Cities in Europe

by Michael Alderete on 2/22/2002

While in Europe for two weeks for Persistence, I visited London, Brussels, Paris, and Stockholm. Sounds great, right?

Well, in Brussels I saw the airport, the hotel, the inside of a cab, and the train station (in that order). In Paris I saw the train station, the inside of a cab, a customer site, another cab, and the airport. I ate two meals, breakfast in the hotel in Brussels (horrible), and dinner at the airport in Paris (pretty good, if you can believe it). So I don’t think you could say I had any quality time in those cities.

I did get to spend quite a bit of time in London, and two days in Stockholm. Of course, I was working, not site seeing, so my view of things was limited, but there were things I liked, disliked, or just noticed.

London’s old buildings are dirty, grimy. When Rochelle and I were in Rome they were cleaning the whole city for Jubilee 2000, and so the buildings were all in scaffolding. Which sucked at the time, but I wish London had been doing the same thing, so the place would be sparkly clean today.

In contrast, Stockholm was truly beautiful. Very, very cold, but bright, clean, and wonderful. The old buildings in the city center, in particular, were breathtaking. I would go back to Stockholm, for pleasure.

I will say this about London, the Underground is by far the best public transportation system I’ve ever used. It goes everywhere you want (unlike Muni in SF), it runs well, it’s clean and safe enough. It’s rationally designed, the routes are straightforward and understandable. And all the instructions are in English (I am an ugly, uneducated American, after all).

I ate very good food in both London and Stockholm. It helped in Stockholm that we were taking customers out to dinner so, uh, we had to go somewhere nice. ;-)

Well, that’s all for my morning update. Not much insight, but what do you expect when I’m only half awake?

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