. Year: 2008. Genre: Comedy. Language: Spanish. Read in: Spanish. Publisher: Espasa. Pages: 202. ISBN: 978-84-670-2963-5.

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Plot outline This book doesn’t have any kind of plot, as it’s just a collection of anecdotes that happened in the call center of a phone information service.

Comment without Spoilers The anecdotes present in this book are classified into different categories, and most of them, aside from being short, are more or less funny and curious, but not really outstanding.

The binding of the book is of good quality, being quite robust. The paper of the pages is quite white and they have a medium thickness. The quality of the printing is also good, being neat and clean.

This book is fine for a light reading or for when you don’t have a long time to focus in a more deep and intellectual book. Anyway, it’s good for having a nice time with it.