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Istanbul, land of turbans, spice and carpets

Entrance to small market

This is the land of cheap layovers on the way to Romania. Thanks to the invisible hand of the market, tickets to the airports that are close to where my fiancee lives were 50% cheaper when flying through Istanbul, with an overnight layover, than more direct flights. It was still cheaper when buying two nights in a hotel. So through Istanbul it was. I figured it might be my last trip alone, so it should be fun.

And it was. Istanbul is a very colorful and diverse city. You see all kinds of people getting along. And they have something us in the "west" don't have: time. Everywhere continue.

Paris Revisited

Pyramid from Louvre

After feeling a bit down under at home, I decided to go places again. Because I haven't seen my good friend Alida in a long time, I decided to go to Paris again. And this time not just for an afternoon. It made me feel un­com­fort­ably excited to have something in­ter­est­ing to do.

Because flying, with security checks and everything, is not much faster than the train, I took the latter. It's really nice to go with the TGV, to see all the cars whizzing by on the highway. But the numbering of the train cars was in­ter­est­ing: it was decreasing from 8 to 1, then you had continue.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Review

Lumix DMC-LX100

Back in April, after my trip to Geneva, I realized I needed a camera. Just using my phone to take pictures wasn't going to cut it. No matter how good cameras in phones get, they still have a small senzor and a fixed lens, so in many conditions they will produce worse quality pictures than a good camera with the same number of megapixels.

I had been thinking about buying a camera before that too, but then I started doing some research. Initially I wanted to buy a DSLR, but talking to some friends who actually know how to take photos, made me realize that I shouldn't. I'm continue.

BAP

The concert hall

The Royal Concert Hall

In September I went to Belgium to work in a Google datacenter, near Mons, for two weeks. I took the op­por­tu­ni­ty and used the three weekends to wander around and visit a lot of places, including three capitals: Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris (hence the title of the post).

I flew to Amsterdam on Saturday morning. The first thing I wanted to do was to visit the Google office there, but it was in a commercial space, which is closed during weekends, so I couldn't get in :(. So, as I was looking around on Tri­pAd­vi­sor for where to go next, one thing kept drawing continue.

San Francisco and the so called Mountain View

Alcatraz

Alcatraz, where my childhood favorite movie was set, The Rock

After a week in New York and another one in hot, humid Richmond, where I had a very blessed time due to who was there, I finally arrived to the official des­ti­na­tion of my trip: Mountain View, where Google has more employees then the number of people who live in my hometown of Marghita.

The trip there consisted of a long and quite stressful day, which started off with a rush and not getting a chance to say good bye to all my new friends, then my plane getting delayed, almost missing my connecting flight, scratching my rental continue.

The Big Apple

Statue of Liberty

Mandatory Statue of Liberty picture

The Big Apple. New York. The greatest city in the world, as every tour guide in the city will tell you every 5 minutes.

I went for a business trip to the USA, to Mountain View, California, but before that I took two weeks of vacation: one in New York and one in Richmond (before I get any more questions as to why on Earth would I go there, it was for a Christian Conference).

I was very curious to see New York for myself. I had heard so many things about it: some people absolutely love it, others complain about the insane continue.

Trip to Dublin

Samuel Beckett Bridge

Samuel Beckett Bridge

A month ago there was the first ever SRECon in Europe. It got together lots of SRE-like engineers (basically the people who are re­spon­si­ble for the software that is live, running in production) from Google (the host of the event), Facebook, Etsy, Splunk, SoundCloud and others. Because I'm an SRE, I had the op­por­tu­ni­ty to go there. With this occasion, I stayed two more days to have the chance to see Ireland and Dublin a bit more (yes, I know I'm terribly late with this post).

SRECon

The two workshops that I enjoyed most were drumroll about statistics (by Heinrich Hartmann) and about machine learning (by Adam Oliner) continue.

Weekend in London

The London Eye

I was oncall the week that ended in the long weekend of the 1st of May. It was a rainy weekend and I had to stay inside the house, during my shift, but because it was rainy, it wasn't very tempting to go outside even after it. So I decided I would take an extended weekend to relax after my shift and to get away from computers. I've always liked British culture and I also have several friends in London, some of which I haven't seen in ages, so I decided to go there.

The first thing that shocked me about British "culture": red lights for pedes­tri­ans continue.

Trip to Geneva: part 2

Entrance to Geneva Invention
Exhibition

On my second day in Geneva, after waking up quite late, Cipri, Alexandra and I went to the Geneva In­ter­na­tion­al Inventions Exhibition.

It is quite large exhibition, having 790 inventions, from 45 countries, displayed on 8900 m^2 surface. It wasn't entirely what I expected. It reminded me of Infomatrix, the in­ter­na­tion­al­i­ty of par­tic­i­pants (even more so here), all the people standing at their booths "selling" their invention, Budisteanu (a guy from Romania who was both at Infomatrix and here), and the huge variation in the quality of projects: some super awesome ones, that make you go wow, to some... that don't seem new, original, well-developed, and in some continue.

Davos

Napping in the sun at Schatzalp

Napping in the sun at Schatzalp

Last week I went skiing for the first time in my life. I said that I can't live in Switzer­land and not go skiing at least once. So I talked with some friends from the church I go to here and we booked rooms at a hotel in Davos.

Because I had never skied before, I booked a 3 day group lesson. God knew that that was a bad idea for me, because I have two left feet and an abysmal fitness level, and the group lessons got cancelled because nobody else joined them. So I took two afternoons of private continue.