Vacation at Lago Maggiore, Italy

Just back from a 1 week vacation at Lago Maggiore, Italy with my wife.

We stayed in a holiday house in Traffiume, a tiny and lovely village close to Cannobio. We realized after some sight seeing around the lake, that Cannobio was actually the nicest place at Lago Maggiore. It has a rather large historic center, a beautiful promenade at the lake, great restaurants, fantastic ice cream – well, simply, everything you expect from a gorgeous and relaxed Italian town.
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Of course, we did visit the Borromean Islands, but only Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori. Though there were tons of tourists on Isola Bella, we could still enjoy the fantastic scenery – this island is a must-see! Make sure you visit the palazzo, it’s worth the high entry fee.
Palazzo of Isola Bella
We also made a trip to a little medieval village up in the mountains, called Gurro. Driving the curly and steep road was itself an interesting experience.
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On our way back home, we stopped by at Locarno and enjoyed a few ruminant moments in the backyard of the citadella.
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See all pictures from our trip to Lago Maggiore in my Flickr photo set.

Sandro and Stephan on Tour in California

01052007116Just uploaded some pictures of our trip to Monterey, LA, SF and our first day.

Stephan already wrote a bit about our trip and I won’t add anything to that, because I really don’t like blog posts where people write about all the problems they had on their plane or train or car or etc. ride.

You can find the pictures in my Flickr collection for this trip. I will be adding some more pictures in the next few days until we’re back home Sunday – just keep an eye on the collection for updates.

Meet me in SF, LA or Monterey May 1-5

Together with Mindquarry’s CEO Stephan Voigt, I’ll be attending Red Herring Spring in Monterey, CA. We’ll fly to LA April 30 and plan to be in Monterey May 1-3. It looks as if we’ll be in San Francisco a few hours during May 1st and definitely at May 4th. Back in LA May 5th to fly back.

If you’re around and would like to meet, drop me a line: sandro [dot] groganz [at] mindquarry [dot] com.

Stenshuvud National Park (Sweden)

In August 2006, I spent a few days in Sweden together with my wife during vacation. The most beautiful place we found was Stenshuvud National Park with a wonderful long long long sandy beach. There were only a few tourists, lots of nature, no buildings, hundreds of ladybirds. Sounds romantic and you bet it was a great place to celebrate our first year of marriage.

We stayed at a B&B close to the park called Ekenäs Gård with nice rooms and fantastic breakfast. A really lovely place. Make sure you get the big room with the balcony should you intend to go there.

Pictures of Istanbul

In the realm of the 3rd steering committee meeting of the tOSSad EU project, I had the chance to visit Istanbul. While being there, I also attended and presented at the FOSS Days 2006, the bigest FOSS event in Turkey.

Let me share some pictures with you:

The hotel I stayed at is located in the Istiklal Avenue of Istanbul, the place with the most nice restaurants and pubs around. Oh yes, food is really good in Istanbul 🙂

Istanbul and the Bosporus at night.

The interior of the Sultan’s harem.

Always enter the Suleiman Mosque at the right side, because that’s the good side…

Interior of the Suleiman Mosque.

Hagia Sophia

The famous madonna of Hagia Sophia.

Honeymoon in Mexico

Yep, me and my wife were travelling 3 weeks in Mexico, from August 17th to September 7th.

Mexico City

We flew into Mexico City and stayed there for a bunch of days. This megacity is of course a must-see! What I remember most is the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, where you have the astonishing view below. Also unforgettable was a Sunday we spent with a friendly Mexican family who served us blue Tortillas (yes, there is blue corn in this world!).

Guanajuato

Next, we travelled by bus to Guanajuato, which is a huge contrast compared to Mexico City with its tiny winding roads, many beautiful old buildings and the atmosphere of a student’s town. If you ever make it to Guanajuato, don’t miss “El Bar”, should you love to watch fabulous Salsa dance. (Of course, you are free to dance as well …)

Querétaro

After 3 days in Guanajuato, we headed over to Querétaro, which was again a contrast to the two other places we have seen: long and straight streets, very clean, lots of Taxis everywhere – I almost felt like in Europe 😉 What I liked most about Querétaro, was in fact the beautiful “Hotel Hidalgo” we stayed in, which had a marvelous inner court. Oh yes, and there was this wonderful sunset at the church where we simply enjoyed the relaxed Mexican after work atmoshphere:

Playa del Carmen

We did not want to miss the Caribeans, so we flew from Mexico City to Cancun and travelled by bus to Playa del Carmen. There we stayed in a very nice hotel at the beach. Yeah, 10 days of laziness … not if you have a wife who wants to see the ancient pyramides in the heat of the afternoon (36C and more…). Anyway, just the right thing to relax before we went back home and back to work. Here you see three Mariachis on their way back home, at 6:30 in the morning, after a long night, right in front of our hotel:

Hasta luego

This was the smoothest journey I every experienced. We never really had any big troubles, even busses were never late, but reliable. Also, we never met any strange people. Maybe we just behaved the right way or were simply lucky – you never know. It was in fact very nice, to speak some Spanish again, but I am sure that the locals were sometimes laughing about me in my back 😉

Mexico? I’d do it again, just great!

PS: All pictures made by my wife.