A day in Vienna, a weekend in Valencia, a day in Barcelona, and two days in Stuttgart
November 6, after an online demo to a customer in Colombia, a follow up call with business partners in London, and a call with some Swiss investors, I flew to Vienna.
150mph (240kmh) tail winds allowed us to arrive 40 minutes early, which is usually a good thing. But not always. “Red eye” flights are all night flights in which the best thing you can do is sleep. It’s not easy to sleep on a plane, with service and people going up and down, announcements, lights, and crying babies. But it is even harder if they cut an already pretty short flight (around 7 hours) by 40 minutes!
In any case, upon arrival, of course, it was raining, and I had to go straight to my meeting because I did not take the summer time change into account, and I had no time to waste (as a matter of fact, I arrived almost an hour late. Sorry again!!).
The best part, apart from the meeting which ended up being excellent, was binge taken for dinner to Weingut Mayer am Pfarrplatz (Beethoven’s historic house) where excellent conversation ensued, and then going to the famous Cafe Landtmann where, unfortunately, I spent most of the time talking on the phone with a customer in the USA instead of socializing with my gracious hosts.
Sometimes I hate time zones, although I have a potential business partner in Dubai who has been trying to arrange a call with me for weeks now, and due to my traveling and time zones, it has been unsuccessful so far. I bet you he hates them more than I do!
After a wonderful weekend in Valencia with my kids, and a quick meeting in Barcelona with Norwegian customers attending the Gartner IT Expo, I flew to Stuttgart.
A very thick fog, which I’m told it’s common in Stuttgart, welcomed me to this Southern German town. Before I left the airport I had another “welcome”: the rental car trying to over-charge me. Good thing my awesome travel agent will take care of all that.
Once in the car, I entered the destination address into the GPS, not paying attention to a slight difference in the street name. What’s up with these Germans and their 6 different streets spelled identically except for slight variations (haupt, main, etc)?
After drive through the very thick fog, long traffic jams, and heavy road construction, I arrived at what I thought it was my destination. But there was definitely no hotel in that cul-de-sac quaint destination. So I checked the address again, added the stupid “haupt” (I’m the stupid one, of course), double checked with my phone, and hit the Autobahn again. By the time I arrived, it was late. Again. Another night of less than ideal sleep. Great. If I keep accumulating sleep deficit, it could be dangerous. I need some sleep. But this email, and that call, and the overdue form to fill, and the planning of next morning’s meeting and… screw it, I am off to bed.
The next day I drove to Ehrling for a meeting at the big and shiny IBM Customer center. They have impressive facilities: telepresence rooms, a buffet cafeteria with all the ethnic options you can handle, screens everywhere… One anecdote: as I was delivering my presentation in a large meeting room, the blinds started to open. I thought that was going to let too much light and that would interfere with the projector, but before I could say anything, the blinds stopped. Apparently they have a luminosity sensor, and they detect when the projector is on, so they don’t let too much light, while making sure it’s not too dark. Cool.
I really tried to go to bed early, but dinner, driving and working (again) got in the way. Oh, well, I will sleep tomorrow on the plane. For a change. My “second bedroom”.