Sunday, 11 November 2007

Salalah-lala in the morning :)

It was one of these occasional countries i had to pass through on my way to the vessel...Oman.
The crew change was to take place in Salalah where we arrived in the afternoon and were basically leaving same day in the evening.

Me being me as usual, i couldn't let that city pass by without taking a look. Got a map from the hotel and off i went.

Salalah is a relatively small city by the sea, but it's on a pretty wide area, so it was long walking all around. The feeling is that of a normal gulf city, it's like being in the arabic part of Abu Dhabi, houses, shops, etc...

Nothing much to talk about there but the walk by the beach in the sunset felt really good and looked really beautiful, took my slippers off and walked barefoot by the water, i love doing that :) And that was regardless of the small crabs all over the beach, running around in sync with the waves...

The walk was long and nice until i got stopped by some soldiers because i apparently entered a prohibited military area, a fort right on the beach, nothing to stop you walking by really but those soldiers, and with my ipod in my ears, the guy had to run quite a bit :)

Then looking at my watch decided it's time to go get some food and rest before heading to the vessel, the KFC sandwich was warmly welcomed by my empty stomach :)

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Geneva...Banks, wrist watches and chocolate

It's been so long ago...
That's what i realized when i flicked through the photos i made in Geneva and realized i hardly remember names of places at all!
I took this trip together with Erik during my last office rotation in Gatwick, the plan was to go to a nicer place for the weekend. After considering the options of Vienna, Geneva and Brussels, the decision finally fell on the French speaking Swiss city.

The choice was natural for us since we wanted a relaxing weekend, small city, not much to sight-see, a place where you can sleep till late and still manage to see almost everything :)

Landing there Friday night, taking the train to the city center and realizing that the hotel is pretty close, we took a walk, getting a feel of Geneva, till we got there, checked in and went out for dinner, at that time the only open places were Chinese and McDonalds. Had a nice Chinese and about an hour later my stomach decided to do a somersault inside, the feelings were not nice at all, was so exhausted after fighting the pain for a while that i fell asleep in an instant!

Didn't seem like a good start but next morning was a new start on its own, i slept a lot and was ready for the day, started walking down towards Lake Geneva (Lac Laman), the weather was great, and that lake is really big. Inside it is Geneva's most famous sight Le Jet d'eau which simply translates into the water jet, and regardless of the claims on the internet that it's turned off for winter, it was actually running and it was an impressive sight, this things reaches probably 40m of height! And just before they shut it down i managed to take the photo above :)

Continued the walk till we crossed the lake and went into the old part of the city, which is also where all the cafes, restaurants, shopping places, different companies, etc... But wherever you go in the whole city: banks, all the Swiss watches brands you ever heard of and more and chocolate shops are a given.

The next must see in this city is the Cathedral of St. Pierre and that's where we ended up, you can actually climb the towers of the cathedral which gives you some very nice view of the city! By the way, that's where the photo above was taken :)

Memories start overlapping at this moment, generally there was a lot of walking around, saw Ile Rousseau which is tiny and it basically only has a statue of the writer. Place de Bourg-de-Four which is a very cosy pedestrian square with open air cafes and again chocolate, and with me being me, of course i didn't let that one slip away :D One thing i found very interesting is the little stairs and paths going underneath houses and buildings and taking you out on other streets or squares, really beautifully made.

Then the walk down to Place Neuve, which unlike Bourg-de-Four is a very big, busy with traffic square, where the conservatory, the opera house and grand theater live, here also is a big nice garden where you can play chess on huge boards (you walk on them and carry figures that are almost a meter high), and where you can see the monument of reformation (Calvin and the gang) aka the wall of reformation.

Second day, a long walk through the Botanical garden all the way to the Palais des Nations (Palace of nations, UN), more chocolate :) and a tram ride around the city before heading back to the airport, the weather picked up on that day though, and it was surprising how much movement you can get out of a relatively small lake like Laman.

And one of my personal favorites though, is the flower clock:
So two nice and easy days...Targets achieved, mood raised, back to the office feeling way better than when i left it :)