In 2019 I did more travelling than I ever had in one year. I visited Vancouver, Rhodes, Thessaloniki, Prague, and Geneva. I meant to write a separate post after each trip, but never found the time or motivation so I figured I’d capture them all in one go here.
I visited Vancouver, Canada in January 2018 for work with my teammate Igor. I’ve never been to Canada before (well, once…but just over the bridge from the US…it’s a long story but we didn’t actually get to see Canada).
Anyway, the first highlight of the trip was being upgraded to business class for the long haul flight. I slept so well and ended up with barely any jetlag.
We were in the office full time for the two weeks, but I did get a chance to explore and appreciate the city on weekends. I loved the mixture of modern buildings and nature in the same place. You’d pass a glass building one minute and be staring out at the mountains the next.
I also saw my sister, who lives in Vancouver - we went bouldering (which I am not good at):
The EA campus in the city was impressive, like a tiny city of its own. The Frostbite office in Stockholm is really nice but tiny in comparison. Because in Stockholm we are so central we don’t really need a whole campus with food, gyms, etc nearby. But in Vancouver the office is more remote, so there is an entire campus with its own huge gym, cafeteria, sports courts, etc:
Vancouver was excellent. I like work trips - because even though you’re working, you feel like you also have some time to yourself in an unfamiliar place for exploration and self-reflection. After two weeks it was nice to be home at my workstation:
Up next was Rhodes! I had never been to Greece and in 2019 I ended up going twice. This was the first trip my now-boyfriend and I took together. He is Greek, so I let him have the advantage of taking me to a country where only he speaks the language. Little did he know the employees at our hotel spoke Russian!
Anyway, Rhodes was a beautiful trip. Going to a different country with someone new for a week is risky but exciting (by that point I knew he wasn’t a serial killer, or at least he was very good at hiding it). The Rhodes “old city” had medieval-style architecture, castles, and knights!
The water wasn’t that warm at that time of year, but I even swam.
Up next we went to Dimi’s home town of Thessaloniki, where I got to meet his amazingly welcoming friends and family. No Russian speaking here that I remember, but I tried to learn to read the road signs ;)
I am now germinating Greek grape seeds in my refrigerator.
Prague, Czech Republic
Later, we had a long weekend in Prague, Czech Republic, where we also met with my mom and sister. It was such a beautiful city, with interesting architecture (and colors!)
We had a one-day walking tour, found delicious coffee, saw a couple of museums, and had a medieval dinner.
Finally, we went to Geneva for another long weekend. We visited the Patek Philippe watch museum, saw the tallest fountain in the world (I think), explored the city, and had a day trip to Montreux. I think Montreux was a highlight for me - we took a nice rainy hike, met some friendly cows, and had a delicious dinner at the Montreux Jazz Cafe.
But another big highlight was getting to visit CERN for a guided tour. The tour was so informative and inspiring, and we even got to see the Synchro-Cyclotron! It is locked away behind 5 meter concrete walls to prevent radiation leaking out as unlike the LHC, it is not underground. Apparently after decommission it was left alone for 20 years (if I remember correctly); when the radiation levels were well within safe limits it was opened to the public as part of the guided tours.
In short - it has been a busy year! I also moved to a first hand apartment and got my Swedish citizenship, but those are for another post.