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Paris, France
My friends think I'm a jet-setting international playboy...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

All good things come to an end

My month in Europe is over, but the memories and friendships will last a lifetime. Here's the picture log of my last week.

The never ending construction project and very
impressive Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. This
is the just the top half of the more beautiful
side constructed by the original architect, 
Antoni Gaudí 

Lower half

This is the newer side. It's done in a Neo-Gothic
format that I didn't care for too much.

Known as the Tower of Hercules, this is the oldest lighthouse
in the world, located in A Coruna, Spain. It was built by the
Romans sometime in the 2nd century AD

I couldn't help myself...after a long day of work
Matt Proctor and I enjoyed a good ol' fashioned
Big Mac. You want to know what it tasted like?
Exactly like every other Big Mac in the world.

Kings College in Cambridge, England. This is probably the
coolest college town in the world. It turns out there really isn't
a "Cambridge University." While most universities are a bunch
of colleges under one entity and one roof, Cambridge U is a
consortium of independently operated colleges. I felt somewhat like
I was in a Harry Potter movie with all of the old and fabulous
buildings and some of the students walking around in their college
robes.

Punting is the popular thing to do in Cambridge. Many of the
colleges are located on the Cambridge river, which used to act
 as a supply route. Now it's loaded with gondola-like boats - a
perfect way to experience Cambridge.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week tres

I'm not sure how to say three in Czech, Hungarian, or Slovakian, but my third week in Europe has included all three countries and has been one of my most thrilling. I started the week in Berlin and stayed in a different hotel almost every night in Hamburg, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; Martin, Slovakia; Prague, Czech Republic and now Barcelona, Spain.Great food, great weather, awesome experiences meeting with customers and the best colleagues in the world were the hallmarks of my week. I'm not the best photographer, and don't love taking pictures, but please enjoy part of my journey in these pictures:
My first Slovakian meal - sheep and krautdumplings - pretty
delicious 

With Dr. Zelenak and colleague Michal after
my product was used for the first time in
Slovakia. Dr. Zelenak is still young, but the
father of neurointerventional medicine in
Slovakia

My first Czech meal - ham, roast duck, sausage, dumplings,
kraut, pheasant and some other stuff that I wasn't quite sure
about - Very tastey

Next to an imperial guard at Prague Castle

Zoomed out picture of the entrance of Prague
Castle. The castle is enormous and the most
famous landmark in Czech Republic.

Best city tour of my life by my good friend and colleague
Robert Svitanic. Robert is a whiz with history and knew all
of the context of the city. Perhaps my favorite city in Europe so
far and really a hidden treasure. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Europe Week Zwei

I'm starting week drei in Germany (or tre for my Italian friends), but first, here's a recap of week zwei/due/two...I started the week in Milano, Italy and also stopped in Torino, Italy, Cologne, Germany and finally Berlin, Germany. Here are some of the highlights:

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany - Famous site in Berlin 

Chocolate version of Brandenburg gate. This store was heaven
for chocolate lovers and had the world's best cup of hot chocolate

Dom church in Cologne, Germany. So massive I had to take
two pictures to fit it all in!

Top of the Dom. Quite the marvel rising above
 the very picturesque city

From the top of the Dom. 533 steps to the top.

Currywurst & pomme frites - Berlin treat!

Checkpoint Charlie - Very interesting world history

Most of the Berlin has been destroyed. Here
stands a small piece, in it's original spot, looking
from the East Berlin side 

A quaint version of a co-op in Torino, Italy. Wonderful
local cheeses... 

...expensive mushrooms, apparently very delicious?...

...aging Parmesan, overpoweringly delicious smell...

...aging raw pork hindquarters, overpoweringly not so
delicious smell...

....for my wino friends, incredible selection of local and
imported wines...

...and for my beer drinking friends, the same in a smaller bottle.
What I didn't show is the pasta, bread, fruits, vegetables, meats
and fish and of course chocolate sections. Could have
spent hours in this place. 

Beppe, Dr. Chiara Comalli, Dr. Savio, me, Aldo at the Piazzo
San Carlo in Torino, Italy after a truly delicious 4 hour
Italian dinner.

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist where the Shroud of Turin
is located. I was walking by with the group above and they
mentioned something about a sheet for Jesus in very broken
English. Unfortunately it was midnight so I couldn't see
one of the most famous emblems of Jesus. 

Delicious Italian pasta in Milano

I landed in Cologne, Germany and got to my hotel around 11pm.
I was hungry and asked for some light food before bed. The
concierge sent me to this restaurant and the waiter ordered me this
as I couldn't read the German menu - pork knuckle, mashed
potatoes and sauerkraut - pretty delicious. If this is light
 for Germany,I wonder what heavy looks like?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

back in the thin of thick things

It is better to be in the thin of thick things than the thick of thin things. This is the theme that I started blogging about. Thanks to the incredible support of my managers Bill Roskopf, Greg Swanson and Kevin Chien, I'm spending the month of October in Europe as part of an exchange program through my company Stryker. Expanding my international business acumen, meeting with valuable customers who don't usually get much corporate attention, reconnecting with and meeting some of the most wonderful colleagues and seeing some of the sites of Europe definitely constitute "thick things" and worthy of this blog.

Today marks the end of week 1 - a week full of highlights!

Highlight #1 -  The Netherlands
After a brief stay at our offices in Paris, I traveled to The Netherlands, a wonderful country from which my great great grandparents, Beppe and Packa immigrated during the turn of the century. While there I visited Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Venlo. It was a jam packed 3 days full of hospitals and meeting with customers, but I made some time for some good food and a little sight seeing.
After a case with Dr. Lo and Dr. de Korte at UMC in Utricht

Highlight # 2 - Milano, Italy
During the week I spend most of my time working - in and out of hospitals during the day and working from my hotel room at night - but this weekend I got to spend some time sight seeing. Milano is the industrial capital of Italy and has a wonderful mix of culture and style. But to get the true flavor of Italy I took a train to Lake Como, a gorgeous summer getaway for the elite of the world since the time of the Romans. I took a boat tour around the lake. Back in Milano I saw plenty of beautiful architecture like the Duomo
Milano at night. This was the happening place with
the younger crowd
Town of Como
Lake Como
The most beautiful church I've seen. Every square inch was
covered in paintings and ornate wood and stone.
Crisped zucchini with grated parmesan and honey - best
dish I've had here
Amazing gelato everywhere!
Duomo - incredible 
Santa Maria della Grazie where the Last Supper, by
Leonardo Da Vinci is housed