Tervehdys Lyonista talven keskeltä, nykyisin täällä joutuu jopa käyttämään takkia. :)
Joululoman ensimmäinen puolisko sujui leppoisasti Suomessa perinteisissä merkeissä, viimeiset viisi päivää vietin perheeni kanssa Lontoossa. Kruununjalokiviä tuli ihmeteltyä, mutta tiedemuseo, Cats-musikaali ja klubi-ilta veivät kuitenkin voiton kuninkaallisista nähtävyyksistä.
Nyt tammikuussa ovat erilaiset opiskeluun liittyvät projektit ja tentit vieneet runsaasti aikaa, välillä yölläkin. Olen kuitenkin ehtinyt käydä Alpeilla laskettelemassa ja vaeltamassa jalkaisinkin, vuoriston läheisyyttä kannattaa hyödyntää nyt kun se on mahdollista!
Huomenna olen lähdössä reissulle Pariisiin ja Brysseliin tapaamaan muita tietotekniikasta ja erityisesti vapaista ohjelmista kiinnostuneita.
Hyvää talven jatkoa sinne Suomeen,
Greetings from Lyon in the middle of winter - now it's so cold that I even have to wear a jacket every day! ;)
I planned to write this episode right after the Christmas holidays, with a nice selection of pictures from London - but like too many nice plans, it has been pushed forward in time.
I returned to Finland for the first week and a half of my Christmas holidays to live through all the elements traditional in our family: sleeping late in the mornings, decorating the Christmas tree, eating well and visiting both grandparents. Perhaps the most significant change was that this time our dinner in the evening of the 23. December was a mix of French and Finnish food, including wine and a cheese plate between the main course and dessert.
The new year was still spent in Finland, but the on the second of January the whole family took a plane to London, profiting from a promotional price by Buzz my mother had spotted in the local newspaper about two months earlier.
The crown jewels and some other items were beautiful, but most of the tours in the royal family buildings weren't quite worth the high entrance fees. But the riverside is very nice especially at night time and on the rainy days there are plenty of museums to choose from - for instance the science museum is great. However, of the separately priced attractions there only the 3D movie in the big theatre was worth seeing. We also discovered that the English kitchen isn't so bad as its reputation, although to get something better than "Fish and chips" you generally have to pay, too.
The traditional London attractions in the evening are the musicals: The Cats was a real joy to watch despite I had already seen the show eight years earlier. Another completely different music related event I didn't want to miss was at least one night in one of the well known clubs.
Using the great website at http://www.sorted.org/london/ as a guide I chose a psy-trance party "Escape from Samsara" at Fridge, Brixton and wasn't disappointed. Of course it was expensive (entry 13 pounds) and organised in commercial style, but people had come there to dance and have fun and not just drink something and hang around. Extra points for the separate water bar and big balloons (diameter about 1 m) dropped from the roof in the audience around 3 o'clock.
On Sunday the 7. January my family returned to Finland and I took the train back to Lyon. Right from the first Monday the schedule changed drastically from spending holidays to working, studying for exams and preparing various project reports and presentations. In the fall I managed to avoid letting work to take over all the evenings, but now I've succeded less well and had once in a while several nights in a row sleeping around 5 hours each.
One project was much more fun than the others and thus deserves a special mention: me and Helena (one of the other Finnish students here) spent an hour in our French course group to talk about Finnish student life. We had brought our colourful student party overalls from Finland and just seeing people's faces were worth the trouble. :)
While I've now spent a lot of time on studies, on the weekends I've tried to allocate time for outdoor activities. On two Saturdays I've joined the ski club to go snowboarding and three weeks ago I spent one full weekend hiking in Pralognan la Vanoise with the mountaineering club. We were nine people in total, five from Spain, three from France and me, and for most of us it was the first time to try out snowshoes.
We got some good excercice, had a really nice evening and a slightly cold night in a mountain hut at 2500 meters and had an outstanding view from the top at 3150 m. No pictures due to a technical error: just when we arrived Saturday morning to the parking place I noticed that the mode dial of my camera had accidentally turned into play mode. That meant that it had spent all the battery life showing the last picture on the LCD, doh! I'm hoping to get copies later from the others on the trip.
Most of the time went just as planned, but the mountain nature also gave a reminder of the importance to be careful and have suitable equipment. One of the girls got Sunday morning some snow in her shoe, which was mostly suited for hiking in the summer. The temperature was below -10 and after melting the water froze again. When marching she didn't really notice that the situation was so bad before being back at the hut. From there it was a helicopter ride down to the hospital, no permanent damage but an unfortunate incident for the whole group.
Starting from tomorrow I will again be busy for a few days but not because of studies. I'm going to Paris with one of my French friends Thomas Tempé to see Linux Expo, and continuing Friday night to Brussels for OSDEM, a free software developers' meeting. Especially the latter seems to have all the necessary ingredients to be fun even if the organisation would turn out not to go exactly as planned. A juicy detail is that several well known people are giving a speech in the paid conference sessions in Paris and coming after it to voluntarily organised OSDEM for free.
Expect to read some more about Paris and OSDEM in a few weeks, at the latest after my winter holidays which will take place between the 10. and 18. February.
Arto Teräs --- See http://www.iki.fi/ajt/ for contact info