Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Dutch adventures

So the last topic to post an update on before I get back to normal random journalling, is work. Well, it's been busy busy busy. After New York at the beginning of May it's been pretty much head down, though last week I was in Amsterdam for our annual international planning-session-cum-team-building few days.

Like Munich and the Alps last year, this was a really worthwhile trip (for the business side) and great fun (for the team-building element). After 2 and a half days of presentations, planning, and spreadsheets (we did also get to enjoy Amsterdam in the evenings, I didn't make it to the red light district but we did take a canal tour and eat in a few lovely restaurants) we drove to Muiden harbour about half an hour away from the centre of Amsterdam for our 2 day trip on the Pieternella - a 1912 clipper captained by old sea dog Matthieu.

Built in 1912 and hardly modernised since, it gave a very vivid flavour of what life at sea must have been like in the early part of the last century (men must have been a lot shorter for a start to get into the cabins). Matthieu was a mine of knowlege about all kinds of Dutch and European history and the actual sailing of the boat was fantastic, if lashed with rain on the Saturday. We sailed on the IJsselmeer, a massive dammed lake, to Volendam (very touristy) and then onto Edam, a beautiful picturesque little town only 30 minutes drive from Amsterdam. We got there too late to investigate any cheese-making activity but just wandering about the streets made up for that. A number of our crew started investigating house prices and it's safe to say there were future retirement dreams in some people's minds...

Back to Amsterdam on Sunday before finally getting home and crashing out late. It's wonderful to work with such a great bunch of people and get the opportunity to have a total laugh with them in a cool location once a year doing stuff you wouldn't normally be doing. Roll on the 2010 planning next year!

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