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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Solo Copenhagen

Copenhagen is clean, sophisticated, convenient, high  quality and a bit cold... kind of like me.  The subway is very easy to navigate and immaculate.  The Quality Inn was conveniently located a few minutes from the metro, the beds were very comfortable, the staff was quite helpful... it was quite unfortunate that the rooms smelled of sewage.  On the upside, I could see the ocean from my window!

My first day consisted of arriving at 7:00am, thankfully early check in with no issues, then jumping on the metro and heading to the botanical gardens.  After an inordinate amount of time on google maps, I was able to navigate by metro  to  the gardens and then to  the  Rosenborg Castle.  The streets in Copenhagen have a quite nasty habit of having 28 letter, infathomably unpronounceable names and changing these  cryptic names every block or two.  In a way, that made it that much more rewarding to figure out though.

The botanical gardens were pleasant, particularly, or perhaps especially, because they were free.  If I were  to be honest though, they didn't stack up to many of the gardens I have visited, if the St. Louis or Longwood or even OP Aboretum were a 6, this would be a 3. In fact, when I walked across the way to the Rosenburg castle grounds, I was immediately struck by how much more lush, established and well laid out these gardens were in comparison to the university botanical gardens.

The Rosenborg was very well thought out.  Long, finely graveled lanes led to beautiful sculptures or rose gardens or to the castle  itself.  By the time I got to the castle, it was raining quite steadily, so I welcomed the chance to duck indoors.  As with everything in Copenhagen, the  entry price was high.  Though the castle was small, I enjoyed it overall - especially the mirrored room and the treasury.

By the time I was done there, I was starving and exhausted.  I wandered  to city center, home of the longest walking road in Europe (or so they told me) and made the tourist mistake of choosing a place the  ir close and has an open seat - the Cafe Phonix.  I ordered a marinated Greek sandwich that was decent but way overpriced.  I then headed home on the metro and took a well deserved nap. An hour later, I pulled myself out of a bad dream and otherwise good sleep.  I took expatriot and coworker Rachal's advise and checked out the shopping in city center.  Rolex, Cartier, Burberry, insert-expensive-brand-I-don't-know-here.  It was cool to be walking free of worry of cars.  As I planned, I could check out a couple fountains and sights on the way home. I thoroughly enjoyed wandering from beautiful spire to charming canal to the next.  Few people were about so I got some nice pics of  the sights or the undiscovered views such as this.

For dinner, I took Danish coworker Christian's advice and headed to The Globe Irish Pub. The place was pretty well empty, but still had a nice feel and the Irish bartender took pity on me and coaxed me into drinking nasty traditionally Danish shots.  I had the chili at his recommendation and was glad I did.  

Well, I've been trying to publish this blog for two days but wifi and the blogger app don't seem to be playing well on my tablet.  I've given up on uploading photos for now.  I'll give it a shot from Barcelona tomorrow!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

S&OP Roadtrip part 2

I have to repeat the first line I opened my first blog with:  Sometimes my job doesn't suck.

Our March trip to my company's European offices was an overwhelming success.  Everyone involved was impressed and pleasantly surprised with how much more effective this style of meeting was over our usual one massive meeting in our main European office.  The first trip was comprised of 6 of us from the main US and UK offices visiting first the Paris office (Belgium associates joining us there) and then the Munich office (with Austrian and Italian associates as well).  With smaller groups, we were able to have candid, open discussions and develop focused plans that could tangibly improve efficiency.  I came home from the trip re-energized and inspired, glad to be contributing and wishing that I could focus my career on this sort of thing full time.

The meetings were so successful that it was determined that we needed to roll this out to our remaining European offices as well and that we should have these meetings yearly.  An opportunity to go back to Europe every year once or twice??  Oh, ok, twist my arm.  ;-)

The Globe Irish Pub "Tree room"
I leave Monday for Copenhagen.  I spend 2 days sightseeing solo then Alex arrives Wednesday night and we visit the Danish office Thursday and Friday.  I've never traveled solo before - sure I've flown by myself, no worries there - but I've never vacationed solo.  I'm sure it will be fine and might be liberating, but it's been niggling at me a bit.  I'm a very social person when it's people I already know.  I'm not good at projecting an open attitude and meeting new people.  Christian from the Denmark office recommended The Globe Irish pub.  We'll see how it goes! For other activities, I'm thinking the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek sculpture museum, Rosenborg Castle, and Tivoli Gardens (second oldest amusement park in the world).

Park Guell
Park Guell
Friday evening, Alex will fly back home to England and I'll move on to Barcelona.  Great friend and travel buddy, Marcie will be flying in from Kansas to join me for the remainder of the trip.  Our hotel is 10 minute walk to the beach.  Looking forward to checking out the Gaudi architecture, tapas, parks, and I'm sure with Marcie along there will be mandatory shopping!  We are going to have a blast!

Alex and Becca will fly in Monday morning and we'll meet with the Spanish office.  I'm bummed that Carolina won't be in the office!  She's a sweetie and tells me that my Spanish is much better than it honestly is.

Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
On Tuesday evening we'll fly to London and head to Southampton.  Lots of work to be done and information sharing to be had there.  On Friday evening, we'll head to Farnborough to meet up with dear Jenni who is graciously letting us stay in her flat through Tuesday and showing us around to such places as Stonehenge, Salisbury, Hampton Court Palace and has promised us a nice Sunday roast.  Can't wait!  Her flat is a 40 minute train ride to London.  Marcie and I haven't decided what we'll do there yet, but despite having been there 5 times, there's always more to see.  I wouldn't even mind seeing the Tower of London a 4th time.  One thing I do want to catch is the Tate Museum where there are a number of John William Waterhouse paitings.