Sunday, May 21, 2006

Shannon, Ireland

We didn't stay in Shannon, Ireland, long.  It was really just a re-fueling stop.  

But we did get to get off the plane and walk around for awhile.  Which meant we were there long enough to buy some souvenirs!  I got a soccer jersey, another t-shirt, and some golf balls for people back home. :)

Flying over Ireland:

When you fly private, you get to run around on the runway and the fields surrounding it :)

Re-fueling our jet for the flight back to Boston

One thing I quickly learned in Ireland:  EVERYthing is green.  Even the airplanes.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Paris, France

Paris was a quick stop just for a days worth of meetings.  I don't think I even got my camera out, actually.  Does it still count as being there? ;)

Monday, May 15, 2006

A Week In Italy

After a few days in London (most of which were spent working), we took off -- in the private jet, no less -- for the twon of Treviso, in northern Italy -- the closest airport to our destination for the week of Asolo.

We landed late that evening, and hopped on a bus/van thing to take us to Asolo, a small village kind of up in the mountains, about an hour away, where we would be spending the next week. 

Landing in Treviso

On the bus to Asolo  with Alberto, Amy, and Bill

My hotel room in Asolo
We pulled in to small-town Asolo, Italy, that night and checked in to our nice hotel.  My boss and some of his friends stayed up the hill at a nicer hotel (Albergo Al Sole), but the hotel I was at was pretty nice, too!  The only thing I don't like are the bathrooms.  Europe has NOT figured out the whole bathroom thing  yet...  Ours are so much better in America.  I mean seriously, how do you pee in a hole in the ground!? 

The reason we are in in Asolo is because my boss helps teach an MBA class for CIMBA - an international study abroad program.  So we all got to tag along for his week of teaching!  

The main courtyard at the school has flags from lots of schools that participate in the program.  I was pretty pumped to find a K-STATE flag in Italy!

I sat in on part of some classes at the school up the hill (a serious hill - it sucked to walk up there), but for the most part, during the days, I was just working doing my regular job remotely).

 Of course we had a few fancy dinners with copious amounts of wine - and we got go to a gorgeous house that belongs to a friend of my boss.  He had a huge wine cellar and I learned allllll about wine drinking.

Dinner with Amy

Me and a bunch of couples at dinner one night... story of my life. ;)

I have to say, the food wasn't near as good as what I was expecting in Italy.  I mean, everyone always talks about how good the food is in this country!  I had pizza and strawberry gelato every day because everything else sucked!  (My Italian speech is coming along nicely - I can order two scoops of strawberry gelato with 'please' and 'thank you' pretty perfect now!) 

Italy is just as pretty as all the pictures, though.  Although it's rained a lot here, it's still been beautiful.  Everything is very green.  Flowers in every window box.  Tiny little cobblestone one-way curvy streets everywhere.  Super old buildings.  It's just what you would think Italy would be like.

I should be an event planner after organizing this trip and keeping all those boys in line and on schedule  all week!

I did miss out on a day trip to Venice - it's only an hour away! - because I had to work.  Oh well.  I guess I'll just have to come back some day. 

The entire company - plus spouses - got to come on at least part of this trip to Italy, as did some investors.  So we put on a little presentation/event one of the last nights we were there.  Most of the planning was wrapped up in to my job.  (Accountants plan parties, right?)

Can you tell we run a China-based hedge fund?

On the flight out of Italy, the pilots let me sit up by them and they kind of explained some of the stuff to me.  There are at least eight thousand buttons up there!  I have no idea how they keep all of that straight!

In short, Italy was great.  It's a beautiful country - or what I got to see of it was, anyways.  I definitely feel like I missed out on a lot due to work - but hey, that's why I'm getting paid.

I'll be back to visit Italy again someday.  And not just one small-town... I want to see it ALL. 

Sunday, May 14, 2006

London - Day 3

I'll keep this email short.  It's been a lot of work and meetings here, but before we left London, we decided we just had to go out and have some fun at least once.  

So after another fancy dinner one night, we set off to find a bar to have some drinks at.  We found a "bar/club district" not far from our hotel, and sat down at one establishment that looked fun for some drinks.

Mike, Chris, Mark, me and Amy
 Now, I know Amy and I aren't super attractive or anything, but we couldn't figure out why NOT ONE of the guys there would even pay the slightest bit of attention to us.  It's usually not too hard to find some guys to dance with, or at least one who will buy you a drink.  But not at this place. 

It wasn't until I got hit on by a girl in the bathroom that we finally put two an two together.  We were at a GAY BAR!  Hahaha!  We eventually noticed that all the guys were talking/dancing together, and the GIRLS were the ones eye balling Amy and I. 

So, needless to say, we didn't get any free drinks that night, but we had a good laugh about our choice of club.  Makes for a good story, I guess. :)

Heading to Italy, via private jet, tomorrow!

Friday, May 12, 2006

London - Day 1

Well, this trip has been pretty much all work and no play.  But the first day we landed, I did get some time to walk around London and explore.  

Our hotel, Le Meridian Piccadilly, set in the heart of London's West End, was a great location to start exploring from.
Our hotel    (Not bad...)

Abercrombie & Fitch (Yes, I shopped...)

A museum...I think.

I found Hyde Park - it was giant -  and wandered from one side to the other.  It really was just gorgeous.  I like the idea of a big, serene park in the middle of a crazy city.

When I popped out on the other side, near Kensington Palace, the crowds were gathering. People hanging from fences and lining the streets...  I had no idea what was going on, but decided it must be something worth hanging around for! 

Apparently it was the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.  

This was as close as I could get to the action:

I didn't really see what all the fuss was about, especially since I couldn't tell what was going on, so I snuck off to keep exploring London.

St. James Church
It really wasn't too exciting of a day, but it was cool to be in another country for the first time (and driving on the other side of the road).  I had fun exploring on my own, too, since there isn't a language barrier here.  

After a fancy dinner that night, it was off to work the next day: more meetings with my boss.