LHR – TLV on BA: Not OK.

All right, here we go again…

Alarm clock; where am I?; hotel; shower; suitcase; taxi; airport; check-in; x-ray; ‘breakfast’ (sandwich and tomato juice); gate; window-seat. Here comes the first petty torture of this sunny day…: I find myself sat right above the wing – a filthy one at that; a really wide one at that too (we were on a Boeing 777). It was gonna be one of those days. It was indeed…

london-tel-aviv-uk-israel-flight-1

Oh well. No view? I’ll just have to get some more shut-eye then. It was an early flight – around 8am – so catching up on the ZZZs would be just the (air) ticket…

I’d just dropped off when I was abruptly awoken by the pilot. He was announcing that due to a technical issue we weren’t able to take off. Boo! Still, better safe than sorry. So we taxied back to our departure gate and all had to pile off and back into the airport until they sorted the problem.

We were sat there for two hours while they pulled out the defective part from the aircraft and replaced it with a new one. At least they had the spare part to hand, I thought.

We piled back onto the Boeing, ushered by the somewhat curt ‘British‘ BA flight attendants with strange accents.

Read on: Every cloud has a silver lining…

Another London Half-Marathon.

Hi folks!

Onward we march on our Thames-side hike. The other day you got the first leg of this day’s walk (taking in a cable car ride + Greenwich and arriving at the Cutty Sark); here’s the second leg.

After the Cutty Sark we came upon the entrance to the under-Thames foot tunnel again through which A.B. and I walked the other week. Not this time…

…This time we didn’t turn right and down through the tunnel, we carried straight on – along the embankment of the river. Why not we thought: the path was nice and smooth, there was loads to look at, the sun was out… even the clouds that day were worth photographing. Yep, no tunnel today…

Read on: Hup two three four, hup two three four…

Back Along the Thames to Greenwich.

What ho, folks!

I’ve been all week in London on business: two conference speeches; interviews, business lunches – all as per the norm. Also as per the norm – a little sightseeing fitted in for good measure. Just the other day I was real lucky that all the work for the day was to be completed before lunch, leaving the rest of the day for recreation. So that morning I donned the trusty ‘smart’ jeans, put my sneakers in my bag for changing into from my office shoes, and out we headed after the obligatory Full English :).

The morning’s work I mentioned consisted of a presentation given at Cloud Expo Europe. This was held in the enormous ExCel London, here, which I soon discovered was not far from the Thames, my fave river :). So it was Thames-wards we – my travel companion A. Sh. and I – headed after the conference…

From the exhibition hall it’s just five minutes’ walk to the Emirates Air Line cable car link that crosses the Thames – the one A.B. and I saw but didn’t have time for just the other week. So glad we had time this week as a short ride on it is just awesome. Highly recommended – if the sun’s out, like it was for us.

Read on: Back down to earth…

What Do Falling Petunias Say to Themselves?…

…”Oh no, not again?!

Oh yes. I know because it’s in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I quote:

“Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was ‘Oh no, not again?!’. Many people have speculated that, if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that, we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.”

I was reminded of that paragraph earlier today. I was on an airplane yet again and looking out of the left-side window down at the passing paysages below. ‘Oh no, not again?!’ I thought as I glanced at the map on the screen in front of me showing the plane’s trajectory: passing over Amsterdam on my way from Moscow over to London. Just the other day I flew the exact same route, only the other way round!

DSC04068

“Hmmm, a bit like the petunia, only the other way round,” I thought. I’m not sure if that’s self-criticism or an overestimation; physicists and botanists have different views on this topic, so I won’t comment. I’ll just say that coming in to land at Heathrow was just as it should be: with London fully in view through the window!

Over there is where my travel companion A.B. and I walked a half-marathon along the banks of the Thames last week…

Read on: back in Blighty…

A Vague Hague; but That Beach!

From Utrecht we headed back west, this time in a car, over to The Hague. It was time to be tried – not in court – but by detailed speeches: my own, the first at the International ISCC One Conference Protecting Bits and Atoms, but more about that in a bit.

On the eve of the conference I got in a bit of one of my favorite pastimes – strolling around the place I’m visiting on business – which this time was the seat of the Dutch government and parliament (not to be confused with the Dutch capital – Amsterdam).

So, what can I say? Overall impression, in one word: dull; in three words: a little boring. Though a coastal city with a wonderful beach (see below), it was just a little too quiet for comfort. But then again, it’s low season. Folks were few and far between both in town and along the coast. “Like at midnight in Norway north of the polar circle: the sun’s shining but there’s no one around,” my travel companion A.B. articulated. “Indeed, A.B. Or just like at midnight in Iceland,” I corroborated.

One thing I will say in the Hague’s favor: its beach is just awesome!

Read on: Visiting Kaspersky Lab BNL…

The City Where the Bicycle Reigns Supreme.

In London we hopped onto a plane and off we flew across the North Sea – to Amsterdam.

Not that we had long in ‘Dam, for we were whisked straight off to, first, Utrecht, then the country’s political center, The Hague, for a spot of business.

In this post: Utrecht – the city of the bicycle.

Bikes are everywhere here. No really everywhere – the place is overrun with them. And if you’re on foot you’ve got to watch it: a moment’s absentmindedness and before you know it there’s a bicycle bell trilling behind you hinting that you… kindly move out of the way (polite, the Dutch:). I think they should introduce caps with wing-mirrors fitted, which should be mandatory for all newcomers to the city, i.e., for all those not born here and so without the required special sixth sense for detecting incoming two-wheeled hazards.

#utrecht #holland #netherlands

A photo posted by Eugene Kaspersky (@e_kaspersky) on

Read on: The atmosphere = laid-back…

London Half-Marathon.

I normally do these here blogposts according to the following M.O.: if there aren’t many photos to go on, then lots of text needs to make up for that; if there are plenty of photos, I let them do the talking and ease off on the word count…

Today folks, there’ll be few words. That’s the thing about the UK’s capital: there’s always so much to see and snap. I was there at the weekend with my travel companion A.B. – also a Londonophile – and we ran a veritable photographic half-marathon along stretches of the banks of the Thames I hadn’t checked out before, taking in all the nooks and crannies along the way.

The night before our photo-marathon we stayed in my fave hotel in the capital: Ham Yard. Not the nearest lodgings to the Thames, but just as well: our warm-up in getting to the river took in St. Paul’s Cathedral – and of course we just had to get up to its famous dome…

london-uk-spring-stroll-1

Taking photos and videos is forbidden inside the cathedral, but the views from the top and also all around it are simply stunning – desktop-wallpaper-able.

Read on: Orchestras play alfresco…

Cheese & Pivo – in Tel Avivo.

All business done down in Israel; now for some R&R: a leisurely springtime stroll around a sunny Tel Aviv.

tel-aviv-israel-1

Spring’s the best time of the year in these parts, IMHO. Summer here is just oppressive – hugely hot and horrendously humid – forever reminding me of Bulgakov’s words: More than three hours had gone by since the procession had reached the hill, and although the sun over Mount Golgotha had already begun its descent, the heat was still unbearable.” Ok, he was referring to Jerusalem, but that’s only 50 kilometers away. But I digress…

Read on: Walking along the shoreline…

Back to the Old House.

Novorossiysk is also my hometown! I was born here 50.5 years ago. My family lived in this here building – 21, Revolution of 1905 Street – for many years. We moved away in the early seventies to Khlebnikovo in the Moscow Region, which is where I started going to school.

Here’s number 21:

In this yard I played in the sandbox, rode my first bicycle, and climbed the apricot and mulberry trees… Oh, the nostalgia!

Read on: And this is how the building looked in 2002…

Novorossiysk: the Best City in Russia?

The other day our executive director (E.D.) received a note with the agenda of an upcoming business trip of mine:

  • Krasnodar: meet with the regional governor, sign a cooperation agreement;
  • Krasnodar: meet with our Krasnodar business partners;
  • Krasnodar: give a lecture at Kuban State University;
  • Flight to Novorossiysk;
  • Novorossiysk: meet with our Novorossiysk business partners;
  • Novorossiysk: visit the city’s seaport.

Attached thereto was a receipt for prepayment of rental of a helicopter to get from Krasnodar to Novorossiysk. The name of the company that owned the chopper? Abrau-Durso – the well-known (locally) wine-and-champagne producer!

“Aha. I get it. And you call this a business trip?!” joked E.D. :)

Alas, there was no time for us to fit in a visit to the winery for a tasting. See, it was business, E.D. :)

The views from up above were rather spectacular:

Read on: A real nice place…