This year’s family vacation was spent on the Greek island of Crete, in an all-inclusive resort close to Chania on the north coast. Overall we got nice weather and an enjoyable pool-and-sun holiday, mostly staying at the hotel with a few excursions. In the following, I will go through some of the most surprising or interesting observations I made in Crete. Greek letters are cool, but I do not think we will go back to Greece any time soon when there are higher-quality places available (such as Spain).Continue reading “Off-Topic: Vacation in Crete”
I and my wife recently took a short vacation in Nerja in Spain, a tourist town on the Costa del Sol. Late February was definitely low season, which made for a rather relaxing experience without the huge crowds that would be expected to fill up the place later in the year.
The family and I spent last week on a cruise in the Mediterranean with Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCC). It was a wonderful vacation, and very family friendly. We did a number of shore excursions and got to see historical landmarks like the stadium at Olympia where the original Olympic games were held. Lounging by the pool on the ship was nice on our sea days, if a bit crowded. Service was fantastic, and you really do not need to think much at all about practical things while onboard. It just happens. Very relaxing. If I compare it to a typical all-inclusive hotel vacation, it is definitely higher quality with the added benefit of moving around and seeing multiple places in a week.
I am sitting at the Hyatt close to SFO writing this, hoping that my flight home will work today. I was booked on a Lufthansa flight to München yesterday which was cancelled. And the next available flight was the very same flight today. It is the late evening flight out of SFO to München, which I used since it gives a full day of work over here in the Silicon Valley without an extra hotel night. The obvious disadvantage is the lack of later backup flights in case something goes wrong. So here I am, at least 24 hours delayed. At least they put me up in a nice hotel, but only 30 USD as food compensation does go overly far here in airport land. Visited the Burlingame area, small bonus. Well, at least it is not as bad as the story Simon tells on his blog. Yet. It is not over until I am actually home.
The irony of their logo: … “there is no better way to fly”. Yes there is, and it is called actually flying and not canceling.
I write this on (cramped, poor service Economy class SAS) the flight from Tokyo to Copenhagen. The aircraft attendants just told us that there are some issues with the movies in the in-flight entertainment system, and they will need to take down the system and reboot it. This process is supposed to take some twenty minutes! Nothing to be upset about, really, and likely totally unrelated to anything important for flying the plane. But still, needing twenty minutes for a reset is a bit much for something like this… makes Windows look positively fast in comparison. I guess it has to do with initializing some 200 individual screen units.
Anyway, in the end the system was up partially. All recent feature movies were missing (but the selection of older movies was intact), and the forward and downwards-looking cameras were inaccessible. Apart from that, it appeared to function normally. Interesting that it can be partially broken like that.
I am just back from my first ever trip to Tokyo, and it was a very interesting experience. I am very impressed by the Tokyo train system, and I cannot understand why some foreigners seem to avoid it and use taxis instead. All stations have signs in English (at least all that I visited in Tokyo), and the system is mostly very reliable and predictable. There are some things that I would have like to know before I came there, however, which were not entirely obvious.
Continue reading “Travel Tip: Tokyo Trains”