There was no question that Tooloulou’s was going to figure on the breakfast agenda again this morning. After another fruitless hunt for the fabled free coffee in a lobby full of departing coach passengers, we gave up and rode the elevator down to the basement and took the car into the town centre instead. The reason for the early morning search for coffee is that the in-room facilities are a bit spartan on that front. Well there’s no kettle anyway. Instead there’s some kind of machine that brews coffee, but it looks like getting it running would be an enormous faff with paper filters and suchlike things, plus I am not entirely sure all the right ingredients are present. There’s no way I was going to be able to make a single cup of coffee with that and not make an unholy mess, so it felt safer to let someone else do it. This time I even managed to park practically outside the restaurant, which was nice.
Our first day in Banff dawned bright and clear… actually, I am going to stop writing that because practically every day on this trip started that way apart from one, so I’ll save the weather report for the wet day and you can assume sunny starts unless I say otherwise. If nothing else it’ll keep the tension going (or perhaps not). Anyway, the hotel promised us hot tea and coffee in the lobby every morning, but when I went to investigate I found it had all been snaffled by the members of the many coach parties that had arrived throughout yesterday afternoon, and whom were currently either busy breakfasting in the packed hotel restaurant or thronging in the lobby waiting for their transport. Bloody tourists. Continue reading “In and around Banff”
Another clear morning and another breakfast at Nellies, as per yesterday. Well, why change a good thing? After a leisurely bag packing session to allow the rush hour traffic to calm down, we checked out and dug the car out of the bowels of the hotel and set off for Banff, about 125km away. Getting out of Calgary was a doddle. It’s easy to follow the SatNav, sorry GPS as it’s called here, when you have a) an idea how to work it and b) an idea where you’re actually going.
We awoke in to find the morning was bright, clear and quickly warming up. The evening before we’d been placed high up on the 13th floor of the Sandman Hotel in Calgary but sadly the view from the room was mostly of other tall buildings. The hotel location though turned out to be a brilliant as it was on 7th Avenue and just across the road from the 8th Street CTrain stop. The CTrain light rail system services all of the downtown area of Calgary, (as well as the suburbs), but even more happily was free to ride in the central district that we’d need it for. But more on that later; breakfast first! Continue reading “Out and about in Calgary”
One of my great unfulfilled ambitions has been to travel to the Canadian Rockies. There have been two near misses in the past; way back in 1987 we took a family vacation to Vancouver, and from there we drove and sailed still further west over to Vancouver Island and Victoria, then took the ferry south down the Puget Sound to the USA and Seattle. In many ways this was an epic trip but it wasn’t the Rocky Mountains. A couple of years later an even larger family contingent flew to Denver, Colorado, where we hired two R’s and headed towards Estes Park and from there into the American Rockies. That was an adventure and a half too, but whilst the American version was spectacular (I still recall waking in the campground at dawn to a silent and mist covered Shadow Mountain Lake) it still wasn’t the Canadian Rockies. Well this year, exactly thirty years after the original Vancouver trip, I get to see them at last. This is the story of that trip Continue reading “Away to Canada!”
So today, the reason my job is paying for me to be here began. There’s not a deal you can say about the conference – one line summary is, I went, it was OK. Most of this year’s conference, the ‘theme’ if you like, is about a technology known as containerization, which is something we don’t do at all as yet. I find it quite interesting, brilliant even, but I struggle to figure out how we might deploy it in our current setup. I did manage to score a free mini-tankard from the HP stand in the dinner break though!
Down in the breakfast area this morning there were suspiciously more men in the 30-50 age bracket than there had been all weekend. Sure enough it wasn’t long before I spotted a LinuxCon Dublin tee shirt from last year, so it looks like my ‘business’ crowd are all arriving, with many of them choosing the Ibis hotel instead of the super expensive conference one. I had no idea what plans some of them may have had, but I knew what I was hoping to be doing.
I started my travels today by riding out to the Berlin Wall memorial, which is the longest bit of surviving wall. Getting slightly cocky with the transport system now, I took the U1 from in front of the hotel, swapped to the U6 heading north at Halleschers Tor, then off at Naturkundemuseum for the start of a 10 minute walk to the wall. I then messed this up by walking entirely the wrong way from the U-bahn for 5 minutes, which is about the time it take google maps to re-orient itself when exiting from underground.
It has been a funny day today, I think mostly because I’ve felt a bit off colour like I am starting with a cold or something. I didn’t feel ill, just not right and very, very tired. The weather didn’t help by being that persistent sort of spitting rain, on and off all day, and you’re never quite sure whether to have your brolly up or down. The tiredness wasn’t due to lack of sleep ‘cos the bed was very, very comfy. Breakfast was included in the room rate and was the usual continental mixture of rolls and cheese and cold meats and stuff like that (and yes, there was Nutella).
I do like flying from Doncaster-Sheffield Robin Hood Airport at Finningley; it’s small, human and efficient in a way that is totally belied by its polysyllabic name. That morning I had left my home in Sheffield at the scary hour of 4.30am, but somehow ended up airside in the departure lounge sat eating a bacon butty at 5.30am and wondering what I was going to do with the all spare time until the flight. In that first hour I’d managed to drive the 30-odd miles to the airport, park, walk to the terminal, check in a suitcase, clear both immigration and security and order, pay for and receive said bacon butty. Not a bad start to the trip.