Sunday September 21, 2008

I’ve been wanting to blog about my recent trip to Austria-Germany-Italy for a while now but I’ve had trouble trying to upload all the pictures! The Xanga photo uploader is taking forever to upload 1 picture!! I’ve only managed to upload these pictures one by one over the course of 2 days. I’ll try to upload the rest of the 30 over pictures slowly but if it continues to be like this, I’ll upload the pics up on Facebook. Enjoy!!

Day 1 – Arrival in Lindau, Germany

We flew in to Zurich, Switzerland and was transported to Lindau, Germany by coach. It took about 2 hours.
The view from my hotel room window in Lindau, Germany where we were staying. Lindau is an Island located in the eastern part of Lake Constance which connects Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It was raining when we got there so it was pretty cold. About 13 degrees.

Lindau…..such a quaint little european town!

Hotel Reutemann, the hotel where we stayed at which overlooks the harbour. My room was on the second floor, second window from the right! The hotel rooms here are tiny!

The beautiful scenes around Lindau harbour.

The view from my hotel room window again after the rain subsided.

More pictures to come..hopefully…

Ok, after resizing the pictures and patiently uploading them 2 by 2, I can continue on with my eurotrip post!

Having a cup of Hot Choc (coz I don’t drink coffee ) at one of the many al fresco cafes located by the Lindau harbour.

That night we were taken out on a yacht for dinner. Food was great! View from the yacht was fabulous but I was so jet-legged that by around 8pm local time (which was when this sun setting pic was taken), I was already dozing off at the table!

Day 2- Off to Bregenz, Austria for Press Event and Interviews

Outside Lindau train station which was located right behind our hotel

We were transported by coach from Lindau to Bregenz, Austria which was about 20 mins away. The Swatch event was held at this place called ‘Festspielhaus’ or The Festival House.

The Malaysian team! L-R: Sook Lai – Swatch Malaysia, Ai Lee – The Star, Aries – Swatch Malaysia, Ah Hong – 8TV’s Camwhore (he’s the one in the yellow cap blowing us a kiss!), Shamsul – Berita Harian, Yin Foong – Sin Chew and me!

Inside the Press Conference. There were around 500 journalist and media from all over the world, so this PC was held in an auditorium! Swatch launched 2 new collections this time around, the Chrono Plastic collection and the 007 James Bond Villains Collection

In the middle is Mr Nicholas G. Hayek or Dr. Swatch, the founder of Swatch and with him are the actors who plays the villain Jaws (left) and Le Chiffre (right).

With Mads Mikkelsen who plays Le Chiffre in the 2006 James Bond movie, Casino Royale. Several polls in Danish women’s magazines have named him the ‘Sexiest Man in Denmark’ and I totally agree!

With Richard Kiel who plays Jaws in the 1977 James Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me. He is, if not one of the, tallest and biggest man I’ve ever seen in my whole life. He was seated the whole time during the interview because he’s now semi-paralysed, but he stands at 7ft4 and my hands were the size of his palms. He’s a great guy though, really friendly and funny.

The Harbour which surrounds the Festspielhaus.

Saw a lot of toddlers riding this pedal-less bike around Lindau and Bregenz. Did a little research on the net and I found out that this is actually called the ‘PEDObike’, the original wooden walking bike. Too cute for words!

The Swatch Yacht which transported us again that evening from Lindau back to Bregenz for the Gala dinner.

All the ladies at dinner..

The setting for the gala dinner was really grand. We had real candles burning on the candlesticks and chandeliers and projector screens playing all the James Bond clips from over the years. Food was good too!!

The after-party. There was even an ice-bar there!!

The performers of the night – The Leningrad Cowboys! What an eccentric bunch! You have to check out their shoes and their overall style. Click here for a picture of all 150 of them!!

Day 3 – From Austria to Italy
In the train from Bregenz, Austria to Milan, Italy. None of the signs were in English and when we got to the Bregenz station, the ticket counter was not opened yet so with the help of a local (who couldn’t really speak English) we got in the wrong train. So instead of 6 hours, we took 8 hours to get to Milan!

But the view on the way there was damn worth the 2 extra hours though!

Finally in Milan!

Milano Centrale is one huge-ass station with not many signs in English. We missed 2 trains here due to miscommunication and also ‘malaysian’ timing.

Milan town

At Via della Spiga, the ‘Rodeo Drive’ of Milan. All the high-end boutiques are located here. Went to check out the Swatch boutique. The Swatch boutique here is one of 2 that custom make Swatches and almost 80% of what they have in the store are Limited Spiga Editions.

The only touristy thing we did was to visit the Duomo. One of the world’s largest cathedral in Milan.

The Statue of Napoleon Bonaparte (if I’m not mistaken) in front of the Duomo. Perching ground for humans and pigeons alike.

One of the Malls located around Piazza Del Duomo.

Day 4 – Milan-Como-Mendrisio-Zurich-Singapore-KL

The final day in Europe was a drama filled day. There were 7 of us in the team so we had to split up to take a taxi to Milano Centrale. 3 of us, which included one Swatch Manager, got to the station first. The Swatch Manager went to buy tickets and me and another journalist waited at Platform 20. Soon after, the other swatch rep called me and told me to go to Platform 2, which was miles away and we were about 5 minutes to departure time. Not wanting to waste time, I pushed the trolley with all our luggages and ran, the other journalist offered to carry my handbag because it was slipping off my shoulders while I was running. So anyways, i got to the train just as the conductor started his whistle and got to the last carriage just in time to throw all the luggages (5 of them, 3 big ones and 2 cabin size) in and jumped in. Only to find that the other journalist with my handbag(and passport) was still about 5 metres away and just then, the train pulled away and I was screaming for them to stop but to no avail.

Anyways, turns out me and the swatch manager were the only 2 ppl who managed to catch this train because the rest were still in the taxi stuck in Milan traffic!! Without my passport, I had to stop at the next station in Italy, which was Como, because I cannot risk crossing over to Switzerland without my passport. Long story short, the other Swatch rep had to meet me and the Swatch manager at Como station with my bag and passport before meeting the rest over in Switzerland. On a brighter note, at least I got a little whiff of Lake Como – where the rich and famous of Europe resides. I heard George Clooney has a house by Lake Como.

It did turn out to be a fruitful shopping day though, because we then went to this warehouse in Mendrisio, Switzerland called Foxtown and they had the factory outlets of all the major brands like Prada, Gucci, Fendi, Bally and Armani. No pictu
res unfortunately. But burned quite a hole in my pocket.

Here we are after our shopping excursion in the train on the way to Zurich airport to catch our flight back to KL!

The Swiss Alps. I spent almost all of the 4 hour train ride gazing out the window taking in the view of green luscious mountains, waterfalls and nice little cottages. I think it’ll look even better in winter when the mountains are snow-covered.

Once we got to the airport, the drama wasn’t over. Our flight was delayed for almost 2 hours, so we missed our connecting flight from Singapore to KL. We were then placed on a later flight and I got back home all stinky and tired after travelling for almost 24 hours! We travelled through 4 countries in less than 6 days!! Not a good idea if you’re planning a holiday because we didn’t even get to see much of anything! But this work trip gave me a taste of Europe and now I want to plan another trip back, hopefully by next year.

Gosh! It’s already almost 5 am. I better get to sleep. So much effort in writing this post. Hopefully you will all appreciate rather than nitpick at all my mistakes. Have a great week ahead and take care!!


0 comments on “Sunday September 21, 2008

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.