Tag Archives: europe

Auberge de la Ferme: Wine Choices for Dinner

I never had the opportunity to write about the experience at Auberge de la Ferme. I will do it in another opportunity because now I just want to share our wine choices for dinner. They have an extensive selection of wines in a big cave and every time we go there we spend a lot of time choosing the right one, hoping it is good enough for the occasion.

This time we made a very good choice at a good price. They are:

Montravel

We had a gastronomic dinner with 7 services and most of the dishes demanded a white wine. We choose Montravel, that was one of the waiter‘s suggestions. This is a very good 12% dry and fruity wine 2013.

White wine Montravel
White wine Montravel

Julienas

Some of the dishes demanded a red wine. So, we once again accepted one of the waiter‘s suggestions. The dry, 13% red wine Juliénas 2011.

Red Wine Julienas
Red Wine Julienas

We still are amateurs in the art of wine appreciation. So, I’m saving the choices here for the next time 🙂 .

Great Experience at Frankfurt Airport and with Lufthansa

With all those crazy things going on all around the world these days, I believe sharing good news may help to compensate with good vibes all the negativity out there. It’s a good thing to recognize good actions made by people around us.

Having said that, I devote this post to send a big thanks to Frankfurt Airport and to Lufthansa Airlines. I don’t know how these companies are evaluated by their customers in general. Perhaps, we were simply lucky, but what has happened and the way we were treated are worth spreading.

We arrived at Frankfurt Airport in an United Airlines flight coming from the US (I have nothing to say about this company btw :-/). We were three: My wife, my one year old boy and I. The airport is enormous, but it couldn’t be easier to get directions inside. We experienced good accessibility carrying our baby’s stroller, with a negligible delay in comparison to other ways.

Everybody was genuinely gentle, from the immigration to the arrival in Brussels. No silly jokes, no excessive friendly behavior, just fine 🙂 That was the first contact we had with those people, thus they have no reason to exceed kindness, unless they were selling a false image of the company, which they didn’t. We actually felt relaxed dealing with those people. We needed that after a exhausting 8 hours flight from the US.

Our baby arrived at the airport sleeping and stayed like that until Brussels. That’s what I call the smoothest flight connection ever 🙂 The baby spaces are separated from the toilets and they are accessible within a range of 50 meters maximum. The security check has a special track for people with strollers and wheel chairs. We followed the procedure calmly and fast 🙂  All that is so convenient!

Even things that rarely work were working that day 🙂 We didn’t have our seats marked in the flight to Brussels due to some technical problems during the reservation. We were afraid to have seats far from each other and be forced to negotiate rearrangements within the airplane. Fortunately, the attendant managed to put us together. It never happened before! I may admit we were lucky 😉

It couldn’t be better until the boarding time when our expectations were exceeded! A lot of first and business class people around and the attendant called us to be the first ones to enter in the airplane. She called us out loud using the microphone and explained to other passengers that the baby would require some extra effort during boarding and it would help to gain some time after all. I call it intelligence and good judgment because that’s exactly what I would do in her shoes 🙂

Unfortunately, many airports out there banned such practice, which is the case of Brussels Airport and Washington Dulles, the ones we have been with our baby. Those airports following such stupid rule should give attention to families with babies and people with disabilities because this is not a privilege to a minority, but a necessity. They ignore the fact that it’s tough to travel with a little baby. Thanks to Lufthansa, we arrived very relaxed in Belgium, with a big smile on our faces 🙂

Freedom of Thinking and Speech at Devoxx 2012

I have been attending Devoxx in a row since it was called JavaPolis and then they had to change the name to Devoxx due to copyright issues with Sun Microsystems at the time. I have the privilege to live close (in terms of world, but far in terms of Belgium) to the hosting city, Antwerp, and I’m used to be passionate and engaged with the Java international community. However, the main reason I’m successively attending this conference is because they excel every edition, making the next one unmissable. This year it wasn’t different.

Stephen Janssen trying to find 200 available places in that crowded geek audience.

Devoxx is probably the only conference in the world that manages to put Oracle and Google face to face without conflicts. This is such a great achievement that I would recommend Devoxx’s team to the United Nations in order to address the conflict in Gaza and finally put an effective peace process in place between Israel and Palestine 😉

By the way, I should say something about the way Oracle leads their keynote speeches. Last year Oracle made a pretty boring presentation, but it was ok after all. This year they exceeded themselves making a pretty boring + chaotic presentation. First, Nandini Ramani, vice president of engineering, Java client, and mobile platforms at Oracle, was clearly nervous on the stage. At some point, she called Stephen Chin to join her and he didn’t show up. Ups! She decided to jump to the next presentation, which was clever, but right in the middle she was interrupted by the sound of a motorcycle, causing a pretty awkward moment. What?! 😀 Yep! We initially thought that the staff accidentally opened a door, bringing noise from the traffic, but in fact Stephen Chin suddenly came out with the motorcycle used in his Night Hacking Project. That was actually pretty cool except by the fact that Nandini was completely taken by surprise. She couldn’t handle that unforeseen situation and she just handed over to Stephen, leaving the presentation halfway. Still, we had a lot of fun watching the situation. 😀

On the other hand, Google made a great tech show! Wow²! They know how to hold the audience’s breath. The only issue (at least for those urging to visit the toilet) was their inability to manage time. The presentation took longer than expected, but every second was pretty well spent on exciting demos! Cool!

So, what do I learn from that? From my perspective, I see Devoxx as a great independent conference where it’s possible to closely compare leading competitors and make realistic decisions about the technologies we are going to chose for the coming years. Devoxx is definitively the best alternative to avoid brainwashing conferences such as JavaOne (It wasn’t like that in the past). This is to say the least, because they managed to overcome our expectations by adding a special track named Future<Devoxx>, focused on the programming of tiny devices, such as TinkerForge, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and others. Curiously, there wasn’t a single mention to the classic SunSpot, which is probably one of many nice projects killed by Oracle after acquiring SUN. That track added a world of possibilities to all those entrepreneurial minds. Well done!

Is that all?! Not yet. Mother Devoxx is going to have a new baby next year! After Devoxx France, they announced Devoxx UK. Yeah, attending Devoxx became a touristic problem now, based on the city you wanna visit 😉 Last, but not least, Devoxx4Kids is definitively a great initiative! I actually wanted to attend it, but I have to wait for my little boy, who is only 11 months old now. I’m giving him twice more milk to watch him grow up faster 😛

Creative Solution to Keep Business Running Under Special Circumstances

Rue du Luxembourg, Brussels, around 7:20 in the morning, going to work. A drugstore was under complete renovation. It wouldn’t be open for customers… unless they put the drugstore in a special container and place it on the sidewalk just in front of it 🙂

If you are planning to renew your business, take some time to think about a creative solution to keep it running.

I’m Pregnant!

Today, my wife gave me the greatest news I’ve ever received. She said that I’m gonna be a DAD! Uhuu! o/ This is something very powerful, you know?! I have no words to describe my expectation to become a father. The news has an immediate impact on the way we see life from now on. All plans we made for ourselves in the coming days, months, years, are now totally forgotten. This new life has the power of attracting all our attention and dedication, which makes me think that the future cannot be designed, at least for the next nine months, and everything that will happen is unpredictable and deserves immediate response.

You may wonder why the title is “I’m pregnant” if I’m obviously a man. It is because I’m feeling all symptoms of a pregnancy that my wife is going through. Of course my Love is reading lots of books, websites and magazines about her new experience. As she tells me what she is feeling, I get myself feeling the same! 😀 hehehe Nausea, fatigue, headaches, frequent urination, and everything else she tells me. I’m also following the same diet and habits. The absence of coffee is the worse part. I was used to drink 3 to 4 cups a day, which makes me realize now that I was addicted to it. I’m probably getting some weight too, but I certainly need self control about food because one big belly is enough for a pregnant couple.

By the way, a baby is not the only good news. The package also includes 9 months (maybe more) without premenstrual irritation, menstruation, birth control, tampons, and no worries about keeping a flat tummy 😉

This boy or girl will probably have some time in the future to visit this post. So, I’m getting the opportunity to say a few words:

We will do our best to educate you the most constructive and positive way possible. It includes doing things that you won’t like at the moment you experience it, but you will understand when you grow up. You have to understand that you are our first experience as parents and we will probably make some mistakes in the course of your education. We never know.

We plan to have another baby, maybe a third one also, because we believe that it’s important for you to have a brother or sister. When we are all growing together as a family, don’t worry when you notice that we are giving more attention for them than for you. This is because they are younger and naturally deserve more attention, as you received when you were at the same age. We also understand that you are more mature to understand that. At some point none of you will have privileges any more and we will treat you all equally, as we love you all equally. 

Another point is concerning the language we speak with you. At home you will listen to Portuguese. At the day care center you will listen to French. Furthermore, since you were born in Belgium, which has three official languages, the language confusion will get even worse :D. But it is good for you. We decided to speak in Portuguese with you because we think you should speak fluently with other members of the family, like your grandparents, uncles, cousins, aunts and so on. They are really nice people and they were all waiting for you too. I wished you could see their faces when your mother told them you were coming. 

By the way, your mother is feeling great now! She is reading a lot of books that try to explain how to take care of you. We know they are not always right and the real thing will start when you show up here 🙂 God! You have no idea how life already changed so far. Good changes of course. We have nothing to complain about. Just waiting for you now.