Saturday, 29 April 2006

4 airports, 4 countries, 3 different airlines and a full days work

For a work project, I had to visit Sofia in Bulgaria and Bucharest in Romania. My first day consisted of 4 Airports, 4 countries and 3 airlines (Tegel, Germany to Sofia, Bulgaria with Bulgarian Air; Sofia to Vienna with Austrian and Vienna to Bucharest with Tarom), as well as a full day's work in Sofia. It was incredibly hectic, especially when we had to pass through security twice in Vienna!.

This was my third trip to Sofia, but my first trip to Bucharest. Although I had no time to look around (except out of car windows on the way to and from the office), Bucharest looks like an interesting and fast growing city. The roads are awful, though!

Whilst I was in Sofia/Bucharest, there was a great deal of spring flooding of the Danube, with vast amounts of farmland and countryside affected. The Danube runs between Bulgaria and Romania, and I didn't see any direct impact of the flooding in either of the capitals.

I stayed overnight in Bucharest and in the evening went out to dinner and to watch the UEFA cup (soccer) semi-final between Bucharesti Steiua and Middlesborough on a big screen. It was a massive event in Bucharest to have a local team get so far in this comp, and there was great excitement (they won 1:0). It goes to show that no matter what the code, there is a passion for football all over the planet.

One of the things that is really different to Australia in Central Europe is the smoking policy. At our table, we had at least 60% smokers (and this is Pharmaceutical industry, with lots of qualified doctors on the staff!). Smoking is allowed everywhere, and there little chance for a non-smoker to avoid it. The thing is the volume of smoking - it is not just one or two cigarettes per person, but I think most on the table had between 5 and 10 cigarettes whilst we were in the restaurant. Left me smelling like an ash-tray.

No comments: