Posts tagged: munich

Bike riding

In the past month or so I finally started to ride my bike a bit more. I thought it’s about time to do some more movement and to take advantage of the summer, which won’t last for much longer now. So whenever I went to Munich I just put the bike in the car and I took it with me. And whenever the weather was nice, I would just go riding after work for 1-2 hours or so.

Munich is a city where the infrastructure is excellent for riding a bike. There are bike tracks almost everywhere on the roads and sidewalks. And in addition to that, there is the Isar river which goes through the city. On its banks there are bike paths all over the place, paved or gravel, so you can ride all day long if you want.

That is where I did most of my riding. My hotel is somewhere at the east city limit so I would just ride to the Isar (only 15 minutes away) and then I would just go either north or south along the Isar. And of course, I would always have my camera with me because the whole area is just beautiful. Just see for yourself, some of the pictures I made along the river:

I also thought it would be a good idea to track my rides and since my N85 has a GPS unit inside there is an easy solution for this. Nokia used to have a beta program called Sports tracker, a small application which would run on your phone and it would record your route, along with stats like speed, altitude, distance, etc. The program was discontinued but recently a new company picked it up and improved it a lot. The application itself has been improved and a new service was launched at http://www.sports-tracker.com. The routes tracked on your phone can be uploaded to the service and then you can view it on the website on a map with all kind of interesting statistics. The pictures you take with your phone during the ride can be also uploaded, so whoever looks at the website can see what it was like.

And the nice thing is, all this is free. The company makes their money by selling a heart rate transmitter belt which you can pair with your phone over bluetooth. Then the program can also record info about your heart beat which allows you to train more efficiently. While nice to have, it’s somewhat expensive and nobody forces you to buy it.

The program is of course not only for riding but for all kind of other workouts: walking, running, skying, working indoors, etc. For example, you can see what one of my  typical ride looks like.

Lakes

Really hot weather these weeks in Germany. It seems the summer finally decided to come in force and we have temperatures of 30C or more each day. At work I am somewhat lucky, we are in the northern part of the building and the heat is not that bad. I know for a fact that on the other side of the building they have in the rooms temperatures with quite a few degrees more. It’s an oven.

As usual, whenever I can I try to do some photo walks each week and since we visited that lake the previous weekend, I thought I should see what lakes are there within reasonable driving distance from Munich. It turns out there are quite a few.

There is a chain of lakes some 50km outside Munich so I went there before the sunset, so I can have better light. And less heat. This was not one of my better ideas because there was no easy way to get to the lake shore. When I finally found a way, I also found a camping spot with lots of them camping buses and lots of people. But the worse part were the mosquitoes. I could not believe how many they were. As soon as I would stop to set the tripod up or to make a picture, I would literally get attacked. I am all for sacrifices in the name of art but this was way too much, only the first two pictures are from there because I decided to cut my loses and leave before I become a bloody pulp.

I did some more research and the next day I went to Walchensee, one of the deepest and biggest alpine lakes in Germany. The lake is some 70km south of Munich, in the Bavarian Alps and this was a much better idea. It didn’t even take so long to get there, took me more to get out of the city than to drive the 70km since there is one of them no-speed-limit autobahns going south right towards the Alps. Oh, and there were no mosquitoes whatsoever. Not even one of the little punks.

The place is simply beautiful, the weather and the light were perfect and everything looked so serene and peaceful. There is a road going almost all the way around the lake so I just drove around, stopping every now and then to make some pictures. I left when the sun went below the mountain ridges. So here they are, the images:



Study week

This week I stayed home and I studied. I am going to take my last exam of the Cisco CCSP certification soon so I needed to do some practice.

The exam is all about the ASA Firewall and since I don’t have one at home and none available to me at work, I decided to get a one-week of SNAA remote lab from , a slovenian Cisco training partner. I guess I could’ve also taken a course for this exam but I think the remote lab is a better deal if the subject is not a complete mistery to you. It’s not sky-high expensive, you get exercises to practice all the items from the exam blueprint and you get to do this at your own pace, on real equipment.  Which worked perfectly, all from a browser. I was quite impressed.

Anyway, at least I get to stay home this week. Next one it’s Munich again which is gonna be real “fun” since it’s the last week of the . 6 million visitors come to  … get drunk :-? Yeah, really great. But I guess each with his own.

Life update

I am still around and I did not forget the blog, it’s just that I’ve been a bit busy with other things lately. During the week not much special is happening, it’s just work as usual. Most of the time in München, some of the time in this shithole small town called Rheinbach on the other side of Germany. Which is where I will be next week, actually. I can hardly wait, I am trembling in anticipation. Umm .. no, not really. In any case, not much I can do about that right now so I have to go.

Otherwise we’ve been working on our house, which we nicknamed “The Cave”, don’t ask why. The Cave is starting to look better now. We are also trying to do something about what we call “city rats”. They are not actually rats, just pigeons. We don’t like them, they are all over the roof, they make weird sounds and they shit everywhere. Luckily Freya might’ve found a solution:

Yes, that’s a pump-action water gun with a pretty good range. We hunt them down now and I think they are learning that it’s not so safe anymore to sit anywhere they please.

At the beginning of June I finally have a week of vacation, which should be kinda nice. As it happens, my parents will also be visiting and they will also bring a very special little somebody, which I will very happy to see again. That’s also the reason we have accelerated a bit the renovation inside The Cave. It’s not yet ready to receive too many guests but hopefully we’ll get it ready in time ;-)

Professionally I am still kinda working towards my CCSP, I have two more exams left in which the Cisco ASA firewall plays a major part. That’s one thing I can’t practice with at home so I don’t have many choices. Either classes or I just get whatever books I can for self study and I do the practice online. Which is what I will do actually. Internetwork Expert is a well-known site for the candidates to the CCIE, the Holy Grail of the Cisco certifications. They also have rack rentals and I noticed that the security rack has all the equipment I need to practice for my ASA exam: 2 ASA’s, IPS sensor, ACS server and so on, just perfect.

So I just rented rack slots for one week and at the end of June and I will just stay home and practice. It’s actually not that expensive either, about $15 for a 5.5 hour slot. My boss agreed with the plan, probably the $90 price for one week  plus some books as opposed to many thousands of euros for a 4-day Cisco course plus travel expenses might’ve had something to do with it.

Last but not least, I am still trying to convince Freya to do a guest post on the blog but so far no success. I am still working on it, she has some funny stories to tell from her daily trips to work ;-) I even offered to translate it into romanian but I guess I need to offer more incentive. We’ll see.