In an already busy year of visits and holidays, we had one last visitor to our town at the beginning of September, wedged between a trip to Crete and a holiday in India. At this time of year, the weather should be lovely… you would think. In the past we’ve often spent the first weekend in September in Italy, where it’s still warm enough to swim, but most of the crowds are gone.
Well… not this year. The weekend my friend Larry was with us saw it rain almost the entire time. Luckily she was fresh off the plane, hopped up with jetlag, and had been here before, so all she wanted to do was… well… whatever happens.
Following last year’s successful but cosy trip to Grado for our work team event, us girls this year planned a weekend away to Rovinj, Croatia, in early May. Each year the company allocates a budget to each team for a social event, but since us three girls actually like each other, we again decided to throw some extra money in the kitty and make a weekend of it.
Like last year we weren’t alone. We took three of our marketing mascots in our growing family of team members – TMF Bear, Gartner Giraffe and a new addition – Bonnie Jovi – the beautiful white horse.
Each year my company gives staff members a sum of money to undertake a Team Event. Since I started working there, our team has been a bit lax in organising something exciting. But this year we were adamant – we would do something awesome. So we got in early and we threw in some extra cash of our own and we… went to Italy for the weekend. Because why? Because we can.
When I told people I was going to Düsseldorf for the long weekend the first thing they said was: why? Düsseldorf is a relatively large city on the left side of Germany (and that’s the level of preciseness you’re going to get from me), and from what I can tell it is renowned for two things:
As an international business hub
Definitely not renowned for a ‘long weekend destination’. For us, it’s only flight from where we are in Austria, and when you’re constantly taking two flights to get anywhere OS, going somewhere that requires only a single hop is very enticing.
With the longest day of the year just around the corner, what better place to spend a long weekend, we thought, than right up north in Helsinki!
We flew into surprisingly warm weather, and it stayed that way almost the entire time, save for a small sun shower one afternoon – 25 degrees in Helsinki is almost unheard of in June! I was very happy to note upon arrival that our hotel (Hotel Cumulus) had decent curtains that blocked out a fair amount of the night-daylight. Though if you tend to be light-sensitive, I would recommend taking an eye mask anyway. The hotel was perfectly located, only a 5-10 minute walk to Market Square, right near a big supermarket and across the road from a daily market. The subway station was also right there, along with the bus stop to the airport.
Ljubljana is a place I’ve always wanted to visit (and always wanted to be able to spell correctly), and since it’s only a couple of hours drive from where I now live in Austria, it’s surprising that it’s taken me over three years to get there.
I’ve visited Zagreb a couple of times before, but the most recent trip was to celebrate my cousin’s wedding. Not only was it great to have a few days away, it was a privilege to witness the cementing of another successful multi-country relationship! My cousin was born in New Zealand, but having a Swiss father meant he relocated there in his 20s, meeting his now-wife, and eventually moving to Croatia. It’s complicated but awesome that I have a relative that lives so close (only 2.5 hours away).
Another brilliant thing was that my Dad and two of my aunties also joined in the celebratory-travel-party from Australia. It made for a great time to catch up, speak English (and occasionally try to understand Swiss-German, courtesy of the Swiss side of the family) and relax.