Sunday, January 11, 2009

My personal world tour 2009, don't miss a show!

Last week I've made up mind about my vacation days this year. It required some planning to get the most out of the weekends with public holidays and the vacation days I have this year, but I think I made the best out of it. So here are my plans.

The whole "travel season" starts in April when the winter - hopefully - has found its end and its getting warmer again. Right in the beginning of April, I'll fly to Dublin. I've never been to Ireland before and this city is on my list of places I'd like to visit. I think I'll hang a little around there in the first weekend of April before I'll have a roadtrip over the isle over the week that follows. In the end of the week I'll return back to Dublin from where I take another flight right over to London where I'll spent the Eastern weekend before returning back to Zurich. Last year I already planned to travel to Irland for a week so I combine the trip with two city trips I planned anyway for the year.

Next trip will be a weekend trip to Prague on the first weekend of May. It will be a three-days-visit, where I'll fly to Prague on thursday evening and return back to Zurich on Monday in early morning. The good thing about this trip is, it doesn't cost my one of my precious vacation days since Friday, 1st May is a public holiday.

Already a week later, I found a really cheap flight to Hamburg (only 28€ !!!) where my mother lives. This week I'll work remotely the whole week and also I am able to attend her birthday celebration the weekend after that. I also planned to spent a couple of days in Stockholm this year. I've never been to Scandinavia before and I chose to start with Sweden and Stockholm. Originally I planned to fly directly from Hamburg to Stockholm, but I found a cheap flight over Riga with a 7h-stop right there. So I decided to make 2 flights instead and spent whole two days in Riga before jumping over to Stockholm for another two days. This will be on the Ascenion Day and the successing weekend, and I just need to use a single vacation day for the friday which is a bridging day. On the next monday I'll return back to Zurich in early moring for work as usual.

Up to this point I've booked most of the flights (7 of 9) and spent "only" 800 Swiss Francs for this, which is quite cheap considering the distances I cover - around 7000km! ... But that is also the reason for planning such a long time in advance - the flights on the public holidays-days are in high demand and get expepensive pretty early.

For the Pentecost weekend I have no plans so far, but maybe I'll spent the weekend in Amsterdam. I've been there once before but I liked it quite a bit there and would really like to go there once again, but thats not a fixed plan so far. Other options for this weekend would be Rome or Athens, I'll see.

Quite a big trip is planned for the end of June which is the longest vacation planned for the year. I'll visit a former colleage of mine from the Boeblingen lab who moved to Stanford in late 2007. Another colleague from the lab will most likely accompany me on this trip. Its planned to stay 2 whole weeks over there. This will be my very first time being far away from Europe (though I've been to Turkey, which belongs to Asia, but it was quite close to Europe) and I'm quite excited to see America respectively the USA :)

In the end of July, I will head north again up to a small village north of Hamburg for the Wacken Open Air which is the world's largest Heavy Metal Open Air festival, and its it's 20th anniversary, and I can tell, I am rather excited to go there, its my second "Wacken".

Up to this point, I'll have been to five cities I've never been to before: Dublin, London, Prague, Riga and Stockholm. Visited another continent (North-America), and by this I will have increased my personal number of countries I've visited by 6 (Ireland, England, Czech Republic, Latvia, Sweden and USA and will have spent most of my vacation days, leaving only more days.

And these two I will use to visit again a friend who lives in Vienna, where we also plan to take over to Bratislava, which is just around 50km away from Vienna, which will increase my cities-and-countries-Ive-been again by one. This trip is panned for late August or early September.

After all these trips, the cold time of year will begin a again, which I consider totally as best time for working.

And to close this post, I'd like to experiment a little bit, how "real" the Web 2.0 community can get. All the city trips mentioned above, I planned to do alone - so far. But I'd like to invite you, to acompany my along the way. If you live in or near one of those cities and like to meet me in person, drinking a beer or a glas of wine with me, guide me through the city, give me recommendations for places I shouldn't miss, offer me accomodation - feel free to contact me! Don't be reluctant, I'm keen to meet new and interessting people, IBMr or no IBMr that doesn't matter, and I'm quite open mindend and uncomplicated :)
For contacting you could use several channels, via comments on this blog, email me, send me a message on Twitter or in Facebook.

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