Thursday, 25 December 2008

Week in Greece


Traveling during winter can be frustrating if you go up north but Greece had very pleasant climate (South), with temperature range between +8c and +12c and very sunny, at least in Patras, (or Πάτρα in their language). I've got annoying rain and blistering winds in Athens, but fortunately none of those conflicts in the streets of Athens reported worldwide by the press occurred during my stay in Greece. :)

The idea of visiting Greece wasn't mine, however, as a passionate traveler, I wouldn't mind visiting such place. :)

I traveled with my parents and my brother, as we normally do every end of the year. Mom had made a friend through the internet by playing backgammon online. Her friend, Maria, is 29 years old, married and with kid (small Kostis). They kindly invited us over for Christmas in Patras. That was basically the motivation for the Greek trip.


I had the opportunity to try Greek seafood, octopus and squids. Mmmm... something that I can't find in Poland! On the other hand, in supermarkets, there is a ridiculous variety of beers. Imported beers basically only Amstel and Heineken! Oops, no Guinness for me this time! :) One issue, that can also be useful for my blog's readers as tip for a possible trip to Greece, is that credit cards are nearly not accepted anywhere. Even at fancy restaurants and cafes they accept only cash. I presume that the e-commerce does not exist in Greece if no one likes to use Credit/Charge cards. In Sweden I bought a train ticket via internet with credit card and got my e-ticket via SMS. Another tip about Greece is: WATCH YOUR STEP, cars NEVER stop for pedestrians to cross, even in the pedestrian crossing path ("zebra"). It was terrible to see a very old lady waving with her purse, almost begging to cross the road and cars going really fast very close to her.

Patras is an amazing city in the west coast of Greece, nice atmosphere. I felt it like Miami Beach! I heard there is a carnival there in February. Many motorcycles around town, not so many places to park cars. Locals go to Italy by ferryboat for cheap, journey to Bari takes 18 hours. Good luck! :P

Athens is very big city, but buildings are not so high (I guess this is the European style anyway), very efficient metro line and cheap (0,8 EUR - 1h ticket). Nearby the historical center it's easy to find nice restaurants and good Greek wines. In fact in Patras was even better for me, because there I could find more choices of seafood. Octopus overdose! :)

Few more photos (click to enlarge):



For all photos, high-quality, click here

Monday, 22 December 2008

Nano gets honoured by ex-workmates




After nearly 1,5 year working for PGS Software, and sharing many funny moments with lots of friends, my road once again forked and I had to leave this amazing team. I will still be living in Poland (I hope), and life goes shorter while memories get longer. :)

Believe it or not, this was the best way they have found to honor me. They have taken this special picture, so I can never forget them! So lovely! :)

Special thanks to the most crazy fuckers among all the others:

G. Makosa (Carrying letter "U") - bastard had the idea of doing such photo
P. Kwiatowski (Carrying letter "O")
M.Rakowski - Trujilo (Doing "devil sign" with hand)
S. Guz (Not in the photo) - bastard was sick, couldn't come

Special thanks for non-fuckers, but not present in the photo:

P. Gurgul
W. Gurgul
M. Gurgul
K. Kurzionek <- was supposed to be in the photo!

Picture will be enlarged if you click on it. :P

Happy 2009!!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Swedish trip ( + Bullet For My Valentine concert! )



Scandinavia has become my current spot in Europe. After visiting Oslo during summer, I've chosen Sweden to explore. I've visited three important cities there: Stockholm, Uppsala and Vasteras. Next trip will probably include Malmo and Gothenburg. Maybe during summer... I don't know. :P

The adventure was pretty much "influenced" by the low-cost airlines, so I could book tickets, for 56 EUR, a round-trip flight from Poland to Sweden. My plan was to spend seven nights, two of them in Vasteras, three in Stockholm and two in Uppsala.

What impressed me the most in Sweden?

  • Cordiality - Drivers always stop for the pedestrians even if the pedestrian doesn't force a move to cross. Just need to stand and they will stop for you to cross.
  • Trains - Fast and comfortable like a hotel. The toalet I saw during my journey was better than the one at my flat in Wroclove. And I could buy my ticket via internet and make check-in via SMS. Cool !
  • Communication - Nearly EVERYBODY speaks english, even old people. No need to learn Swedish at all ! The only non-english speaker I met was a turkish guy in the hostel :P

Stockholm

The city is full of bridges, due to its lake and connection to the Baltic sea. The metro is efficient and a single-way ticket valid for one hour costs 20 SEK (approx. 2 EUR). Interesting places I've seen during my stay:

  • Royal Castle - One of those palaces with a bored guard in front of it. Entrance costs around 13 EUR.
  • Icy Pub - A pub made of ice in its entirety. 18 EUR to get inside. They offer extra clothes and you can stay inside up to 40 minutes.
  • Vasa Museum - Amazing museum of a Vasa boat which has sunk in 1628. Entrance costs around 10 EUR.
All of these places mentioned above are very well know, just need to ask a local where it is exactly. My post is not a guidebook! :P

Uppsala



This is a students' town! I've never seen so many bikes in the streets. Amazing atmosphere. I was hosted by Gabriela Velasquez , from Chile. I had a great time in Uppsala, met many people from abroad; Spanish, Polish, French, Vietnamese, Kyrgyzstani

Uppsala doesn't have many specific touristical spots to see. The town is the spot itself. :P

Vasteras



Even smaller (less population) than Uppsala, Vasteras is also place for students. I could see many young people all around. I was hosted by Kaja, a Polish friend, who is living in a students' dormitory. In my opinion Swedish dorms are much better than the ones in Poland because there is no disgusting old ladies in the reception desk asking for ID all the time! I guess in the whole Sweden is like that. :P

I've seen many gorgeous flats by the lake and very interesting shopping center, which consists on shops in different buildings (3 or 4) but they are connected to each other by some tunnels over the streets to give the impression of unity.

Bullet for my valentine concert (3rd December, 2008 - Arenan Fryshuset)



Amazing! High-quality Welsh metal! This was part of promoting tour of the album "Scream Aim Fire" released this year.

The interaction with the audience was intense. During the song 'Eye of the storm' people opened a space in the middle of the crowd and started to run in circle - to be, in fact, THE EYE OF THE STORM! Uh!

The best part for me was during the song 'Waking the demon' - the crowd performed the WALL OF DEATH. You don't know what it is? Check it out:



I'll be keeping on chasing metal concerts in Europe!! ooh, yeah!

For full album of photos, just click here.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Brazilian restaurant in Wroclaw


Uhh! Recently opened in Wroclaw, the first Brazilian restaurant of the lower Silesia. :P

Few months ago, my Brazilian friends in Poland had a terrible experience in a so-called 'Brazilian churrascaria' in the mountain town of Zakopane, in the south of Poland, close to Slovak border. I had seen that restaurant myself before but didn't try it out (for my own sake!).

Now, fortunately, we have the best of our cuisine just few kilometers away from us, in the very centre of Wroclaw. Restaurant 'Braziliana' is co-owned by a Brazilian lady, and the kitchen is lead by a Brazilian chef from Minas Gerais. So we (Brazilian brotherhood of Wroclaw: Me, Alberto, Paulo, Cabeca, Tito..) were pretty sure that food in there wouldn't disappoint us. So we went there to check it out! :)

At first we've met the chef, Marcelo Barra, who warmly greeted us, and suggested Brazilian beer 'Skol' for us to start. No Warka nor Żywiec allowed!!! :) - He also gave us his visit card so we can call him before, to order a Muqueca!

For this first time I tried 'Bife Acebolado' and next sunday I will try the 'Feijoada' - The one with pork feet, ears, ribs... total Brazilian bash!! hehe!

Additionally we met the waitress, very well-dressed for the occasion and very kind to us. She had the Brazilian soul within her Polish body, and a great pronunciation for the dish 'Bife acebolado' !! :P

Check the photo below, taken by Beto:



I guess I will be there every friday. To keep up with the iron in my blood stream :P

Directions:

ul. Więzienna 5B - Wroclaw, PL
http://www.braziliana.pl/

Friday, 14 November 2008

Romanian hospitality


Romania is an unique country, a Latin country in its origins but a bit lost among many Slavonic countries such as Slovakia, Bulgaria, Belarus, Ukraine and Serbia. Similarities can be found due to the history they share with the Soviet Union.

Romanian language is similar to Italian. I can understand 30% to 40% of what people speak due to the fact that I speak native Portuguese. Likewise most of post-communist countries, almost nobody speaks English on the streets. Not even in McDonalds in Bucharest. :P

People are friendly and warm, their hospitality are great and best of all, it has the taste of home-made chocolate and berries' liquor. :)
I was invited by my good friend Miu (or Milita) to go for a ride on a tradicional Romanian car (Dacia) and visit the Bran Castle (also known as: "Dracula's Castle"). Dracula, son of Dracul, also known by many different pseudos such as "Nosferatu", "Vlad", and etc. Became famous after one British writer, Bram Stoker, has released the book "Dracula" in 1897 (not sure exactly).

Many things people say are not true. He wasn't able to transform himself into a bat and he also hasn't influenced Batman's uniform design. These are myths. What is true, is that he used to suck blood from virgins' necks, which made him an idol among adepts of the brutal machismo(exaggerated masculinity). The rest of the people he killed he hanged in the fance outside the castle, in order to intimidate betrayers.

Few photos in the castle (Click to enlarge):



  • First photo is the outside view of this haunted castle.
  • Second photo shows some message in the wall, in the main entrance. I don't know what it means.
  • Third photo shows the edge, the highest tower of the castle.
  • Fourth photo shows Mili, official Dracula's guide and best Romanian friend.

Bucharest

At the end of my short trip to Romania, I visited Bucharest, their capital and biggest city.

Bucharest reminded me a lot the city of Sao Paulo. Traffic jam, crowded shopping centers and streets.

This photo on the left shows one of the main streets in the city. It leads straight to the Parlament Palace. One of the main spots to visit in Bucharest.

I promess I won't miss the flight again, so I will have more time to visit this capital! I lost two flights already this year. I'm becoming very experienced!! :)

Full photo album (up to 80 photos) available here.

Check also Mili's post on this trip, by clicking here

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Weekend in Warsaw + Thin Lizzy concert


A quick escape to the Polish metropolis for particular reasons! :)

Ok... I admit! It was for another concert! I know I'm just the craziest heavy metal addicted but I had no choice! Thin Lizzy was going to perform for the first time in Poland!

During the golden ages, in which Phil Lynott still was the front man of the band, Poland was part of the Soviet Union and was totally closed to western culture including Rock. I've just noticed that I'm talking like an old fan of Thin Lizzy, but unfortunately I'm not! When I got to know this great band, their main lead singer had died from overdose since more than a decade before. However, it doesn't change the fact that this band has influenced me a lot and Lynott's charisma will be forever remembered.

The concert was going to happen on monday, 27th of october, so I decided to come for the whole weekend so I could meet some old friends, from my previous exchange.

I was hosted again by my friend Karol Yamazaki, from the old drinking times in Warsaw, in 2007! He's one of the best! We went to the Warsaw's Metro party! After 25 years, the metro of Warsaw (which has only one single line) is finally completed. There was an open party in the end of the line (Młociny), with a free concert of Alice Russel (UK) and Gitara Czerwona (PL).

Some photos:



I joined Przemek for dinner on sunday, I met him also during my previous exchange in Poland. He has been to my home in Salvador in 2007 and he hosted me twice in Warsaw. Always recommends me good restaurants. :) On Sunday evening I joined Anna Sawa for a ice-cream. She's my friend from Lublin. And guess what? She also has been to my home in Salvador, but funny thing is that I wasn't there! xD - Good friends are scattered throughout whole Warsaw! :)



Well, on monday I had the Thin Lizzy concert, led by John Sykes and Scott Gorham. The concert started with the sirens' sound - which precedes the song "Jailbreak". A classic. Well I don't have much to complain about the chosen songs, even though I always miss one or two songs. :P

Best performance for me was "Don't believe a word". This song carries an aggressive guitar solo which really impresses me. This song has also a slow version, rarely performed, but there is. I guess I prefer the fast version anyway. :)

Oh, and of course, they've played their best ballads: "Dancing in the moonlight" and "Still in love with you". Yeah, they still rock!

I got some photos (click to enlarge):



...and a video:



See you, in the next concert!!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Polish Autumn


Time for good photos. As the autumn comes crushing, it's time to catch the color and essence of the moment with my inseparable mobile phone with 3.2-megapixel camera embedded, which is almost unable to receive calls but the camera itself still rocks! Proud to be an amateur!! :)

The word autumn comes from the Old French word autompne (automne in modern French), and was later normalized to the original Latin word "autumnus". There are rare examples of its use as early as the 14th century, but it became common by the 16th century.

Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the season. However as more people gradually moved from working the land to living in towns (especially those who could read and write, the only people whose use of language we now know), the word harvest lost its reference to the time of year and came to refer only to the actual activity of reaping, and fall, as well as autumn, began to replace it as a reference to the season.

Who cares about etymology? In Poland they call the autumn: JESIEŃ! :P

Some photos I took from this latest weekend:


  • Left-most picture shows golden leaves before their fall in the sunny Wrocław. That one was taken very randomly, during my walk back home last sunday 12th.
  • Center picture depicts a rare rose from the Tatra mountains. This sample was found in Slovakia in november of 2007 during one of my trips. :P
  • Right-most picture is 2x worth-seeing as you can see the trees and their reflection. I know the water is a bit dirty but nowadays we can't expect any better. This one was taken in the japanese garden, also in Wrocław.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Weizen Bier with friends


What?? One-liter beer? Promotion? Half-priced? Where? Rynek? With Whom?? Friends?


COUNT ON ME!



Disclaimer: The quality of the video is not good because it was taken on Alberto's camera! not mine's! ;)

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Kraków trip


Why Krakow? What can we find there? Is it worth seeing?



Enough said!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Slovak goulash


Couldn't resist the invitation to join my Slovak family for some goulash in the woods (yes, in the middle of the woods). Slovak cousine with Kofola and best Slovak beer: Zlaty Bazant, the Slovak sensation! (yeah!). Oh! and of course CIASTECZKI BARBORECZKI ©, made by its own inventor: Barbora. :)

These unique ciasteczki are some amazing candies prepared with rum, chocolate and condensed milk, that give a special sensation after eating it. :P

Note in the photo on the left: this is my babe adding the beer itself to the gulash to improve its taste. It's what I call 'the Slovak touch'. :)

Slovakia is going to be less unique in the next few months. Wth, wtf?? Yes. On 1st of January of 2009, the Slovak crowns will be no longer accepted in Slovakia. Euro will be the official currency. (I just hope the price of my Zlaty Bazant won't go up in value. :P )


Few more photos (By clicking, you enlarge them):


Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Nazi Wrocław (Photos from 1945)


As many of you already know, Wrocław (also known by the German name 'Breslau') used to be under the control of the German Furher, Adolf Hitler (even though he was Austrian).

During the occupation, Poland wasn't even on the map! :(

This photo on the left shows Hitler in the main railway station "Dworzec Głowny".


As well as Dresden, Wrocław got severely bombed by the allies RAF (Royal Air Force - UK) and USAAF (U.S. Army Air Force), city centre was destroyed. Even the cathedral couldn't escape. Now the cathedral in "Ostrów Tumski" is rebuilt and reigning Wrocław's city centre view.

Nowadays Wrocław is known to be "Miasto spotkań" - which means: "The meeting place", a city for entertainment, lots of clubs, bars, shopping centres, boat ride, zoo, botanic garden, paintball and best of all: the sun shines most of the time.

Please don't take this as a sad post, but just as a cultural and historical overview of the best city in Poland.

More photos (Click to enlarge):



Photos taken from: http://wroclaw.hydral.com.pl/

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

One year has passed...


The big adventure that changed (and still changes) my life started on the 2nd of September of 2007, when I left my tropical and beautiful hometown in Brazil to face a totally different culture and lifestyle, starting everything from scratch.

I have to admit the farewell was difficult. It's not easy to buy one-way ticket and say good-bye to family and friends. It's the the price of taking the red pill. I knew I was passing the point of no return.

Among my memorable last moments in Brazil I shall mention: my band's last concert - MONSTER MASH, the farewell party at my aunties' house and my graduation on Computer Science at Universidade Federal da Bahia (a.k.a. UFBA) - memorable days for sure!!

The first photo above was taken during my farewell party on 31th, Aug 2007. From the left: Vitor, Bruno Leo, Guigo, Me, Daniel, Valdeir, Bruno Celino. Good colleagues. With them we defeated the bad professors! :)


Below there are photos from the MONSTER MASH last concert! First photo shows our assistent preparing my make-up. Ok, I know it sounds a bit poser but dont worry it's pure horror punk metal! The second photo shows our lineup: Nano(guitar and backing vocals), Duda(Vocals and dancing), Grilo(drums), Alelas(bassist). And the third photo shows Almeidao(who recently visited me in Wrocław) and Bessinha, the craziest fun of MONSTER MASH! Click to enlarge.



...and my graduation official photo. From the left: Oriva, Nano, Lage, Helton, Amadeu, Monica and the rightmost dude who I just can't recall the name. :P

I know I look funny in these photos but they are memorable anyway. :)




Coming back to the main subject: POLAND

People keep asking me: "Why Poland?" - As long as Poland is not a top destination for international travellers. But that was exactly what I was looking for. When I first attempted to book tickets to "WRO" (IATA code for Wroclaw) - The travel agent innocently tried to warn me: "No one flies to there" - perhaps thinking I was mistaken about the destination code - I just gave her a smile and replied: "I know".

The flight took around eleven hours (without the time spent for flight connections) plus six hours by train from Warsaw to Wroclaw. When I finally arrived I felt like Peter Pan arriving in Neverland.

I was very lucky to find an job opportunity in a company in Poland. I wasn't so criterious on choosing the company I just wanted to go somewhere else, preferebly some far, cold and unexplored country. Fortunately, the fine atmosphere at work and my happiness of living a dream joined together into sinergy contributing to my success and self-realisation.

Learning Polish language was part of the plan. The more I tried to learn it, the more motivated I was. As very few people choose Polish language as second or third language. It's difficult to find some non-native speaker. Polish people normally don't expect a non-Polish individual to speak Polish. They keep saying it's very hard language. I always got compliments for trying to speak in their way most of the time.

After one year living in "Wroclove", I don't feel any cultural shock anymore and I really got acostumated not only with Polish lifestyle but with the European lifestyle in general. Best part of living in southwest of Poland is the proximity to nice places such as Prague, Berlin and the Slovak paradise. ;)

What's next? Adventure goes on.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Scottish Highlands!


Awesome Scottish vacations! Nine breath-taking days in Highlands plus Edinburgh during Fringe festival!

I was hosted by my girlfriend and her niece, the adorable Barbora, gifted with the art of making candies. :)

Visiting Scotland I had the opportunity to practice my Polish as 2% of Edinburgh's population are Polish. When I was in one of the restaurants "SubWay", the Polish guy that was making my sandwich started to talk to some Polish customers in their language but using lots of 'kurwa' and 'pierdole' words... I just made a comment by saying "Uważaj jak się wyrażasz, człowieku!" (Watch your mouth, man!) and we both started laughing and at last he made a comment about my Sepultura t-shirt: "Twoja koszułka jest nice" (Your t-shirt is nice) - Polinglish language? :)

Our route engulfed main spots in Scotland. Starting from Edinburgh, we took a bus to Inverness and then we slept in some village near the famous Loch Ness and the legend of the monster! Uhh! And then, to Dornie to visit the Eilean Donan castle (medieval) and going on to the cozy village of Kyleakin by the seashore, for relaxing. Fort William was the next step. Rather than Polish we've found Slovaks! I was wearing my t-shirt with the Slovak flag enclosed and few times Slovak people rushed into me talking in Slovak. Didn't know that even with my "latino appearance" people would think I'm Slovak because of my beautiful t-shirt. :P

The rain bothered a bit in Glasgow during the journey back to Edinburgh. But fortunately, I can say that we've seized mostly a "sunny Scotland".



For the following photos you can click on it to enlarge:

Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle - Drumnadrochit village



My remarks: The monster never shows up! Frustrating! But the view of the Urquhart Castle is amazing, specially when there is a doubled rainbow in the sky. Worth seeing. :)

Eilean Donan Castle - Dornie village



We were adviced before, by some Americans, that Eilean Donan was a lame castle. Well, even though it is very well redone, does not mean it is lame.

Castle ruins - Kyleakin village



After becoming a true "Highlander" I got back to Edinburgh to enjoy the festival and night life.

Among Edinburgh's attractions there is the Chinese circus. Which is a different kind of amusement, not only based on wild animals, but on humans' performances. The positive aspect on this is that attendees won't smell like elephant shit after the spectacle. :)



Oh, Edinburgh Zoo, which I can evaluate as 3/5. The zoo is located on a slope, so all the time I was going uphill. There are no giraffes, no elephants, no reptiles (only 2 snakes), the most impressive beast was the black panther from the Amazon and the Polar bear. Also lots of penguins. Wroclaw's Zoo in Poland is much better. Enough said. :P



Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2008



Edinburgh is 100% culture! Musicians and arts performers spread everywhere. People distributing flyers and folders for music/theatre spectacles. Some of them for free. Lots of young people and great atmosphere. I have to admit that Edinburgh surpassed my previous favourite European city (Oslo) and became the top of my rank. I strongly recommend.

Don't miss the chance to see the full album with more than 120 photos - Click Here!