Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Eve in Zürich

While it's very difficult to live up to the fantastic fireworks display Sydney puts on every year, they made a pretty good attempt for my first NYE here in Zürich. It certainly beat the NYE I spent in Dublin 2 years ago where there was no public event at all.

The city put on an evening of (bad 80's) music with food and drink stalls around the river and lake shore. The warm Glühwein was very welcome on the cold night and there was plenty of warming, traditional winter foods to enjoy.

For reasons unknown, the fireworks show on the lake started at 00:20. Some guess it was to let people enjoy their own New Year celebration before the show started, but I think I much prefer the Sydney way of starting the new year with a bang.

Once the show began, we were treated to an impressive, 20 minute long display, although it generally seemed a little slow. There were some flurries of explosive goodness and a couple of spectacular "rain of fire" moments where the sky was filled with slowly falling sparkles of fire, but in all, the Sydney show is an unchallengeable winner. I'll have to consider going home again for 2010/2011.

Here is a video of the first 10mins of the fireworks, watch in HD mode (720p) for the best detail. I ran out of memory halfway through, so the second 10mins will be up to your imagination. It did get a bit faster and more interesting, so sorry for missing it. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

(Re)Location, Location, Location

Life is becoming extremely busy at the moment. My transfer to Zürich has finally gone through and I start there on November 17, that's only two weeks away! I finally managed to extract a quote from a few removal companies and while still horrified at how expensive this moving thing is, I've picked the least worst and things are all set to go. It's amazing how poor the service is from removal companies, you'd think they'd be eager to take all that your money off your hands, but some of them had to be chased just to provide a quote and one didn't even bother at all!

These next two weeks will be non-stop action in Dublin with so many people I need to have a drink with before I leave, so many details to organise and so much packing and cleaning to do. Add to this I have only 3 weeks in Zürich to get all the work permit and bank account paperwork done before my flight home to Sydney, I'll really be in need of a holiday. I arrive in Sydney on December 8 and I've taken the rest of the month off work, so that should hopefully be enough recovery time. I'm really looking forward to catching up with everyone back home, it's been over a year now!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It Begins...

A number of new things are beginning... Most noticeably, I'm attempting to get over my dislike of Blogs so I've decided to start this one and see if I can keep it going. It turns out this great company you might have heard of called "Google" runs a blogging site so naturally I had to host it there. You may have noticed it's called "Cheese!" which leads me to the other new thing happening...

You may or may not have heard, but I've decided to move to Zürich (thats in Switzerland for those of you playing at home). After a year in Dublin I'm ready for a change of weather and scenery so last week I began the transfer process to move to Google's other large engineering office in Europe. I've already received approval from my current and new manager so things are progressing up the chain. I've been to visit a few times now, working from the local office and I've really started to like it there. The people in the office have been great and they've even reserved a desk for me already, I really feel welcome there.

Zürich is a beautiful city, set along the banks of a long, narrow lake with lights twinkling up the hills either side at night. You can see the snow capped Alps in the distance in winter and everything in Europe is near by. It's this central location that I'm really looking forward to, which, when combined with the comprehensive (and of course always on time) Swiss transport system, will mean traveling around Europe will be much simpler. No more waiting in airports for hours, just jump on a train, enjoy the scenery for a while and arrive in a whole new country shortly after.

On my visits there, I've skated in 3 Monday Night Skates (and only hurt myself once...) where they close off the streets on a 20km route through the city centre and thousands of people come out and skate. It's a great way to see the city and is good exercise too. They skate very quickly, we averaged about 17km/h on my first run. I hear stories of day trips to the ski fields where I'm looking forwarding to perfecting my new found skiing abilities, and best of all the food there is much better than in Dublin. It's much fresher, has a wider variety and of course, there's plenty of Cheese!