Last workday at TOPdesk

Friday, 4 September 2015

It is over.

After almost 9 years, it is time to say goodbye. It was fun! 🙂

Today I also said goodbye to Vatan, where back in 2006 I ate my first turkse pizza met doner for dinner.

Last turkse pizza met doner at Vatan

And all our stuff is gone to Barcelona! Weekend in an empty apartment. Hope we can relax a bit before the flight. 😉

Fins aviat Barcelona!

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Barcelona, here we come!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Hello friends!

This blog will soon no longer talk about “experiències d’un solleric per Delft”, because we are moving to Barcelona. For real! 😀

Barcelona here we come

We have been busy for quite a while with job interviews, looking for a new home and a “llar d’infants” for our little princess, and arranging to relocate all our stuff. Now is time to announce what has been going on.

After several years enjoying the hospitality of the Netherlands, with its pros and cons, we have decided to move to a warmer land. We will for sure miss a lot of things: good friends and colleagues, cheese, green fields, my 1l yogurt pack with muesli, the quiet life in Delft, the bikes everywhere… But we are also excited to start a new adventure and continue with our careers in a big city next to the sea and the mountains.

We will move around the 9th of September:

  • For those in Delft, let’s catch up soon before we leave. 😉
  • For those everywhere else in the world, let’s meet in Barcelona!

Hugs and kisses,

Xesc, Adri and Elena

 


Primer paseo por el norte de España

Friday, 27 December 2013

Bueeenas!!!

Para celebrar anticipadamente nuestro matrimonio y el nacimiento de nuestro primer hijo, este año nos fuimos a pasar unos días por el Norte de España. Visitamos el País Vasco, Cantabria y Asturias.

Y para celebrar el fin de año, nos gustaría compartir la experiencia con nuestros fans.

Todo empezó reservando un vuelo barato al aeropuerto de Bilbao, un coche de alquiler, y varios hoteles. Y luego, a disfrutar! 😀

San Sebastián

Después de recoger nuestro flamante Citroën C3, hicimos una parada técnica en Zarautz, dónde hay el famoso restaurante del Arguiñano (ya le mostré un par de capítulos a mi señora, y se muere de la risa). La playa está impresionante. Creo que MennoB estaría mega feliz surfeando en esas olas. 😉

Tux and Manuel at Zarautz

La primera noche la pasamos en San Sebastián, una ciudad acogedora, aunque el alojamiento deja un poco que desear. No pudimos encontrar ningún hotel decente, y revivimos nuestra época de jovenzuelos en una hostal con una cama “destroza espaldas” (y a precio de hotel de 4 estrellas).

San Sebastián

Lástima que el segundo día lloviera, porque las vistas son impresionantes. Aprovechamos para ir de compras y revivir la economía española. Después de mucho rogar al fin me compré un par de vaqueros y una chaqueta elegante. Mi mujer está la mar de contenta. 🙂

Gijón

El viaje más largo fue camino a Gijón. Nos paramos en Santillana del Mar, un bonito pueblo de aspecto medieval, que en esos momentos estaba bastante despoblado. Aunque creo que estuvo bien. Odio cuando hay demasiado turista husmeando. El lugar respiraba tranquilidad. 🙂

Santillana del Mar

Luego se nos ocurrió al brillante idea de seguir al GPS y nos adentramos por una carreterita camino de los Picos de Europa. Supongo que sería para evitar la autopista. A mi me gustó el paseo pro las montañas, aunque a mi señora se me asustó un poquitín y quería bajarse.

(no hay foto por estar el fotógrafo conduciendo)

Cuando finalmente llegamos al hotel Hernán Cortés se nos abrió el cielo. Nos dieron una habitación super amplia, con un baño gigantesco y un armario en el que uno podía vestirse dentro. Super recomendado!

Y luego fuimos a cenar a una estupenda sidrería-restaurante, llamada La Galana, donde comimos auténtica fabada asturiana y unos medallones de ternera riquísimos. Y yo me tomé una sidra escanciada. Rica. 🙂

Muséu del Pueblu d'Asturies

Al día siguiente nos fuimos con los niños a visitar el Muséu del Pueblu d’Asturies. Una buena opción para visitar con niños, y para aprender de las costumbres y tradiciones asturianas.

Santander

La siguiente parada, Santander, no fue tan espectacular como creíamos. Quizás fuera el destino que hubiéramos podido saltarnos. El hotel no estaba mal, pero la ciudad, aparte de la Península de al Magdalena, no nos apreció muy interesante.

Palacio de la Magdalena

Lo que sí nos gustó fue Llanes, donde hicimos una parada técnica. El mar y los acantilados estaban preciosos, y aproveché para sacar unas fotos. Nos encantó.

Llanes

Bilbao

De camino a Bilbao, nuestro último destino, nos paramos en Castro-Urdiales, una parada que también podríamos haber evitado para dedicarle más tiempo a Bilbao, que resultó muy interesante.

Pescando en Castro Urdiales

En Bilbao nos quedamos dos noches en el Ercilla, un hotel moderno y muy confortable, aunque sólo aprovechamos un día entero en la ciudad.

La primera noche fuimos de tapas y a comer a un buen restaurante, y al día siguiente visita obligada al Museo de Bellas Artes (con muy buenas obras) y luego al Guggenheim (que es muy espectacular por su arquitectura). Lo que más me gustó del moderno museo bilbaíno fueron las esculturas de Richard Serra, el The Matter of Time.

Hombre paseando

Lo que nos queda por ver

En resumen, lo mejor fueron Asturias y Bilbao. Asturias por la amabilidad de sus gentes y por los paisajes, y Bilbao por ser una ciudad dinámica y ala parecer con buenso transportes públicos, y buena comida.

Nos gustaría volver y visitar algunos pueblos más de la costa Cantábrica. Y sin duda nos queda por ver Galicia, otra región muy recomendada por mis padres.

Más fotos, como de costumbre, en el set de Flickr.

Feliz año nuevo a todos, y hasta pronto!


Until next time, Japan

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Dear fans,

Thanks to my patient girlfriend, who has been watching ALL 2500+ pictures during this weekend, I’ve made a selection of 500+ photos to show to friends and family, and from that I’ve uploaded a bunch to my Flickr account. Further post-processing may follow after Christmas.

Xesc next to the floating tori of Miyajima

The whole Japan trip has been a wonderful experience. I’ve met fantastic people during my trip, survived all challenges and recovered from all my little mistakes. I would love to write about all my experiences, but since I came back to Delft a lot has happened (very good things indeed), and I’ve had no time to maintain this blog. Let’s chat about my stories next time we meet with a glass of wine or a beer. 🙂

Until next time, Japan

I want to thank all of you who supported me in this adventure, especially Adri, who gave me the final “empujoncito” to book the flight.

ありがとう!

Enjoy the rest of December and see you next year!


About JR trains

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Japanese trains need a dedicated post.

What makes them different?

  • Unusually punctual.
  • They arrive to a specific spot marked on the floor.
  • People queue in order to take them.
  • There are 2 fares: line fare and seat fare.
  • There are different cars with reserved and non-reserved seats, and sometimes an extra green car (first class).

All this does not necessarily apply for local trains, which share the tracks with express trains. They are a bit more confusing, as you may have learned from previous posts.

Shinkanzen are another world. They have dedicated tracks and ticket counters. They are big and look like a plane, both on the outside and the inside. I mean, they are like a plane, but you have room for your legs and your bags! 😛

They are extremely comfortable, and you can charge your phone or laptop on them. Cool, isn’t it?

People do lots of things on trains:

  • Sleep
  • Read
  • Eat
  • Write posts

About eating, it saves time to buy a lunch box and have breakfast or lunch. I do it all the time! 😀

Writing posts is also relaxing. At the beginning I also used it to plan my next trip, but I prefer to do it with Internet access at the hotel.


Matsumoto, or how to build up patience

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Update uploaded extra pictures, but still need to edit them

Mina san,

This is the third episode of my adventures in Japan. This is no longer a mere trip, but a complete adventure full of incidents.

After resolving my camera problem at Nikko (see previous chapter), I took the Nikko line back to Itsunomiya, then several Shinkanzen and finally a local train to reach Matsumoto, one of the doors to the Japan alps.

I arrived quite late, as the train trip took around 3 hours, but fortunately the innkeeper came to pick me up at the station.

That was very kind, and necessary, as the ryokan is not really at walking distance from the center. However, it is worth to come here, and I should have booked an extra night. Staff is really kind and helpful (they lend me a power adapter), and I got a real Japanese room with tatami, complete tea set for the 3 of us, big bath and bikes free to visit the city or the nearby onsen. Wonderful!

After recoverinvg from the trip (ofuro and cup of tea), and immediately realizing that I should spend more time here, I decided to go for dinner. First I walked, but “rectificar es de sabios”. The only con of this ryokan is that is far away from the center, so use the bikes! 😛

BTW, riding on the left was a whole experience! And riding on an old bike a plus! Hopefully it was one of the best they had.

After walking around, I decided to enter the Izayaka Bun, one of the recommended. I ordered Kirin stout, rice with micro sardines (aqui lo de “pezqueñines, no” no ho entenen), okonomiyaki, and for the second round, eggplant with cod’s roe and chicken with vinegar. Delicious.

Then I went back, and as usual, I got lost. Hopefully I had a map to find my way back, but I thought I was too far and turned back when I shouldn’t. Ains… I’ll never learn.

Anyway, I arrived safe at 23:00. But still unsure about what to do next day. When I asked for information about the alpine route at the station, they told me that Murodo road to Tateyama was closed, making inviable my trip.

Another option was to go to Kamikochi, but it will also be impossible to get back to Takaoka on time.

So I could still visit Matsumoto wonderful castle and walk around sightseeing.

That is what I have done this morning, even though I woke up early (6:30), still nervous and wanting to go to the alps. During breakfast, the daughter of the innkeeper has told me to forget about the alps. Weather is too bad to go there, and there are no nice views. I should go in september.

I could still try Kamikochi, but going from Takayama is longer. Ains… We have to come back.

That said, I checked out and she brought to the station. The visit to the castle was worth the walk, but I didn’t listen to her advice of checking train timetable before going, and I found myself in despair waiting for the 12:10 train.

Worse is yet to come. While the local train trip to Nagano was awesome, the second local train to Naoetsu started to despair me, but yet worse was to come. Instead of the 15:25 express train to Takaoka, I took the 15:18 local to Nagaoka (oppositr direction). Something was wrong, but I couldn’t tell until I saw the Japan sea at my left, when it should be at right.

I had previously asked a lady, so I thought I had only taken a local instead of express.

I’ve corrected my mistake, and I’m headed to Takaoka, but I wonder what else can happen. Time is now 17:03. I should already be eating dinner!

Lessons:

  • ask for timetable always
  • double check train track and time
  • do not ask old ladies
  • eat properly!

Tomorrow I’ll tell you more about Takaoka. Let’s sleep an hour. 😉


Nikko and The Incident

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Hi folks!

Just a little update. I will write in Catalan to speed it up. Japanese keyboard doesn’t help much.

Dimarts va esser un dia gris. Per comencar va ploure. I me vaig perdre un parell de vegades, i llavors va resultar que vaig passejar el karategi per res, perque la JKA és molt elitista i nomes accepta membres.

Update: several days later, I’ve been able to find an “almost” proper PC to blog. However, pictures are not yet available, as I can’t read my SD cards. Sorry for that. 😦

After a greyish day in Tokyo, I enjoyed a wonderful sunny day in Nikko, the essence of Japan:

Nikko is Nippon

However, an incident ocurred which needs to be mentioned. When I arrived at the Nikko Turtle Inn, my first Japanese accomodation, I was so excited filling in the check-in form, that I removed my backpack and camera bag without correctly checking if the camera was secure.

Imagine what happened.

Yes, my lovely cuchi cuchi little toy fell on the ground. I picked it up and continued registering, but when I went to the waiting area, I discovered that the bayonet lens hood had been incrustated in the lens, blocking the zoom.

I was in great despair, and tried rotating it to remove the bayonet, but I made things worse, as now the bayonet was blocking a corner of the lense. In fact, I thought the lens was damaged.

I asked the innkeper a place to repair, and they indicated me a shop downtown. I decided to go later and first visit Nikko’s temples and shrines.

I went up, and up, and up, and at a certain moment I was wondering if I had taken the correct route. Sights were beautiful, but looking at the map I should already have seen som temple. Some kind Japanese, told me I was near (name shrine). Some steep stairs took me to a wonderful and quiet place, and then I discovered the way down, down, down.

Aja! So here is where all the tourists were. I was thankful I had been able to visit a peaceful place before. Here it was crowded! 😀

Japanese devotion is interesting. They write wishes on pieces of paper (200 yen each), and hang them in trees, or special wood constructions. They also have fountains, and they throw coins inside the temples.

Atmosphear is breathtaking. I took lots of pictures, and I even hanged my wish.

When I was descending to town, I met a young couple from Vitoria (Spain), who were completing their trip around the world. They had arrived to Osaka from Shanghai, and were leaving to Tokyo. We had a nice conversation in Spanish, and they gave me some tips about cheap accomodations.

After getting lost several times, I found the camera shop, but it was small and could not repair it. Tokyo, they said.

I felt a bit sad. And hungry! So I looked for a restaurant. Difficult, but I found a cheap place where they made huge bowls of noodles. I ordered miso noodles and a regular pint of beer. Yummy! 😀

Then I walked up again, hating myself for not taking the bus (and for breaking the camera too, of course).

Anyway, when I arrived at the inn, first thing I did was take a bath, called ofuro in jp.

Oh, that healed my spirit! Breakfast next morning was also relaxing. I took western breakfast, but with jp style. Peaceful music and relaxed.

After that I checked out and went to see the Bakejizo, stone figures, and played with my camera effects. Nature is also much worth the visit. Then I wished I had more time, because I discovered a 4-hours hiking trail up there. Next time we’ll do it. I can assure the sights must be fantastic! 😉

I enjoyed the way back, and then I went to the police to ask them if there was a shop where I could find tools to remove the bayonet. As you can imagine, I could not sleep trying to figure out a way to solve the incident. It ocurred to me that I could use a saw to slowly remove the f*** bayonet.

The visit to the koban (police station) was hilarious. Their english was practically inexistent (as well as my Japanese), but yet we found a way to communicate (by waving my hands and showing them my broken camera). I borrowed some tools to break the bayonet, and then tape to fix it again. Sugoi desu ne!

I hope you didn’t think I will be defeated so easily, did you? 😛

So Nikko episode finished well, and I learned some stuff:

  • Be always careful with the camera, and close the bag immediately.
  • Use buses when possible, reserve energy for later.

After 3 days in Japan, I’ve noticed that my spirit (estat d’anima) changes a lot. During the day I’m happy and excited sightseeing, and when I arrive at the hotels I’m exhausted and feel lonely. I need to share what’s happening to me. I miss my family and friends, and sometimes I regret I’m doing this trip alone. The more the merrier!

However, I think it is a good experience, that needs to be done alone to perfect ny character. Let’s see what I will learn today on my way to Matsumoto.

BTW, did you know that all packed food has its kcal on it? That way is easy to know how many calories do you eat. Let’s see… 540kcal d’uns fideus, i encara me queden 230kcal d’un sandwich i 531 de no se que mes. Ah, i el suc de taronja, 123kcal. In total, more than 1400kcal. Ok for lunch, but I still need more to reach my daily minimum 2500kcal. :D~

That’s all from my trip to Nikko. Stay tuned for the next episode: Matsumoto, or how to build up patience

PS: Of course, photos will be available at Flickr as soon as I can extract them from my camera (yep, I should have taken a cable with me… sorry for that). 😉