Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Day 136: Time for holidays!

Yes. Summer has started and it's time for holidays.

England. The first place I visited was London ... and the occasion was wonderful - the 100th anniversary of an old friend. I'm not joking. Bernard was born in 1907 and had, sorry, is having quite an eventful life - being a broker at The London Stock Exchange, aviator during The World War II /a bomber from the war circled for a while over the party venue especially for Bernard/, founder of the Jaguar club, super golf player and last but not least father/grandgrandgrrrrr father of a big and happy family. He is amazing and full of energy, still follows The Champions League and discusses football. I gave him as a present a T-shirt of the English national football team with his name on the back and number 100 :-) He didn't tell us the secret of his longiness/дълголетие/ but I suspect the key is not to deprive of anything but do it with measure. /on the photo in the left I'm in the beautiful company of my friends - Lili & Silvi/.

Beside the party I managed to see two very interesting museums - The Imperial War museum and Science museum holding artifacts from different wars around the world or the crushed F1 car of Mika Hakinnen, or space costumes from Apollo expeditions. Have you asked yourself how astronauts go to the toilet in space /the answer - at the end of this post/ :-)


Holland.In the middle of June Toshko visited me with his family - Monica and Mitko. Toshko was as enthusiastic as always and I think they spent their time very well and saw most of the spectacular places in Rotterdam/the port and the tall tower/, The Hague/Madurodam - the Holland minimodel/ and Amsterdam. I could join them during the weekend and we had a nice trip with a small boat through the channels of Amsterdam and a one day excursion to Zeeland - the part of Holland that is separated from sea with dykes/диги/. Mitko was super funny :-) ... and Monika made great dinners rescuing us from starving to death. Thank you people.


Croatia. Ok. This one was a challenge. I decided to join my chess friends and go to a chess tournament held in the town of Pula, Croatia. I already can't remember why I've chosen such a strange route to go there - I took a plane from Belgium and landed in Slovenia. The Bruxelles airport is not so far from Rotterdam and the Slovenian capital - Ljubljana - is closer to Pula than Zagreb to Pula. The only thing I missed was that I was crossing several countries and everything might not go smoothly.

It took me 18 hours to get from my bed in Delft to the tournament hall in Pula. Don't ask for the transport, it was something like this - tram from home to Delft train station, train to Rotterdam, train to Bruxelles, bus to the airport/remember there are 2 airports at Bruxelles!!!/, airplane to Ljubljana, changing car/bus/taxi to go Ljubljana center, bus to Rijeka/Croatia, bus to Pula, taxi to hotel. Don't worry if you've missed somewhere the connection. So I woke up at 6:00 in the morning in Delft and was in Pula at 0:00.

Landing /saying "landing" ... it was a weird landing, although the plane was a big A380 it landed so hard and difficult? that the pilot received passengers' applauses after that/ in Slovenia I've immediately noticed two big differences between Holland and The East - the weather and people's politeness. I was hit by a warm wave going out of the plane. The Dutch summer is pretty different - 20/25 degrees, rain, clouds, wind, sun, rain ... People's politeness - merely they don't care about you. For example, in Ljubljana I was asking the lady at the information desk about a bus to Pula but she several times looked at me surprised and told me there was no such bus. I started to think where to spend the night in Ljubljana when an officer told me that there was a bus to Rijeka which is some 100 kilometers away from Pula ... or in the bus I was asking if this was Rijeka when the driver only lifted his shoulders showing he didn't understand a word and made a grimace to go away/it's strange that Slovenians and Croatians don't understand Bulgarian but I could understand them - their languages are like a Bulgarian dialect, very funny to listen them. Learnt "hvala" which means "thanks" or "rachun" which means "bill"/. You buy a ticket for the bus but before you get on they want another 2 euros for your luggage :-) ... I also had to wait 20 minutes for an orange juice ... first impressions were not very good.

Arriving at Rijeka, Croatia, was even worse. Bus drivers were even more unpleasant, people at the information desk had never heard that there is such language like English. At some point I switched to something between Bulgarian/Russian/Serbian language but only English words appeared in my mind. To sum up, I felt that situation in Slovenia is a little bit better than Croatia ... but I think that Bulgaria will surpass them both in the near future.

Finally about the chess tournament - ok, forget about it, I made a kind of an experiment about whose result I'll tell you after some months. I concentrated over the beach and the sea. The water was perfect/more salty than that in the Black Sea/ but there is no sand, you have to lay on rocks. The resort is very beautiful but I expected to see more people. At night we spent the hours in a "80's type" veranda restaurant where you could listen ABBA and Boney M :-) or in a small discotheque with not more than 20 people. Can you compare that to Sunny Beach/Bulgaria for example? Anyway, it was entertaining to watch Norwegian girls dancing or listening karaoke singers.

Going back I missed the last train from Belgium to Holland and had to spend 6 hours in night Antwerpen /Amsterdam 6:33/. I can tell you about all open cafes in late Antwerpen and the history behind the railway station - it was built in 1905 and is a typical representative of Barock architecture ... hahaha ... in the morning met in the train Catriona - a colleague from Tam Tam. She was going to the office from Rotterdam. I was going also to the office but from Pula, ups where was that :-)

Ok. At the end some photos ...