Tag Archives: winter

Thanksgiving 2017

Bit of a last minute arrangement this year, decided to go visited my Czech friend this year in the Bay Area (California) for Thanksgiving. Starting off with a typical American turkey, stuffing, bacon and beans, raspberries and gravy. Great cooking! The weather during the Thanksgiving weekend was lower 60ies to higher 70ies. Perfect for some hiking and sightseeing.

Friday we visited the Golden Gate Bridge, which was cool. Followed by Muir Woods National Monument, where they have the famous Redwood trees. Many Redwoods in this national park area are 900-1300 years old, and among the oldest living things on this planet. Where their cousins the Sequoia are growing wide, Redwoods grow tall. Very tall. The Cathedrals of trees.

Then Saturday we drove to Napa Valley. Visited the Sterling vineyard. Some of the best white wines I ever had there. Also took some pictures of the 10 year old historic castle.

10 year old historic castle

To conclude the Thanksgiving weekend, on Sunday we went whale watching in Monterrey. It was awesome. We saw hundreds of seals, all kinds of birds and 2 types of whales. In total we estimate there were between 12 and 16 whales. With a total of ~50 sightings, if not more. We saw several whales breaching, hunting for food. Saw magnificent tails in the water. A good 3 hour boat trip was not the most pleasant for everyone on board, but the trips was well worth it!


Orlando, FL

A quick trip to Orlando Florida, just because I can. Decided to visit Orlando for 2 days, needed a quick trip for my miles (I know for those who are not traveling all the time, this sounds totally ridiculous, but trust me, this is going to save me hours in check-in and makes travel for work a lot more comfortable for 2017.

Perfect start in a plane packed with children, with an upgrade to 1st class. Always nice, even if only an hour long flight. I left Atlanta with ice on my car windows, I got off the plane in Orlando around 68F (18C). Ticking off another state from my travel map, and fairly certain I will be back. Decided to check out Sea World. Wanted to see the Killer Whales in action before they stop having shows, due to haters who dislike people enjoying experiences they could typically not have. Travel tip for  people visiting Sea World: During the last weeks of the year you can buy a “fun pass” at the same price of a normal ticket that allows you access to the park for the next year (this year even 18 months). So basically during the holidays you can visit every day, for the price of 1 day. Also good to know, is that literally everything is in the Christmas spirit. My mind can only handle so much Christmas songs a year, and I got well past that mark this year. The lines were not that bad, and I could visit every attraction I wished and see every show I wanted (actually saw the Killer Whales twice, once in a “normal show” and once in the “Christmas” show).

The second, and last, day I went to Universal Studio’s. Didn’t really know yet which park to visit (there are 2 parks, and they are building a 3rd one next to the others as we speak). From my friends I heard the 4D experiences are awesome, so I chose “Adventure Island” seeing Spider Man and Jurassic Park were in that park. It’s pretty expensive, but an amazing experience! Visiting the park alone, I was able to do all the rides I wanted to do, even with as many people in the park as there were. Even did Spider Man and the Tower of Doom twice! Without a doubt, “Kong” is the greatest attraction around. very much worth the wait. Talking about wait times. Universal has this very interesting concept of “single rider” lines. These are used to fill rides with just 1 seat left. In some cases (like with “Kong”) they take probably as much time as the “normal” lines, but certain times you win a LOT of time. Especially when waiting times are rather short (<30min), the single rider queue was very interesting reducing times to ~10-15 min. Not the same amount of fun when you are in  a group, but when you travel alone, a perfect alternative as fast as the (expensive) “preferred” lines.

I’ll be back to Orlando. It’s a crazy expensive, but Oh so much fun!


When snow hits the Atlanta region, things get ugly. Georgians are petrified by the idea of snow, especially those that experienced the 2014 snow apocalypse. It was comically compared with the Walking dead season 1, which was located in Atlanta as well. Click here to see…
Office close at 11 AM, Schools close sooner or do not open at all, libraries close the doors, bars shut down at 11 PM and everyone hits the highway at the same time making Georgia-400 become an even larger parking lot than it already is on a normal snow-free day. So while the east coast is actually hit pretty bad with snow, Atlanta acts as if it is in crisis due to the weather. It still strikes me as hilarious.

My company is going to post a 4-part blog on the company website about my experiences moving to the USA. I will post the full article here as well once it is published (over the course of the next months).

Enjoy the weekend, and keep warm. :-)

Winter is here!!!

Freezing temperatures for 5 days, with lows of 10 degrees F (-12 C). Brick hard ice that looks like snow, frozen trees and plants that sometimes collapse under their own weight, 300,000 people that loose power up to several days, schools closed for days, roads extremely dangerous and the airport closed.

Yes, winter has arrived in Texas. Temperatures dropped from a nice 70 F (21 C) to 30 F (-1 C) within 10 hours and the city has completely shut down. As an outsider, I thought I know better and people overreacted. And in fact, the last 3 ‘ice days’ I have experienced here in Texas the past year really was funny to see how everyone stressed out for, well…., nothing. So, I kind of expected the same thing this time; and boy was I wrong!

It is impossible to understand what a frozen tree looks like, if you have never seen one before. It’s like walking in a fairy-tale world (a really cold one!). I worked from home on Friday and then in the evening went to the bar across the street. One of my Belgian friends living here in Dallas, lost power due to the cold and joined us at bar where we took the seats next to the fireplace. There were 5 other people (including the waitress) in the bar. I decided to stay warm inside for the rest of the weekend and signed up for Netflix, watched 3 seasons of the Walking Dead and forgot all about the cold mess outside.

It is a very weird feeling, nothing you expect moving to Texas. Alaska, yes, you would expect crazy weather, but Texas? It is a humbling feeling to see the power of mother earth and the speed things can change.

Stay safe, stay warm and may the heat come soon!


Welcome to America!

So here I was, getting up at 5.20 am on a Monday morning, taking a cold shower. I very much dislike cold showers -especially when it’s below zero (0°C, 32°F) outside-, but the idea of going back to Texas, back into the heat, made it all worth it. Got into the taxi at 6. At the airport by 8.30. Plane boarding at 11. Spend some time in the airport lounge, read some e-mails and then at 10.55 realizing that “49″ is not the gate number, but the plane number. Panic! Been waiting for 2,5 hours and now there is a chance I’m missing my plane? Which is my gate? The screen says 38… OK. where is 38? It turns out gate 38 is conveniently located at exactly the opposite side of the airport from gate 49, where I currently am. I run through the airport, totally out of breath when I arrive. Using my priority ticket to board as one of the last passengers. I made it, the captains announcement that the flight is going to take an hour more does not even bother me.

Arriving in Dallas, Texas was a bit disappointing, having my morning shower in mind. I left with green grass and great temperatures back in November, but now was back with temperatures below zero and grass that looks like it hasn’t had water in years. OK, so winter knows Texas too, that is fine. I guess it was a bit naive to think it would be really warm. Did some grocery shopping and went to bed early (well, early is relative if you find yourself 7 hours behind your “normal” time zone), because I wanted to be at the office early the next day.

I woke up today with thunder and lightning. Weird… I opened the curtains in my room and noticed there was 3 inches of snow on the parked cars. It took me a minute to realize I was watching SNOW in TEXAS!!! I’ve been told that snow creates chaos around here, I was about to find out of my sources are trustworthy. Sadly, they turned out to be right: the morning show in the breakfast room of my hotel was airing traffic updates like this: “School bus delayed 7 hours”, “Highway closed”, “100+ accidents in and around Dallas”. F***
Being on the road, it did not take me much time to realize why snow was such a problem around here. To start there is the infrastructure, clearly these roads are not build for cold weather: many bridges, on/off-ramps are iced over and simply plain dangerous. Second there is the automatic car gears. It is more difficult to drive a car that you cannot actually control. Last, but probably the most important factor, is the drivers. I mean, if people start breaking on iced-over bridges, for no reason at all (other then the fact the bridge is iced over), you shouldn’t really be surprised that cars suddenly find themselves going the other direction, crash into each other and blocking several lanes. My 25 min drive to work, took me over an hour today. I decided to take an alternative route after standing in a traffic jam for over 20 min. Thank god Katy Perry was played (3 times) to comfort us in the commute pain.

All of this was forgotten this evening, when I sat down with my colleagues to have a great dinner. Sometimes, all it needs to feel at home is a nice, warm meal.