Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Euro Road Trip Day 2 - Luxembourg to Lausanne

One of the reasons why I picked Luxembourg as a destination on this trip was its relative lack of popularity. This isn't because it's not a fun place - on the contrary, it's phenomenally underrated - but because it's not filled with the tourist traps of London, Barcelona, Rome and yes, Amsterdam. 
It was for largely the same reasons that I picked Lausanne, Switzerland as my second pit stop. Long in the shadow of Zurich, Geneva, Berne and Basel; I was curious to see this jewel on Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) and she didn't disappoint me.

Euro Road Trip Day 1 - Amsterdam to Luxembourg

I flew into Schipol Airport via Frankfurt, Lufthansa being my airline of choice these days. Technically, I didn't hit the ground in Germany - being in transit only - but as the first Schengen country I entered, my passport was stamped there, so I've added it to the list of countries visited. A small cheat, but who's counting? :-)
The funniest thing that happened was the German immigration officer looking at my Canadian passport and asking if I lived in Italy (I was born in Milano). Seriously, dude...if I lived in Italy, wouldn't I have flashed an Italian passport and wouldn't I have been in the line for Schengen citizens? 

Flying into Amsterdam was short and brisk, other than having to check in my second piece of hand luggage because the flight was "full". That completely defeated the purpose of my taking carry-on luggage only and forced me to wait an extra half hour at Schipol. Oh well - I was too excited about the trip to care about something that trivial.

I picked up this gorgeous Fiat 500 at Schipol. I didn't name "Claudia" until I hit a moment of inspiration while journeying through the Alps later that week, but she does look like a "Claudia", doesn't she? :-)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

How my random, spontaneous Euro Road Trip came about

May has been quite the interesting month for me - filled with non-stop action, multi-time zones and an absolute ton of things to see and do. In retrospect, I'd do it all again - except for Air Canada canceling my flight from Fort McMurray to Toronto.

It started with work - formally met the boss's boss late in April and got some great feedback from both himself and my boss, which naturally has led to even more responsibilities at work: leading a rapid results project team, as well as being the designate for the boss when he's away; all this in addition to my normal duties as the Plant Engineer for the oldest primary upgrading unit in the world. Extremely busy and challenging, but as Nigerians are wont to say in such times "We thank God". Some have food but cannot eat, etc...(if you don't know the tune, don't worry).

Given the foregoing, you can understand why I needed a break, which the opportunity of my sister's wedding provided - technically, two weddings as is common in Nigeria: a traditional wedding on the 12th and the church wedding on the 14th. Shortly before the wedding, I also came up with the idea of a road trip through Europe. The stage was set for chaos, adrenalin and yes, fun.