Bean Reminiscing…

I was travelling to Pilsen with a colleague this week and having only met before very briefly, we took the opportunity to chat en route…in the taxi, on the Heathrow Express, in the airport lounge. You get the picture…lots of finding ways to make the time go faster while getting to where we had to be. 

Anyway, we were chatting about my living in the UK and the invariable questions came up: Why did you leave? Will you go back? and What do you miss most?  Nothing unusual.

But this time the last question really made me think. What do I miss most?

It goes without saying family, family, family. And usually at this time of year, I would have answered something about really feeling the lack of sunshine and daylight hours during London’s winter months. But we’ve had a mild winter which in the last few weeks, has merged into a lovely Spring – beautiful blue skies, double digit (celsius) high temperatures and patches of colour everywhere as London’s parks, gardens and suburban streets are transformed by a riot of daffodils, crocuses and cherry blossoms.

And I’ve just come back from my Vitamin-D top up in Abu Dhabi so I’m missing the sunshine much less than usual.

So the question gave me pause. What do I really miss?

And then I thought back to my last trip Down Under and I knew…the coffee. Great, great coffee. Creamy lattes, foaming cappuccinos and pungent espressos with velvet-y golden crema.

I have not enjoyed coffee anywhere nearly as much as I have in Melbourne. Not even in Italy, the self-proclaimed mecca of coffee.

And it would seem that the voters on website agree, with 301 of them nominating Melbourne as having the best coffee in the world (followed by Vienna – 187 and Rome – 116).

It’s not the first time I’ve waxed lyrical about coffee here at Gidday from the UK and I have found a treasured favourite or two serving sensational shots here in London but there’s no hunting for these rare gems in Melbourne – great coffee is everywhere.

So I’ll be booking myself a Christmas Down Under this year to get me a fix!

Oh and Sydney? Sydney got 20 votes in the survey. Not that I’m competitive or anything.

Travel Broadens The Mind…It’s A Virtual Life

It’s been a little while since Gidday from the UK has dipped into the pages of BA’s business:life magazine. But a quick trip to Pilsen this week meant that I had some time to waste invest in finding a few fascinating facts to share with you.

Interestingly, this post follows the same examination of a particular topic by some of my blogging brethren. The Day Social Media Took Over My Life, Bilingual Baby M and The Facebook by expat bloggers Russell in Sydney, Linda in The Hague and Kirsty in Dubai respectively have all explored the pros and cons, the whys and wherefores, of social media. 

Like it or not, our world is becoming more and more digital and we continue to embrace it in all its doubtful glory as evidenced by the hype around Facebook’s floatation this month. According to business:life, we watch sport online (36% of 18-35 year-old Europeans watch more sport online than on TV) and book holidays online (that’d be 2/3 of Britons). And 4.9 million people used WiFi hotspots in hotels, coffee shops, restaurants and airports in the UK last year. So even outside the dual digital domains of work and home we continue to ‘plug in’.  

In fact 10% of people would rather give up their car than be disconnected from the internet…she says, tap-tap-tapping away here having given up her vehicle some two and a half years ago.

But I digress.

Did you know that 54% of British children say they’d rather go to Google with a query than ask their parents or teachers? What a sad indictment. Although this is probably just as well. Apparently 50% of British adults think that Mount Everest is in the UK. This does not bode well for today’s British babies, 1/3 of whom will live until the age of 100.

business:life statistics reveal that 20% of us check our bank accounts at least once a day – could you imagine popping into the bank and standing in line every day? No thank you. All hail the internet I say!

And let’s face it – the job market will never be the same again with 150 million people and more than 2 million companies worldwide using LinkedIn. But be warned. 1 in 5 bosses turned down a candidate because of their profile on social networking sites.

So it would appear that it still pays to be circumspect. To keep some things private

Especially as 28% of British workers deem nose picking to be the most anti-social workplace activity.

Do you think that’s why 90% of people would still hang onto their car?

Travel Broadens The Mind – Back Catalogue
…The Euro Zone
…All About The Readies
…Flights Of Fancy
…Or So They Say

A Travelling Life…It’s Good To Be Back…

I started a new job four weeks ago.

(It is not my usual policy to blog about work-related things as I think it can get you in a whole lotta trouble if it’s misconstrued but bear with me, the job reference is incidental).

During two of those weeks, I have been travelling to visit some of our manufacturing plants as part of my induction – in the South of France and the Czech Republic.

I haven’t travelled for a couple of years now and I had forgotten both how fascinating and wonderful, yet challenging, it is.
My trip to Mont (near Pau – Pyrenees) in France reminded  me how truly beautiful the French countryside is (soft, soft sunlight bathing the bald hills and ploughed fields), how unbelievably good the food is (I have no words, only noises, to describe it) and how difficult it is to be brave enough to use the smattering of French words I know – and I mean smattering as ‘bonjour’, ‘merci’, ‘au revoir’ and ‘Parlez-vous l’anglais s’il vous plaît?’ about covers it!
And then last week I went to Pilsen.  As a first timer to the Czech Republic, I was more than a little perturbed to hear the pilot announce on our arrival in Prague that it was a chilly minus 9C – I know many of you just snorted derisively but it’s the coldest place I’ve ever to been to – leading me to wonder whether I could actually wear everything I’d packed in my carry-on all at once.  But the 40min cab ride to the factory had me warm and toasty on the inside.  And at the same time, I tried desperately to resist pressing my nose to the cold window in childish delight as I watched the snowy fields and dark green fir trees straight from the pages of fairytales flash by.

Unfortunately time didn’t permit any tourist-type nosing about on my part but I’ve returned with the spring in my step (and both a disgusting cold and case of mild sleep deprivation – who ever sleeps well in hotels!!??) that exploring new pastures has always given me…

…as well as a fervent appreciation of my own bed.

Ah travelling…in more ways than one, it’s good to have you back!