Friday, January 23, 2009

My food and work in Spain

I thought it would be interesting to compare my daily routine here in Spain to the one I will have in Japan starting in April 2009. As the title says, this post is about my food and work in Spain :D. Once I'm in Japan for some months I will make the comparative.

Normally I have some sweet breakfast with milk, nesquik and biscuits (on the left of the picture) at around 8:30. Lunch is around 14:50 and I usually have two dishes. In the picture, the first dish would be "Patatas a la Riojana" (right) and the second dish is chicken with ham and cheese inside (left). I use a fork and a knife as you can see and I drink water. I like to eat bread in the lunch, especially with the first dish. In the picture, you can also see some typical ingredients of the Spanish cuisine (olive oil, onion, garlic, potatoes, peppers).

Here we can see another typical dish in Spain: "lentejas" (lentils).

And this is my work office, a laboratory in the University of Cantabria. Normally I work 9:30 - 14:20 then I go home to have lunch and then I come back to work again 16:15 - 20:30. However I have some flexibility because I can enter to the building with an electronic card even when it is closed, so I can work on a weekend or do extra hours and then take some week days off. The important thing is that I manage my time well so I can do my work in time and meet the project deadlines.

And this is my mum, who prepared the "Patatas a la Riojana" haha, and asked me to appear in my blog (maybe she wants to be famous hehe :D).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Paris - Work meeting in Thales

My first work meeting of the year 2009 was in the offices of Thales in Palaiseau (Paris, France). Thales is one of the industrial partners of the project I am working for (FRESCOR) and it is a huge company focused on "mission-critical information systems for the Aerospace, Defence and Security markets". My work partner, Miguel Telleria, and I went there to help them with the integration of their software and the framework that has been developed in FRESCOR.

Unfortunately the airports had lots of delays and cancellations during those dates, especially in Madrid due to a pilots strike and an unexpected snow storm. On the way to Paris, our flights got a big delay and on the way back my flight was canceled and I had to use a different flight from a different airport.

Our hotel was in a town called Orsay which was near the Thales offices by bus. Actually our work partner in Thales, Jean-Louis, was very nice and drove us from the hotel to the offices and vice versa everyday. The last day I also visited the center of Paris but didn't take any pictures. It was beautiful with all the snow on the floor.

Every morning we got up early, had breakfast and went to Thales. In Thales they also have their own restaurant so we didn't need to go to another place to eat. When we used to came back from work we were already tired so all we did was rest in our rooms and wait for the next day ;).

This is the photo of my work partners Miguel and Jean-Louis, from Thales. Fortunately, our work together was quite productive and the meeting was worth it.

Thales offices were very modern and there were lots of high-level engineers and scientists in those offices. For example, the Nobel prize in Physics of 2007, Albert Fert, was working only 100 meters from my office :). Near to Thales offices there was a research laboratory of Danone, the famous yogurt company, and also one of the most prestigious education centers in France, the École Polytechnique.

Note: I just found out that the last year winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics and Chemistry studied or worked in Nagoya University, where I will be studying and doing my research during the next two years!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year's Eve in Berlin and Warsaw

あけまして おめでとう ございます。 Happy New Year! Feliz año! :)

I wanted to celebrate the new year's eve 2008-09 in a different way. First I thought about walking the road to Santiago once again and celebrate it in Santiago, but I gave up when I saw that the weather was getting worse. Finally, I celebrated it with Maria (Inspiring SU and Cambridge) and it was a great trip to two of the main european capitals: Berlin and Warsaw.
  • Berlin: The first thing I noticed about Berlin was the amount of graffities on the walls. Apart from that, my impression of the city was that of a typical european one with its metro, buildings, and so on. People spoke English almost everywhere so it was easy to get around. Due to the globalization you also find the same shops as everywhere (starbucks :D) which makes you feel a bit like at home at any time.

    We met at Alexanderplatz station, whose big tower can be seen from all around the city and somehow ressembled a urban lighthouse to me.

    I wanted to find things about the 2nd world war, the nazis or the holocaust because I had been reading about it before coming. In Berlin, I saw a piece of the famous Wall that used to separate the East from the West, an American-Soviets checkpoint and the holocaust memorial. It seemed to me that the Nazi symbols and history were all sort of hidden because the war is still quite recent.

  • Warsaw: From Berlin we took a train to Warsaw, which takes around 5 hours. As we arrived a bit late, we only had time to have dinner and go to bed.

    Polish food is really tasty as I already knew from my trip to the Bieszczady in September. Maria's mum prepared some food that was a pleasure to eat.

    The next day, Maria took me to see the city and visit some museums. The Warsaw Rising museum was very interesting. There were loads of photos, uniforms, weapons and history but we had too little time to see everything. At the time, the Polish had to hide in underground paths like the one shown in the picture which was quite claustrophobic.

    We also visited the Polish militar museum where we saw lots of tanks and planes from the 2nd World War. It is interesting to notice that I saw more Nazi armament and symbols in Poland than in Berlin.

    The city was almost completely destroyed in the 2nd War and it has been rebuilt from scratch. Nowadays it is quite a modern city and in the center of the city the visitor can admire some wonderful skyscrapers like the Palace of Culture and Science above.