All posts by ntranced

Weekend in Belgium

Had a chance to visit Gent and Brussels in Belgium before going to the Netherlands for work the following Monday. Figured it’d be much easier to get a train from there rather than an early morning flight.

Gent was a town I wanted to visit last time we were in Belgium in summer but due to the shitty nature of the overnight bus, we were too tired to venture out. Ironically though, I did it again this time! Taking a flixbus this time which was a lot better, simply because the bus took the train rather than ferry. That meant just being woken up once at the border for passport control rather than for passport control, leaving the bus to get on the ferry, leaving the ferry to get back on the bus.

It’s rather amazing that a bus can squeeze into a train that runs underneath the English channel.

So as I arrived, put my stuff away and off the Gent i went. Was feeling okay and not too spent from the lack of sleep, but it did mean a cheeky nap on the short train ride.

Gent-Sint-Pieters station

Gent’s a rather old town, you can already see the way the station looks. The interior is rather amazing, especially the ceiling.

Continue reading Weekend in Belgium

Short visit to Slovenia for work

Visiting Kranj and Ljubljana in Slovenia. Part of my role at Arriva meant visiting some of the countries that we operate in and meet with various directors to better understand their market and what opportunities exist for us to capitalise on with digital technology.

Weather was overcast when I landed and could make out some mountains in the background.

The office is in Kranj, 20 minutes from the airport and that’s where I was based. Was meant to meet with my colleague to get some work done but due to the snow in London, his flights were badly delayed.

Kranj itself has a rather soviet feel to it with some brutalist styled architecture remaining in the city.

There is an old town side which is rather lovely and a stark contrast, buildings were painted in all sorts of pastel tones. Continue reading Short visit to Slovenia for work

Printworks

One of my favourite artists, Paul Kalkbrenner and what turned out to be the best club in the world. Period. Decided to get a ticket last minute, was thinking about it for a while and then I saw they were sold out. Luckily there were a few tickets for early entry available, with a small penalty if you did come late, £5. I took the risk but fortunately no charge.

To be honest, I had no idea what I was in for, and was surprised that when I got off the tube there were staff and sign to direct you to the place, a bit like a festival. Wasn’t until I got there and saw the map that I realised, it’s pretty big.

The line up for the night? Juicy techno

Continue reading Printworks

360 photos!

Before leaving, Kaz bought for me a few really thoughtful presents as a farewell, one of which was a 360 degree camera. Intention being that I could share where I’ve been and she could feel like she was there too.

So after a bit of dicking around, I found a plugin that allows you to scroll around a 360 degree photo like you do on Facebook.

First, the science museum with Long.

Continue reading 360 photos!

Transmission Prague with videos

First trip out of the UK and it’s one of the items on my bucket list checked off. Transmission, one of those events that I’ve always wanted to go to and honestly without moving here, I probably would have never gone because it’s in a pretty random time of the year.

On arrival with Jeff, it turns out that there was a pretty huge group of people from Australia (and mostly Asian!). It wasn’t until lunch that I found out that there’d be a group 40 or 50 strong of Asian Aussies (okay there were a few non Asians, but ironically they weren’t Aussie). Huge!

Anyway, heading in was okay but the crowd (not queue) for the cloakroom was insane making me miss most of Super8 and Tab. I did manage a peak from the side on entering and I wasn’t really blown away. Was it possible that it’s not as great and grand as the videos??

Absolutely not! Heading in through the back and then onto the floor, my mind was blown. The scale of the stage is really big and I think its height is what’s crazy.

First full set was Sander van Doorn pres. Purple Haze, one of my favourites and this time round blue my mind even more than the last time. Particular favourite was a new remix of Daft Punk’s within. Really loved it because the only other time I’ve heard anything from Random Access Memories out loud was at the album launch in Wee Waa and it’s really a great album out loud.

Continue reading Transmission Prague with videos

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland, while it’s a huge touristy thing for the locals, I was pretty in awe the first time I went there. It’s basically your local carnival fair thing but on steroids and quite accomodating for both kids and adults!

First of all it’s big, really big and makes me wonder how something so big can be brought to Hyde Park in London and then taken away (yet we can barely sustain Luna Park).

Plenty of carnival games with large plush toys, mustn’t be too bad as I saw plenty of people walking around with the larger toys (husky plush toys and giant doughnuts!)

Haunted and fun houses were plentiful and some seemed to cater for bigger kids too, with one haunted house being a mini ride that you could sit inside and actors doing their best to freak you out.

For the thrills plenty of flippy and rotate-y rides but what I found more amazing was a full on roller coaster with 4 loops!

Continue reading Winter Wonderland

Above and Beyond at the O2 with videos

When in London and close to more music events and festivals, I didn’t take long to find my first one, Above and Beyond. Great to see them on their home turf at the O2 arena which isn’t too dissimilar to our Qudos arena in size and layout.

Having all three members there didn’t seem to be a big deal, I remember the spectacle that was made when all three came to tour in Sydney for the ABGT show.

First supporting act was Lutrell Which I only managed to catch the end off, but he did end on a banger; Stormchaser, one of my favourite Anjunadeep songs.

Continue reading Above and Beyond at the O2 with videos

The first month in London

A month has rolled by pretty quickly and I think that’s because I’ve got a lot of my life admin sorted and started the focus on looking for jobs. I’m pretty keen to get started as soon as possible so I can get some income over the Christmas period, without a job now would probably mean no work until early February (which on top of the trip back for the weddings would mean March!).

Interestingly enough, I always wanted to go back to being a Business Analyst, simply because it’d be easier to contract but I haven’t had a great call back rate. Funnily enough, applications for Product Owner roles have had much greater success, not sure if there’s less supply for the role here, or recruiters are more focussed on my most recent experience.

I’ve found a more permanent home as well, it’s a room shared with 3 others right next to Old Street station. Few things that made me choose it; first the dates lined up perfectly with the end of my Airbnb and giving a day overlap to make moving easier. Two, it’s a short lease period, 3 months and to get out you only need a month’s notice after that. Thirdly, the space itself was decent, might sound silly, but the fact it had a living room and a decent sized kitchen was a winner.

Some photos from the listing:

Continue reading The first month in London

Walking around Westminster at 135mm

Bought a manual focus Samyang 135mm f2 just before I left and was planning a little more street-esque photography (read: trying to be a hipster). Took it out for a full day and it was quite a challenge. Colours are a bit flat because it was overcast, and I’ve been lazy to process these too much.

I loved looking through a different perspective but it was really tight (ha!) and secondly it soon became very easy to get the same looking shots, especially of clock towers and tops of older buildings.

Westminster light posts (for the longest while I thought it Westminister)

Inside Someset Square, it says SKATE in the background as they’re setting up an ice rink here.

Continue reading Walking around Westminster at 135mm

Two weeks in!

Feels like I’ve made some real progress in settling down here, the majority of the admin hurdles are out of the way and it’s a waiting game for some. My Barclays app has unlocked however because I don’t have a card yet, I can’t really pay anyone.

I’ve set up a limited liability company in anticipation for contract work that hasn’t happened yet. I still find the fact that I’m a director of a company rather amusing, not to mention the things you can do as a company made my laugh. For example, I’m allowed to gift myself something of up to £50 value each with a total of £300 a year, tax free! Other things like the company being able to buy your own used  equipment off you as an expense to reduce your tax! Totally awesome! Not to mention you can basically pay yourself up to £45k pounds at 9.5% tax :O.

Anyway, been out and a bit and already onto the music scene. Above and Beyond played a gig at the O2 and I decided to go last minute, £45 a ticket, but the show opened at 7.30 and only went til 11, supported by Luttrel and Gabriel and Dresden!

Barely made it in for Luttrel because the line to get in was super slow moving, also bizzare that there was no cloakroom and the service at the bar was super shitty and slow. Venue-wise it’s quite similar to Qudos. I’ll add another post with some videos.

Also found it weird that the crowd wasn’t full of 18 year old Asian LGs but more like an average of over 30 and white.

Also went to check out Kolsch play live at fabric, a pretty well-known name in London clubbing, but apparently has lost its charm after closing and re-opening. Pretty cool place, feels a little bit underground but not exactly grungy. Kolsch has been in Sydney previously but I gave it a miss, definitely glad I made this one. Being able to ride a bicycle to the venue was also super cool.

Club was super packed packed and it’s kinda cool that it has a mezzanine that overlooks the main dancefloor.

In more music/festival related stuff, I booked flights and tickets for Transmission in Prague, one of the events on my bucket. Despite it coming to Melbourne and having made fomo over it, I decided it’s best to check out the real one.

After A&B though, I did make the mistake of ordering a kebab, which is not the same as it is back home, it’s more like a weird open sandwich but there’s no BBQ sauce! Have only found out later that I need to order a wrap.

Went to check out a World Press competition photo exhibit which was rather small but quite impactful. The nature photos were great, especially one about pandas and what China is doing to preserve them.

Some of the war-torn and impoverished photos hit pretty hard, there’s one in particular about a man who was stoned and then hung from a crane that was absolutely brutal. Amazing the time and effort (as well as chance) to make these photos happen.

Had a taste of what Sydney life was like with the visit of Bec who’s doing a mini round-the-world trip. Great to see a friendly face and have a few beers and some amazing pie! Chance pick from google and it was delicious! The gravy that went with the mash was divine. It’s a pub called The Windmill in Mayfair.

Good news – found a place to live, it’s right next to old street station so it’s super well connected and flexible lease agreement, no ridiculous notion of 6 months rent in advanced! Room is a good size and it has a living room. There are so many places here that turn the living room into an extra bedroom, leaving a tiny kitchen as a communal area, just couldn’t live like that.

Can’t wait to get out of my Airbnb! Especially when this couple decided it’d be appropriate to bring a screaming toddler along.

Job wise I had a last minute interview with a bus and transport company called Arriva for a Product Owner role, not something I was initially planning to go for, but why not? Would be pretty convenient as it’s a 25 minute walk down the road to my new place and should be an easy 10 minute ride on a bike.

While walking around I also stumbled upon Hamleys, a huge and crazy toy store! Filled with enthusiastic staff demonstrating and playing with the toys, it’s quite a spectacle!

Really cute displays out the front windows too.

Hanna’s found work at a hip bar in a somewhat questionable area, we were pleasantly surprised when we got there that it was a pretty decent establishment. A few beers and Gin and Tonics were had. I had a Nikka Coffey Gin which was pretty damn good.

A few drinks in with everyone laughing at me for holding the glass like a goblet we dreamt of innovative ways to consume G&Ts from such glasses. Scotty invented the Swan challenge whereby you hold it like a goblet but flip your grip and try to drink from the glass.

Went on a shopping trip Bicester village which was over an hour away to check out some outlets! £17 pound train ride here and I walked away with just a Superdry jacket and a pair of Chinos from Ted Baker. It’s a high end market with mostly designer brands, their target market is clearly the rich Asians. I’m not being racist, but they give Asians a 10% discount if you have a passport or UnionPay/Bank of China card.

I missed most of the Bonfire Night fireworks as they occurred on the same night as A&B but Victoria Park set up some fireworks on the Sunday, which is actually the proper date, November the 5th. Yes, the same date referenced in V for Vendetta from which the story about the treason is based on the real bonfire night, also called Guy Fawkes night.