When in Dublin – a spot of business, then get the Guinness in!…

Straight after London and our Thames Pathing and Mitre-staying, we headed over the Irish Sea to Dublin, where the IRISS-CERT conference was taking place. For those for whom that abbreviation is a new one, coming up is brief info. For those who came only for the Guinness – you’ll need to scroll down this post a bit!…

CERT = computer emergency response team: a group of highly-qualified experts who collect information about incidents of a certain kind in the IT field, and also their classification and neutralization. // We have a CERT in the company, btw, which deals with cybersecurity problems of industrial systems.

IRISS-CERT = Ireland’s national CERT. Therefore -> we’re friends with them and help them out – because only together can we fight cyber-villainy effectively!

The event was a modest one, but oh-such an interesting one. I took to the stage and did my customary ‘cyber-standup’ act, where I tell of serious things about serious cyber-problems, yet still the audience laughs – a lot ). Well, why not? Serious – yes; but who – ever – wants a PowerPoint sleepathon?

Read on…

The ornate topology of old English hotels.

It’s been a while since the last instalment of my tales-from-the-places-to-stay-side (hotels tag), mostly due to the fact that the places I’ve been staying in of late have been nothing to write home – or on a blog – about. But that changed recently, when we were in London!…

We stayed a night at the mighty Mitre hotel, which is right next-door to Hampton Court Palace, as it’s the perfect location for starting out early on the sixth leg of the Thames Path!…

A traditional English hotel:

  • Ornate if a little puzzling topology of the interior spaces;
  • Thin, steep, ancient, wooden, creaking staircases!
  • Old English musty-musky rug-and-fireplace smells (+ sounds);
  • You could shoot a period drama here with hardly any adjustments or decorations!

Read on…

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Another London +1: Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace.

My recent trip to London was a busy one not only on the business front, but on the touristic-walktastic one too. We got a central London walk in, and we did a new – long – stretch of the Thames Path. Along the way on these walks we took in the dominating Battersea Power Station, the inevitable Big Ben, and a surprising… Edward Snowden mosaic. There was another dominating architectural object we passed, which looked too interesting to pass up on, and which I haven’t told you about yet (didn’t want to break the stride of the Thames Path reporting). So here, today – quick rewind to it…

‘It’ being… Hampton Court Palace. Cue – architectural appreciation + historical education…

+ landscape veneration! ->

Read on…

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Only admiration – for Battersea Power Station!

Hi folks!

Still in London – we’ve done the nostalgia and we’ve lamented geopolitics, but we refuse to get down. So we go give London yet further inspection!…

First up – Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. And we’re headed waaaaay over there, along the riverbank ->

A somber note…

Alas, the famous red telephone boxes are dying out. This one’s even got… a tree growing inside it! ->

There’s even a branch growing out the top! ->

Secure bicycle parking:

This building always reminds me of the cool British film FAQ About Time Travel (not seen it? Do so!). The house in the movie is smaller, but it still looks like they could be ‘twins’!

We’ve already walked quite far (there’s Big Ben in the distance) ->

And in the other direction – Battersea Power Station comes into view…

Suddenly…

Wait. But… How did he get here?! It got me thinking – better to be on the outside on a wall, than on the inside behind bars…

Battersea Power Station. Cult object extraordinaire. What a beaut! ->

However, as my travel companion, OA, pointed out: ‘Such a dominating architectural landmark really deserves plenty of space around it’. Come to think of it – he’s right: the modern office-shopping-residential complex built in recent years next to it is practically flush – it does take something away from the grandiose aesthetic. Still, I’m no city-planner/designer/architect, so what do I know? )

The view along the Thames:

And another look back at Battersea, after the pink lights become more noticable. Hmmm. I wonder why they chose pink? )

Just one thing missing: the pig on the wing ).

The rest of the photos from London are here.

The Thames Path – a segmented analysis.

Traditions come in different shapes and sizes. Some folks, for example, every New Year’s Eve go for a monster banya-session (at least in Russia!). Some folks – particularly adventurous Russians! – spend a month every summer in Kamchatka or Altai or the Kurils or some other similarly awesome part of the world. Other traditions are localized: like my tradition every time I’m in the British capital…

My London tradition is a hike along a section of the Thames Path, which is nearly 300 kilometers long, starts out at the Thames Barrier to the east of central London, and ends in Kemble, Gloucestershire, way out west – almost as far as the sea in the Bristol Channel. I’d completed several stretches of the path before over the years – from its start at the Thames Barrier (in 2016), to Hampton Court earlier this year. The next section would take us to the western edge of the Greater London Built-up Area, or just outside Greater London (confused? Me too:), which is just inside the M25 London Orbital Motorway, specifically – to Staines Bridge in the town of Staines-upon-Thames in the county of Surrey, which would take my total kilometers walked on the Parth to almost 80!

You might be thinking that walking along a path may not be fully… appropriate for one’s localized tradition in one of the foremost cosmopolitan, glamorous, etc. capitals of the world… But you’d be wrong! (IMHO!). For this is… the perfect path! I just like it so much I want to walk it over and over (and I do repeat some stretches, as sometimes I lose my way or it’s too rainy; more in this below). Even the sections I’ve already walked (sometimes twice already!) – I’d relish the chance to be pals’ guide: that’s how much I enjoy it. I mean, it even has its own tag on my blog – an exclusive status for a ‘mere’ path ). But before I get into my walk-report on this latest segment, let me briefly go over previous segments, as a summary review/reminder…

First leg

The Thames Barrier to Cutty Sark. Here’s the detailed walk-report. I highly recommend a read.

The Thames Barrier saves London every time the level of the river gets too high. There’s an information center there too:

Read on…

A walk down memory lane in London.

I was in London only a month ago – but, since if you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life‘, I was back in the UK capital just the other day!…

And – just as I prefer it – we arrived with plenty of time to spare before our business program was set to start, so, naturally – first things first – walkies time!…

Handily, our hotel was in the center of the city – a stone’s throw from the River Thames and not far from Buckingham Palace – so off we set for some London side-street strolling. But before we’d hardly gotten started, suddenly…

…Hold on… I think I recognize that building. Yes, it’s the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, where – precisely (!) 10 years ago (November 2011) – I took part in the London Cyberspace Conference, after having been personally invited by the then-foreign secretary, William Hague!

Read on…

Southern Kamchatka: two more king-‘canoes: Kizimen and Kronotsky.

Northern Kamchatka – done!

Time to slither further down the peninsula to its bottom end, where there are just as many outstanding volcanisms as in the north – if not more…

First stop – another spectacularly splendid volcano: Kizimen, situated some 70 kilometers south of Tolbachik. Austere in appearance; climbing it… no thank you, I’d rather not risk it. For example, here she is in March 2013:

Steep sides, and lots of fumaroles at the top where special protective clothing and gas masks would be needed.

Read on…

My very first world expo: in Dubai. Hi-tech and polished, but in the long lines you will fry!

As you’ll probably know, I get myself to all sorts of exhibitions and events. Naturally most have an IT flavor. For example, there’s Hanover’s CeBIT (RIP); Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (where I was in June of this year); Interop in Japan; the industrial Hannover Messe and Innoprom in Ekaterinburg; the Chinese World Internet Conference; assorted regional get-togethers; the exclusive WEF conference-exhibition event in Davos; INTERPOL-World, and even modern art in an exhibition format sometimes.

So, yes – I visit plenty of exhibitions, knowing the ones I frequent inside-out. However, there’s one type of exhibition I didn’t know much about, for I’d never been to one. I’d always heard about them down the years, but never had a taste for myself. I’m talking about world’s fairs, aka world expos. There’s a reeeaaal long tradition of them, starting out in 1791 (!) in Prague, through 1900 in Paris, 2010 in Shanghai, to 2020 2021 in Dubai – where I happen to be writing this from. And yes – you’ve guessed it, now I know what the deal is with these world expos. And if you don’t already know the deal yourself, you will do by the time you reach the end of this post!…

What exactly is a world expo?…

Read on…