Thursday, January 31, 2008


My hotel in Milan is clean, warm, comfortable and has wifi. It also has a predominantly male clientele. In fact, I am the only woman on the premises (apart from the receptionist but she has a mustache). My PayTv has an impressive list of adult movies, 9 out 12 in total. Impressive is also the amount of strip clubs and porn shops in the surrounding area. This area is supposed to be the main centre for telecoms companies...interesting, will have to discuss this with my friends at Ericsson!
Below is my porn-street at 7 am this morning.

The force, Luke!

I'm in Milan now. Long train journey and I've gone straight to bed. A very entertaining email regarding squirrells and star wars ended a rather hectic day - I shall leave you all to ponder on that - there is a connection between the two, use the force and you shall see it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Milan today.

Been up since 5 am working , I know this is not like me at all! I'm packing up and will be leaving for Milan after my visits today. I'm really sorry to be leaving Rome but let's see if the Fashion Capital has got anything to offer a girl who doesn't care much for fashion (well, apart from shoes)

When in Rome (I just had to!)

Been out power walking for 2 hours or so. I have made 2 observations:

1. Rome has the friendliest drivers in the world. Whenever you need to cross the road, just walk and they will stop for you. Being normally a very careful road-crosser I find myself walking along like any other Roman. I even crossed the road a couple times when I didn't need to - just for fun. (so you can now start betting on how long it will take until Marie gets run over)

2. Rome doesn't photograph well. You know how when you get to a famous landmark for the first time you are always a bit disappointed because it looked better in the photos. This is not the case for Rome. My powerwalk took me past Piazza di Bernini, to Fontana di Trevi and the Spanish Steps - there is just no comparison to photographs...amazing! I need to come back here!

Back in the hotel, had a quick bite, a shower and will now get on with some work, while listening to Black Car Race of course!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My hotel btw is called Domus

Swedes will understand what's funny about that

And then there was the lovely taxi driver...

...who took me back to the hotel. He was playing a CD with a kind of of jazzy-Joe Crocker type of music, with a bit of country thrown in, sung in English with an Italian accent.

I had to ask about it, it was really quite...unusual. Turned out it was his band (obviously not doing very well since he's driving a taxi) and he gave me a free copy of his CD! Bless him!

So I will now start to market the band in the hopes that he can leave the "mines" and fulfill his dreams.

The group is called Black Car Race and the album (who knows, they might have more than one) is Summer of Love. I'm listening to it now. My favourite track is "The Colours of the Night". Look out for it people, I think it's the next big thing!

Blonde, Si! Idiot, No!

I've just had my first big fight in Italian. It went something like this

- Scuzi, but I want Via Cassia
- Si, si via Cassia
- You just turned off via Cassia
- Si, Si via Cassia
- Si, Via Cassia is over there
- No, blablablablablabla......blabla
- No, you need to turn back
- No, blablablablablabla......blabla
- Quicker? Ok then

5 min later

- Meter is 15 Euro, solo 10 Euro to Via Cassia, dieci euro!!
- No, Via Cassia blablablabla
- No, dieci!!!

He turns the taxi and heads back to Via Cassia - stops with the meter at 25 Euro

- Grazi, I'm paying ten euro only
- No, 25 euro
- No
- 25 Euro blablablabla
- No, you didn't go straight here, I have a map and I followed how you were driving. It's 10 euro
- (staring at me with angry eyes)
- Blonde, Si! Idiot, No!

He takes my 10 Euro and leaves. Should teach him not to mess with a Swede!

Tea with Mussolini

I'm out in La Storta, outside of Rome's ring road (I thought all roads lead to Rome, but the ring road just goes round it!). Beautiful area, and because I'm a bit early for my visit I've sat down for a cup of tea. In a coffee-obsessed country, ordering a cup of tea with milk is controversial!

Coffee-shop guy goes: Ah, English, I live in England-e 2 years-e. Yes-e, tea with milk-e, like the Queen(-e).

Didn't want to spoil his morning by telling him I'm Swedish. He was sweet, and the tea was good too.

I'm wearing red pjs with snowmen on!

Good morning!
Before I had a chance to go to sleep last night my boss called me up with more instructions how to speak in public (big sigh...those of you that know me understand my frustration). In the middle of a "make sure you smile and move your hands" he all of a sudden asked me:

- Marie, what are you wearing?
- What, you mean right now? (I was tired!)

The poor guy obviously saw a big sexual harassment lawsuit on the horizon so he quickly added:

-No no no no no, tomorrow, but I'm sure it's fine, you always dress well. Ok, bye bye!!

Ok-la. Good thing, don't think my pjs are much of a turn-on!

In bed before 8 pm.

Jet-lag and Marie doesn't match. I've finished all my emails for today so I'm crawling into bed! Sleep well my friends.

My dinner - not bad eh?

I'm too tired to go out for dinner tonight, and I have loads of work to get through. Plus I had a lovely big lunch - Penne al Salmone. I've opted for a small dinner - bread, cheese, prosciutto and salami...and a small bottle of Chianti! Served the way food like this should always be...on a manila folder!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Miss Bulgari...

So I'm finally in Rome! Having spent a night at the hotel that God forgot, I have now found another, not quite so grim (actually very comfortable albeight in a slightly dodgy area). Rome is really not what I had imagined at all. I've always been told about the chaos, pollution, crazy traffic and rude people. Perhaps living in Hong Kong makes one immune against these things because I am finding Rome quiet, clean, cars stop to let me across the street and everyone is lovely... (yes, I'm really sure that I'm in the right country!).

I had a quick stroll around yesterday, visited the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, and what can I say - I'm absolutely god-smacked. The whole city is like one giant museum and I am so so sorry that I have no time to do any sight-seeing. The sun's shining too!
One mildly interesting thing that happened today...I was introduced to a Miss Bulgari of the Bulgari family!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

...but it's nice to have someone to give the KitKat to!

5.30 am at Heathrow airport and it is pleasantly empty. Unfortunately that means nothing is open either - if I had been a coffee-drinker I would have been denied my morning cup!

By lucky coincidence, my friend Richard was on the same flight from Hong Kong. His final destination is Tel Aviv, meaning he has flown 12 hours only to back-track another 5 or 6! Yes, I know, makes sense!

For the vast majority of the flights I've undertaken in the past 12 years (massive carbon footprint!) I have been a solo-traveller! As such, I have a tendency to fall asleep before take-off and conveniently wake up just before breakfast or landing. Richard, it turns out, has the same flight habits, so he was a very good travel companion. It was nice with some company and the KitKat you get with your meal, which is so wasted on a girl with chocolate-allergy, for once ended up in more appreciative hands!

The cafe across from where I'm sitting is opening - perhaps a cup of tea then?

Friday, January 25, 2008


Firstly, sorry that I have been vague as for where I'll be when! My schedule seems to be changing on a daily basis but the below one is pretty accurate.

My 2 weeks trip that turned into 8 weeks, was cut to 6 weeks...but after discussion with Daniel the Boss this morning, might be extended to 8 weeks after all to cover possibly some US or NZ schools.

Week 1 (from Monday 28th Jan)
Monday-Wednesday: Rome
Wednesday-Sunday: Milan

Week 2 (4th Feb)
Monday: Leysin - Montreux area
Tuesday: Geneva
Wednesday: Zurich
Thursday: Geneva
Friday: Gstaad
Sat-Sun: Copenhagen

Week 3 (11th Feb)
Monday-Tuesday: Copenhagen
Wednesday: Malmo
Thursday-Sunday: working from home in Kalmar/Vibo (admin stuff to do)

Week 4 (18th Feb)
Monday-Wednesday: Stockholm
Thursday-Saturday: Oslo
Saturday (night, party with Gbg crew??) - Sunday - Gothenburg

Week 5 (25th Feb)
Monday-Thursday: Gothenburg
Friday-Sunday: Berlin (Emma, you coming?)

Week 6 (3rd March)
Monday-Tuesday: Berlin
Wednesday-Friday: Stuttgart/Dusseldorf/Munich
Saturday: Munich - flight back to HK or continue somewhere else

I have cut Finland and Russia this time...just didn't think it was worth it

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Almost done now...

Arrived early to work today, have some last minute arrangements to take care of before I go. I got fed up with work the other day and started delegating. I've always been notoriously bad at delegating but I might have to reconsider...since yesterday I have actually been able to reply to some personal emails (not counting the daily email I send to Emma and Maria, which they are kind enough to ignore...or never receive as it gets stuck in the spam -box due to unsuitable content), and I even went out for dinner the other night! hair-dresser David asked me the question that is surely on everyone's does one pack for two month's travel? Well, taking pride in being a light traveller I expect to be doing laundry on a frequent basis. I have also had to be practical in terms of shoes (I know, this is a real sacrifice to make!) and will only bring one pair (well, and then 2 pair of boots and trainers) but I'm expecting snow in most places I visits and the majority of my shoes, no matter how pretty they may be, are just not very practical.

I'm also equipped with a really high-tech travel office including a digital camera that I have stolen from Paul, my ipod of course and a very funky laptop with all sorts of cool built-in thingies that I can't wait to crash.

Tomorrow is packing day...we shall see if it all fits into my suitcase. I'm off tomorrow night...will put my calendar up shortly!