Visiting my team in Poland

So last week I headed to Warsaw, Poland to see how my team is doing.  They went through a big transition from moving from one team (Maggie, Kasha, Mariusz) in one division of the company to another team (Karol and DPE team) in a different division.  It was also difficult as the new team has a different execution model than how my team is use to executing.  I would say each team member has a great plan but now they need to come together to build a cohesive strategy.  Almost there…After long days of meetings, planning, revising and negotiating we headed out to fun dinners to see the town.  The first night we headed to the Praga area and had a very yummy international restaurant where both old teams and new teams came together.  The second night we headed to a fun local place that was very angelic.  The food was fabulous and we had traditional polish favorites.  The last night we started at the roof top lounge where you could see the entire city of Warsaw and then allowed my boss Csaba join the ladies night out.  We took a nice walk from the Marriott to old town Warsaw.  We had Polish Tapas and Vodka at an old time Communist Era Bar.  We then headed to this cute restaurant that had over 50 different types of pirogues and special polish honey drink that was hot, alcoholic and very sweet! 

 

Let me give you a little history of Warsaw.  Warsaw is the capital and the largest city in Poland.  It is located on the Vistula River (very beautiful) roughly 370 kilometers (230 mi) from both the Baltic Sea  and the Carpathian Mountains. Its population as of 2009 was estimated at 1,709,781, and the metro area is approximately 2,785,000.  Warsaw is the 8th largest city in the European Union.   On 9 November 1940 the City of Warsaw was awarded with the highest military decoration for courage in the face of the enemy.  Warsaw is also known as the "phoenix city," as it was completely destroyed during World War II, and rebuilt with the effort of Polish citizens.  It is an amazing town and the people are so very friendly.  I loved our taxi driver who had amazing customer service but was 3X the price of the regular taxi- oh-well.  Sometimes service is worth the extra charge.  I hope you decide to visit Warsaw.  A few pictures of the trip…

 

 
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By sfbayrane Posted in Travel

1st Day of Oktoberfest

So I headed to Oktoberfest today with my neighbor Bernie.  I should have known Greg was going to bail on me when he said he would meet me there at 13:30.   The wether was perfect not too hot, not too cold, no rain and not too many people- just yet that is…  We got there and walked around before meeting the Munich International Ski Club with our Box section Hacker Tent.  The tents are amazing, huge and hold 9000 people.  It is crazy they take 2 months to build, 3 weeks of festivities and then another 2 months to take apart.  Over 8 million people will come to Munich and I think it is 6 million masses of beer and 3 million chickens are consumed in the 3 weeks of Oktoberfest.  We joined 80 of our closest ski buddies for Mass biers, 1/2 chickens, dancing and singing.  Greg finally shows up to make an appearance for 15 minutes and then said he was going on a quick walk and never came back.  Bernie joined me and we enjoyed the next 4 hours.  After feeling quite drunk we headed home so we can be productive at work tomorrow and not be too drunk. 
 
Let me give you a little history lesson on Oktoberfest-  Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12 October 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields were renamed Theresienwiese ("Theres’a Fields") to honor the Crown Princess, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to "Wiesn". Horse races in the presence of the royal family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in subsequest years gave rise to the tradition of Oktoberfest.  In 1811, an added feature to the horse races was the first Agricultural Show, designed to boost Bavarian agriculture. The horse races, which were the oldest – and at one time – the most popular event of the festival are no longer held today. But the Agricultural Show is still held every three years during the Oktoberfest on the southern part of the festival grounds.  In the first few decades, the choices of amusements were sparse. In 1818, the first carousel and two swings were set up. Vistitors were able to quench their thirst at small beer stands, which grew rapidly in number. In 1896 the beer stands were replaced by the first beer tents and halls set up by the enterprising landlords with the backing of the breweries. The remainder of the festival site was taken up by a fun-fair. The range of carousels offered was already increasing rapidly in the 1870’s as the fairground trade continued to grow and develope in Germany.  Enough history… Here are a few pictures from the day.

 

Windows BG Leads do offsites in style

So I headed on Wed. from Moscow to the Windows Client BG Leads offsite in Milan.  To my suprise we headed straight to the Staium to see the Inter- Barcelona Game.  The downfall for me is arriving at the Stadium with 76,000 people and having a suitcase and backpack with it pouring rain.  I was then told to go against the traffic of all the people and head to the Metro to meet the bus to leave my bags and head to the game with the team.  After a 40 minute walk and 2 hour wait,  I finally found the bus-dropped off my bags and headed to the game.  The energy in the stadium was crazy but it was no Allianz stadium in Munich.  It was a tie 0-0 game and not much energy in the offense, mostly defensive game.  Expected a lot more from Barcelona.  We then headed to the Castle.  Yes, the offsite was in a Castle and we had the Castle to ourselves!  Our rooms were amazing and the faclities perfect!  The food was fabulous and the conference facilities great! Free internet access and anything you needed you got.  I felt bad for my leads as our offsite as always in Munich at the MS office. 
 
A little history of the castle for you.  Villa Gallarati Scotti is probably the most majestic of the many delightful villas constructed in the area. Of the Baroque structure, transformed into Neo-Classic shapes with a monumental entrance between the end of the 18th, beginning of the 19th century by the architect Simone Cantoni, there remain only the traditional U-shaped play and several interior spaces with 18th-century frescoes. The 19th-century modifications also involved the park, transformed into a typical English landscape, inside of which traces of the Baroque garden survive with a valuable nymphaeum of Neptune located on the northern edge of the landscaped area. In 2008, the restoration of the villa was completed and it currently houses a centre for conferences, seminars.  I would recommend staying here absolutely wonderful!  A few pictures from the 2 day offsite.