Monthly Archives: September 2008

First time

in Spain – in Madrid to be more precis. Alora*? – Me gusta mucho.

  • With the exception of Sunday, the weather is so far the way I hoped for.
  • As Spanish is written everywhere (no need to tell me that I’m stating the obvious), it’s pretty easy to pick up words:
    • Un picnic para llevar (Ham sandwich, with Coke and an apple to take away)
    • Una mochilla para laptop – at the beginning I was asking for un bolso until one guy said the right word for backpack – mochilla)
    • Donde esta el oficina de turismo, por favor?
  • Thanks to a friend who showed me around, I know a few more sentences like
    • La cuenta, por favor
    • Donde es el servicio, por favor?
    • La mejor estacion para ir a Toledo?
  • and I already ate un bocadillo con calamares.

Seriously, I like Spanish a lot and being in Spain for the first time, the vocabulary I had learned in language classes almost 4 years ago is coming back quickly.

Estube una idea muy bien de partir en Espana.**

* I know that this is not Spanish

** Theretically I know where to put the tilde “~” but the keyboard refuses to put them over the “n” and next to it, it just looks crap. Jajaja, special characters, I know – nex time.


My treasure

If I’m not answering emails, writing posts, working, sleeping or doing other sensible things in the weeks to come; this

may be the reason.

Good weather visits

It’s not fair that the weather is fantastic each time when friends come to visit me for a few days. I mean, it’s great for them but my complaints about the grey-rainy-muddy climate we usually experience just don’t seem credible.

Anyway, the weather was great in the last few days; it was the open monument day and the day without cars so no excuses for being lazy. Additionally to the European Parliament, we visited the Bibliothèque Solvay which, Belgian irony, never was a Bibliothèque (library) and the Porte de Hal. Both worth visiting.

Additionally, my friend tasted about 10 different Belgian beers, she had gauffre, moules et frittes, more frittes and all together really liked Brussels. Tant mieux alors.

Being a good European citizen

Though I was in the European Parliament before, it was the first time last Saturday that I actually took a guided tour. Result: I was pretty disappointed. Contrary to the intensive one and a half hours tour I had in the Reichstag in 2006 or the relaxed visiting of the Belgian Parliament last year, the visit was 20 minutes short, the building was badly lighted and the guide was visibly stressed.

Still, some facts the guide mentioned were of interest:

  • 63 – Number of buildings the European Commission has in Brussels (Actually, it’s more: here is the full list)
  • 263€ – Cost of the Parliament per European citizen/year (or was it of the European Union in general?)
  • 550 – Number of journalists having a license for the European Parliament

I don’t know how the daily tours in the Parliament are but hopefully there are good because in my point of view, well done tours in the European Parliament could increase the acceptance of European politics – exactly the kind of thing European institutions are so worried about.

Equal pay for women managers not until 2195, survey suggests

“It would take even longer for women to achieve equal pay in the IT sector and, on current trends, female managers at board level in Scotland would not gain parity until 2366”

Trabi in BXL!

Seen yesterday morning on my way to work. Jawohl!

No translation needed

Schadenfreude Avenue Q

It’s great to see how flexible English/American integrate new words in the English language. And yes, there is an English word for Schadenfreude – it’s the German one.

Definition: “Schadenfreude is happiness at the misfortune of others”.

Time is not on my side

It’s one of these small, pointless frustrations in life when, after getting up on what seems to be the good time, showering, dressing, having breakfast and being ready to go to work, you realise that the alarm clock was not properly timed and that you are over one hour in advance. Only, that you cannot get into the building that early and it’s not worth going back to bed. And, obviously, Internet is not working at home…

How to confuse tourists

Victor Horta is one of the most important architects when it comes to Art Nouveau and his former house – now a museum – is an often sought tourist destination in Brussels. To add a bit of paper-chase fun, the tramway stop Horta and the museum are not at all in the same area as I found myself to explain to a bunch of lost French people this afternoon.

For the fans of unnecessary knowledge: the Horta are furthermore a silicon-based species, introduced in the original series episode “The Devil in the Dark” of Star Trek.

BTW, I don’t think that the Horta museum is really worth the 7,5 euro entry full prize unless you want to find out how amazingly they failed in Brussels to safeguard his architectural heritage.


I moved. AND, I already unpacked most of my stuff. Now, I only need to survive the next work week and I can do the rest. Can’t be that difficult after all.