Sunday, February 28, 2016

Finally Moved In

Over the last month I've been moving things over to the new flat bit by bit.  Basically things I could live without until I was finally out of the old flat.  Claudia helped out with a few car runs after work a couple of times.  There were a couple of reasons for the phased approach.  One was I already have the new flat and I have the old flat until the end of March.  But the main reason was the bed.

My old flat came furnished but I didn't like the two single mattresses it came with.  So a few years ago I purchased a new mattress but I was still using my landlords's bed frame.  The new place came unfurnished but I purchased the bed frame from the previous tenant.  So I was't going to do the final move until I would be able to have my mattress in the frame.  Yeah, I know...first world problems.

Anyways...the chaps from Foreigners.cz ,who built my new furniture, showed up with a van and we moved everything over in a few hours.

I did feel great to actually spend the first night in my new place.  Although I was pretty close to the centre, my old place was pretty quite.  Now I know what quite really is.  This neighbourhood is very peaceful.  The only noise in the morning comes from the nearby church bells.

It's wonderful to be officially moved in and I've even had my first guests.  Helena, Claudia and Tünde stopped by this afternoon for coffee and cake.

I need to do a final cleaning at the old place and at the end of the month I'll turn over the keys to the landlords and sort out the security deposit.  While moving is one of my least favourite things at least now it's over and time to start nesting here.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Another Wrocław Trip

Dominican Monastery
It's been a busy couple of weeks.  Two weeks ago was the latest London adventure, then last week I needed to spend a couple of days in Székesfehérvár for work.  This week I was back in Wrocław for a few days and just got back home last night.
Out with Paweł, Dawid and Andrew

No time for any sightseeing this time.  Of course I've been to Wrocław so many times I think I've pretty much seen everything.  I did manage to snap of picture of the Dominican Monastery but only because I could see if from my hotel room.

One night I went out to dinner with a few of the guys from the team.  And yesterday I surprised the team with a sushi lunch which turned out to be a hit.

I was quite thankful though to sleep in my own bed last night.  Tonight I need to do some final packing and it's my last night in my old flat as the movers come tomorrow.  Wish me luck.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Re-register with the Foreign Police

I had hoped when I received my last ID card that it would be a very long time before I had to go back to the Interior Ministry.  That hope was short lived.  I actually needed to make two visits but I just combined them and did everything at once.

1.  Since I have a new passport I needed to give the information to the authorities.
2.  Since I'm moving I need to update my ID card.  I needed to show a copy of my new lease, provide biometric data and buy a 1000 Kč (~$39) stamp.

I'm not 100% on the law but I believe that you need to report a new address within 30 days of moving.

Oh a joyful day of bureaucracy but, all and all, it was't actually too bad.  I did manage to do everything in Czech.  It should take about two weeks before my new ID card is ready.  What's nice is that I got to keep my current card while my new one is in the works. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Another London Travel Adventure

It seems that it wouldn't be a Valentine's Weekend in London without some sort of travel adventure.  The last time was when, due to bad weather, we were diverted north and spent the night in Doncaster.    Just a bit of a rough start but then a great time afterwards.

This time it was a bit of the reverse.  We had a great weekend but then the adventure began.  We were both flying Ryanair out of Stansted Airport.  I had a direct flight to Brno and Krasimir was to flying to Dublin.  Stansted is about 40 miles (~64 km) from London and the National Express bus takes about an hour.

We decided to catch an earlier bus and just use the extra time at the airport to have a late lunch before our flights.  At least that was the plan.  What we didn't account for were the three different traffic accidents on the highway and our one hour bus to the airport ended up taking over 3,5 hours.  Ugh!!  We so should have taken the train instead.

We pulled up to the airport with about 10 minutes before my flight was to depart.  Even if I had ran through the airport and managed to get through security and to my gate I still would not have been it because Ryanair does this immigration check on all non-EU passengers.  This, of course, was the only London to Brno flight of the day.

Krasimir did manage to catch his flight without a problem.  I had to then figure out how to get home.  Fortunately I was able to buy a ticket on Eurowings to Vienna.  It's 198 km (123 miles) from the Vienna Airport to Brno.

The only drawback is that I would miss the last train of the night back to Brno and going by bus would have me home around 5 am.  Not an option considering I had early morning meetings planned.

While waiting in London, I managed to arrange a pick up service that we use at work.  A driver met me at Vienna Airport and had me home in just over 1,5 hours.  At least I was able to get home.  I'm sure that there were other people who ended up stuck at Stansted.  Let's just hope that this is the last of our UK travel mishaps.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

London Valentine's Weekend


The last time Krasimir and I were in London was two years ago to visit Natalie, back when we had our little Doncaster adventure.  So we decided it was about time for another Valentine's weekend in Jolly Ole' England.



We walked around the city and did most of the touristy sites.  While there is always something going on in London, the city seemed extra busy this weekend.


Big Ben


Trafalgar Square was the centre for the Chinese New Year celebrations that began on 8 February.  2016 is the year of the Monkey.


The city was also hosting the 69th British Academy Film Awards.  With security quite high, here's about as close as I got to attending the BAFTAs.

We had a really nice weekend.  We've decided the next time we come we need to see a West End show.  Of course it would't be a trip to London for us without some sort of travel adventure.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

My Japan Badge

I am loving this Fitbit I bought last year.  Today I earned my Japan badge for walking 3,007 km (just over 1,868 miles).  Not to bad for one year.  Fortunately, I have these weekly step challenges with Martin and David to keep me motivated.  I wonder how many steps I'll do this year.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Circumcision

OK, so here's a random topic.  Circumcision.  I'm not going to get in to the whole cut vs. uncut debate.  There are pros and cons to both.

What I will say is that male circumcision is way more common in the USA than it is here in Czechland.

©Wikipedia
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), circumcision in the U.S., is between 20-80%.  It does vary by geographic region, religion and ethnicity.  If someone asked me I would say that at least +70% of guys in the USA are cut.  In Europe, most men are uncircumcised; probably around 80%.

This is also my biggest Czech language faux pas.  So many years ago someone at work used the phrase dělát opičky which translates to "making monkeys".  So if you are goofing off, or monkeying around, in Czech you are "making monkeys".  Later that evening I was telling my Czech teacher what I had learned.  I said it and I got a blank response.  So I said it again.  I tried to explain and said it again but the whole time she just had this confused look on her face.

Then all of a sudden she got it.  Dělat opičky.  Apparently I had really butchered the phrase.  When I asked her what I was saying she began to blush and explain that it was something for little Jewish boys.  Go figure!  I was saying Dělát obřizky...to perform a circucision.  I never made that linguistic blunder again.

I told my mates at work what happened and they all fell out laughing.  This got us on the topic of "German war helmets" and "turtleneck sweaters" and it was rather interesting trying to explain that I am cut but not Jewish.  Who knew that over here I would be exotic?