Tag: travel

Sunday Column (46)

England got me back!

Yes, I was in Germany for a week and if you followed me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know what happened.

I started my new job with the media optimization company mexad on Monday. On Monday night I was supposed to fly out to Germany with Easyjet from Gatwick Airport at 18.40. They announced the flight at 6 pm as “please wait”, and kept us in the unknown until about 19.40 and announced a gate. To summarize things: more waiting, a bus tour to the plane, waiting next to the plane, a bus tour back, more waiting at the gate, and a cancelled flight. Wow! Not a good start for a new job. Reason for the cancellation was that the pilots were refusing to fly as they were out of hours.

Luckily my new colleague could book me a flight with Easyjet for 7.05 on Tuesday. It costs a few pounds more but secured me a seat. Some people were waiting for several days trying to get home to Germany, and the que in front of me was horrendous. I got a taxi back home, spend a few hours sleeping and headed to Cologne on Tuesday, thinking it will be all good….

Cologne was freezing. Very cold winds, a bit of snow – just like a real winter. I managed to catch up with some of my study friends and overall had a really good time. By the way, the picture is from circa 1950 😉

The job started out well. For me it is a new area within a familiar field, e.g. display advertising and media optimization on ad exchanges. It is very exciting and I am very much looking forward to starting the UK representation for this exciting technology and company.

Now, to summarize the flight back: lucky and stressful! I was booked on the Easyjet flight leaving Cologne at 21.30. However, Easyjet cancelled a few flights from Gatwick on Friday and when I arrived at the airport, their representatives suggested that if I could get another flight, this would surely be better. They haven’t seen any evening flights since last week! We took the decision to book Germanwings last minute to Stansted, leaving at half seven. And, it was the right decision. I rushed to the train from Stansted to Tottenham Hale, then onwards to Victoria, and I caught the last train at 21.22 towards Faversham which stopped at Bromley. Due to the adverse weather conditions, they were operating an emergency time table, so if I had been at Victoria 2 minutes later, I had to walk or get a taxi. How ridiculous is that? No snow, some ice I admit and freezing temperatures. This country is just not prepared to cope with any winter conditions whatsoever!!!!

However, I made it home at last, got a cab from Bromley and arrived just after 22.00. The Easyjet flight, according to their website, left Cologne after all around 23.30, arriving in Gatwick around midnight UK time. With a taxi from Gatwick I could have made it for 1 am, however I don’t believe if I had waited, that things would have gone right. So definitely a wise decision that teaches me that Germanwings will be the airline to fly with in the future despite the Stansted travel annoyance!

Maybe I was panicking that I didn’t make it out of Germany – maybe not. Some flights were still going on Saturday from German airports, but some weren’t. The BBC reported on suggestions from the German government to embrace for a blizzard and to have food for at least four days at home – pictures can be found at Welt.de

Overall an exciting week. I am glad to be back at work, in London, and excited to see what 2010 will bring. I learned a lot about airlines, priorities and weather conditions. And, coming home was nice. Seeing the boy and changing his diapers, feeding him breakfast…what else to wish for.

Have a good week,
Volker

Sunday Column (3)

What a week. It went so quickly that I don’t believe it is Sunday again.

After us renovating the hall last weekend, the dust was still settling all week. However, it is nice to see what we are capable of doing in the house and how we can improve our living space with little effort.

Also, I am getting quite excited about my veggies and hope I can put them out in the garden soon. It is amazing how much they have grown already!

On Tuesday I went to the Social Media World Forum in London. An interesting show and conference but we only went for a few hours to listen to some seminars. Social Media Marketing is still not the biggest part of Search or Online Marketing but a growing sector. With Twitter being ever so popular at the moment, Social Media is becoming more important for the marketing mix. But, will it ever be a part of the marketing that takes off on its own? We will see what 2009 brings.

I keep reading the Razorfish Digital Outlook Report 2009. Ad Exchanges and Social Media are still the most interesting and the most to watch areas for 2009. Definitely something to watch out for in the future.

On Thursday I flew Ryanair to Oslo. We had our International Search Summit there, the first one outside London. Btw Ryanair, the flight was not too bad. However, the 2 hours to Stansted Airport and then 2 hours from the airport to Oslo in a bus were annoying.

The Summit however was great. What a great event. Good speakers, interesting discussions and good to see the Buzz in the Norwegian/Scandinavian Online and Digital Marketing world. Great to be connected here and we are all looking forward to the next event on the 14th of May in London.

From Oslo we took off to the North to Norefjell, about 1.5 hours drive. Admittedly, I had to look at a map to see where I am, so here we go:


View Larger Map

Scary 😉 I like Norway though. Not that I have seen too much, but the people are very friendly and the scenery is nice. And, we have snow here. Lots of snow. It is amazing. And, they can cope with it, not like in London, lol.

Here is the view outside my window, early in the morning:

snow-in-norjefell

I was supposed to go skiing this morning but think I opt for the safer option, e.g. to go for a walk. Not that I do downhill skiing anyway, but cross country skiing would have been good. The place we are staying is great. a nice little flat with a fireplace, our own sauna and self catering – ideal for a group to chill out in the snow!

What did I miss this week? Honestly, besides my wife who stayed at home, my cats. They have been cute lately and I have to say, they really grow on me. They are growing anyway but they get really pally at the moment. Hansel more than Gretel, she seems a little bit shy.

My wife sent me this picture whilst I was away:

hansel

And, she sent me a picture of our baby – the latest scan. Everything seems to be ok with it. We cannot wait!

baby-scan

So, summa summarum, a really nice week. A tat busy but overall really nice. Have a great Sunday night, good to be back home, sitting on the couch and chilling. Let’s see what next week brings.

Cheers
Volker