The year is about to end and I’m spending the last days of it in Prague, the beautiful gothic capital of Czech Republic. Since it’s also the last day of the decade, we might as well go out with a bang. And what better way than the herbal bitter Becherovka, a classic Czech brew.
Entries of year 2009
2009 must have been one of the busiest concert years ever. Perhaps in some way due to the decrease in record sales which forces the artists to hit the roads. Regardless of the reason I estimate that I visited about 80 gigs during the year, and here are some of the highlights.
I’m back in Amsterdam where they celebrate the Saint Nicholas’ eve today. This guy is the basis for the more familiar Santa Claus, but originally this eve was the celebration of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children.
About one year ago, it felt like a good idea at the time to cross a third of the world in 37 days. A 12000 kilometer journey by train, ferry, horse, bus, Shinkansen, tram, subway, taxi, foot and swan boat. Going from Gothenburg to Tokyo by train is one of the longest routes available. It spans across nine time zones and seven countries. The largest part is the Trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to the Pacific, the world’s longest railway with 9238 kilometers.
This book by Imogen Edwards-Jones tells the tale of a character who works on a big airline. It actually feels like a collection of anecdotes tied together by something vaguely resembling a storyline. For instance, we get ironic puns about how to get Semtex bombs aboard, details about the irritating boy band who sneaks away with the hosties in first class and how rude people gets tagged at check-in and later served food spiced with laxative.
Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall was opened and Germany was reunited about a year later. I remember reading about it on 9th of November 1989, maybe a bit too young to fully understand the impact of this monumental event.
I remember a day in 2003 when I first tried Phoenix, a daring offspring of the bloated Mozilla suite. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the horrible IE6. It was later renamed Firebird, then Firefox, and finally version 1.0 was released on November 9 2004. It felt faster than any browser I had previously used and I instantly found myself addicted to using tabs instead of opening new IE windows all the time.
The Aussie Brian Thacker is a tour guide and travel writer. The book covers his day job of herding tourists on a bus trip through Europe but is really a lot more entertaining than it sounds.
Anthony Bourdain used to be a chef at Les Halles in New York and rose to stardom after his book “Kitchen Confidential” in 2000. Even though this book may have launched him into stardom, it fell below my radar at the time. But I’ve been a fan of Bourdain ever since I picked up Nasty Bits in Singapore.
Apart from moleskins and iPods, a good book is an essential companion for long journeys. And what book could be better than one about travelling? I’ve read a fair bit of travel books in my days. Guides such as Lonely Planet provide great facts for a traveller while you’re on the road and have saved me on numerous occasions, but they are rarely inspiring.