23-02-07

Oh what a flight

I guess the (g)odds were trying to warn me when I arrived in Oslo. I left Amsterdam in a temperature of 15 degrees. Taxi, airplane, taxi to hotel – and the fresh air in downtown Oslo felt great. So after checking in, I left my bags in the Hotel and went immediately for a walk, up to the castle up in Oslo. After 20 minutes, the fresh air felt like freezing air. After 30 minutes and walking around the castle, I noticed that they were building Ice-sculptures to celebrate the 70th birthday of the King of Norway. Now my face felt kinda numb. So I wanted to have a warm drink, but of course I had left my Norske Kronen in my room – and no money retriever anywhere near. So it was a really cold walk back … But it felt great!

 

Fantastic meetings, workshops etc – so now from Oslo to Denmark (Copenhagen). Due to heavy and unexpected snowstorms in Copenhagen, the plain had 2 hours delay (with us in it). But we finally left, but the weather conditions in Copenhagen were so bad that we couldn’t land… The main steward on Board was regularly informing us, and everyone in the plain was eating out of his hand, meaning: they had fun at every announcement… Some examples:

§        when, after 3 earlier cancellations to leave off, we got ready again: “For some reason our captain remains positive, so we’re getting ready to take off again” (half of the plain laughing)

§        when we couldn’t land and circled around for about 90 minutes: “Dear passengers, we may not be able to land in Copenhagen,  and well then go to another airport. In any way, we’ll decide soon because we only have for about an hour of fuel left” (hilarity all over the plain)

§        when we finally arrived, in the middle in a snowstorm, really horizontally snowing: “We are waiting for a gate to connect because it’s too dangerous to let you step out of the plain. It’s better for you, for the plain, and yes: also for me.”

Each time the Nors and Danes were hilariously laughing.

 

The person sitting next to me, same thing. When we were landing, and the visibility was absolutely zero, I was still watching outside. Then he asked: “Are you enjoying the view?” J

 

With about 5 hours delay the fun was not over. Half of the flights were cancelled, and thus all passengers at the airport were booking hotel rooms. There was a huge row of people wanting to take a taxi, when I asked information they informed that due to the storm there were few taxis available, and it would take 3 to 4 hours waiting in line.

 

“Sir, the best you can do is use the train and go to central station. Your hotel is just in front.” So with baggage and all I buy a train ticket, and after waiting 15 minutes for the train came the following announcement: ”Ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry to announce that due to the snowstorms we are closing down central station.” OK, it’s midnight now…

 

They only way to get transport was with a bus, and I was lucky to get one after about half an hour in an outside snowstorm at minus 15 degrees. An hour later, Arne’s still incredible modern realizations gave me a well deserved night rest. And to be honest, although it sounds maybe weird: I had fun getting here. Felt bit like high school again.

 

I just hope and wish that everyone is OK. Just today I saw on TV that the weather conditions were still quite tough- so my best to all over there!

 

The following morning early up and again fantastic and inspiring meetings, decisions and ways forward.

 

I’m coming back to Oslo and Copenhagen in some weeks, during week-ends and maybe spent a holiday here. Amazing country where nature is so close, precious and energizing to and for people. Femke should also discover these 2 wonderful countries and its inhabitants.  

 

bart

19-02-07

Hungarian grandeur

Over the last weeks I’ve been in many of the European capitals, but a city that never seizes to surprise me is Budapest.

 

It may be the mix of the classic and hip, the beauty of the city, the Donau that splits the city in 2 joint capitals, the Turkish baths or the overviewing castle, the majestic opera or maybe the wonderful food (especially when cooked by Gabor J, inside joke).

 

But the thing that surprises me most is the entrepreneurial spirit of the Hungarians. Take the internet for example. Hungary has the second mover advantage. The internet growth has come later, but the technology is more advanced. This also means that they don’t have old (web1.0) systems to keep updated, but most is reflected in a customer centric way, with emphasis on broadband.

 

Our own team is developing great services, but in general Hungary may become one of the trendsetters. Broadband internet, 3rd generation mobile services and IPTV: it’s all there and happening.

 

I feel an incredible will, a sparkling creativity and an entrepreneurial attitude that may be one of the advantages in the future.

 

To be watched. Closely.

Szeretem ezt az országot!!

 

bart.

19:10 Gepost door bart in Algemeen | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: budapest, hungary, greatness, opera, love, sbs |  Facebook |

12-02-07

Sport = Emotion = Life

Have been working all week-end (abroad), preparing for a congress, studying and finalizing quite some work, but this evening I had the luck to get tickets for the barcelona-racing santander match in Nou Camp. 2x Ronaldinho, and the return of Messi!

 

Fans, glory, emocion, unbelievable players, joy, football at its best … FC Barcelona – mes que un club…

 

Now we’re at it, 3 top sports moments I will never forget:

3. I’m in Barça today, so a double Ronaldinho: the impossible goal + the free kick ‘under’ the defense … and this message and this unbelievable clip.

2. the Belgians Tia Hellebaut and Kim Gevaert winning a golden medal at EK Goteborg 2006

1. weeks after winning the world champtionship, Paolo Bettini wins The Tour of Lombardia, a few days after his brother had a fatal accident …

 

As my good friend David always tells me: “Sport is emotion”.

And emotion is life!

 

bart

04-02-07

Ventoux - here we come!

Last year I finished the Brussels 20km, the year before I arrived at climbing the Sault side of the Mont Ventoux. I never suffered more than the last 6 km of that day. We were 12 to start, 4 to finish – and yes: I was by far the slowest J 2 hours and 30 minutes of intense but beautiful suffering. The last km even looked quite a balancing act: “how can someone climb so slow and still not fall”...

 

But some friends convinced me to participate in climbing the steepest side (Bédoin) of the Ventoux at June 9 2007. At this date, the Belgian Sporta organization brings 1000 Belgians over there, and some even try to climb it 3 or 5 times.

 

So this morning I had my first training session. Conclusion: need to start cycling at least every week-end, must throw at least 5 kilos overboard within the coming 3 months, and most importantly: find a rhythm to train at least 3 times per week … With a intense and passionate new job and quite a traveling schedule not that easy, so I’m pretty happy that I just found a sport school/fitness, just around the corner of our Amsterdam apartment – with opening hours from 7h to 24h.

 

Great incentive though: my dear Femke will join me. She started sporting a lot since her ski knee injury 3 years ago. She's actually quite a cycling talent, so I surprised her last year with a beautiful Bianchi bike. Some proper equipment is the least.

So we’re in it together!

 

Game on! Ventoux, here we come.

bart