So now that we have our new car we begin the task of selling off our old car. We’ve tried selling off old cars ourselves before and it’s never ended well. I expect too much professionalism for that when we’re talking about this much money and I’ve always ended up with the complete opposite so I didn’t want to go the private route. Even though it means getting less I wanted to sell it to a dealer who could do the work. After trying out different “what’s my car worth” sites I ended up trying out a company called “Vi Köper Din Bil” (“we buy your car”) with the website “vikoperdinbil.se”. I’m typing it there because my hopes are anyone googling it will see this and stay away!!
On their website you simply enter the model, make, year and mileage of your car and they will guestimate it’s worth. For our Seat Leon they guestimated about 112.000:- “plus any extra options” which we had plenty of on that car. That’s about half of what we paid for it three years later but sounded ok. I mean the “street value” of the car would be 130.000:- but they needed a cut of that so ofcourse I couldn’t get that. But based on that estimate I made an appointment to take my car in to get a proper go-through and evaluation. I took time off work, I cleaned the car, loaded her up with the summer tyres and coordinated with the wife to come pick me up afterwards. But at the station they went through it (and didn’t find anything wrong with it at all), sent everything off to their expert who came back with an offer. 90.000:-! That’s 22.000 less, or more accurately 22% less, than their gustimate which included the comment “plus any extra options”!
Their business strategy is pretty obvious – give customers an optimistic guestimations and then when they’ve take the time and make the effort of going into their station they can just slash 20% off that and some people will go for it. Or “lockpriser” as we say in swedish. Real estate agents are given warnings whenever they are caught using tactics like that but for cardealers this is totally acceptable?! Even going through their own “what our customers think of us” turns up a gem where a guy says that he was happy even though they slashed 20% off the initial guestimate! There are also plenty of reviews on Trustpilot against them for this tactic!
Naturually I said “get the fuck out of here!” and left on the spot. So beware of “vikoperdinbil.se” unless you’re ready to get an offer about 40.000:- less than the street value. How do I know that? Well my option B was to take it to the authorized Seat dealer in Täby. They gave us 110.000:- for it and put it up for sale for 130.000:- and in 3 days the ad was taken down!
Now that was 3 weeks ago. And in those three weeks unfortunately enough has happened to make me say “I won’t go back there again”.
Not only because of the reasons I’ve already listed (1) them telling us to go away from the business section in a rather rude manner, 2) the unprofessional way of handling the tyre situation 3) noone informed us of the deposit we had to make before we got there) but as it turns out they made even bigger mistakes – one huge mistake during the ordering process and two pretty big mistakes with the delivery.
When delivering an Audi, the representative is supposed to help you sign up to the myAudi account and tie your car to that account. Nope, didn’t happend! Fortunately I know my way around Internet and websites but it led me to the next big issue. They also failed to inform us that the little plastic badge on the set of keys we got was actually very, VERY valuable since it had a PIN to enable remote access of the car! Without this I couldn’t use the electronics I paid for and selling it would be pretty damn hard! Fortunately we hadn’t thrown that little plastic thing in the bin yet but at no point did we think it was something we needed to keep! But the major f*ck up was discovered when we were loading up the car with some kids and realised this model didn’t have 3 seatbelts in the back, only 2!!! I didn’t even know that was possible but apparently it’s an extra option for Audi that costs a mere 3.600 SEK! Had the original salesguy informed us about that we would absolutely have clicked it. But he didn’t so now we’re stuck with a car that only has 4 seatbelts! This was a dealbreaker when we started this (one of the reasons we didn’t go for a Mustang!) and we made sure to check that it did have it when we were in the showroom! I can only imagine the salesguy picked up on us only having one kid and in an attempt to keep the price below 500.000 didn’t click it but it leaves a very sour taste! Fortunately we have a cheap ass VW Polo that has 3 seatbelts in the back so if we ever need one extra seat we can use that. But still… And “we should have checked it ourselves”, yeah you could say that, but as I said in part I, it’s a freaking jungle!! Unless you work there knowing what’s included in the “2017 A5 Sportback Proline Sport Edition” from the go, it’s damn impossible! And when adding stuff BAM! you’re told that it’s not compatible with the current loadout! It’s rediculous! Sometimes I think those configurations should have a “these things are NOT included in your layout”-list, that would have spelt it out for us that it was an extra option.
So, expect a new one of these in 3 years when it’s time to buy a new car again. Maybe we’ll go for a Mustang that time around or maybe Tesla if they are affordable by then.
And so we waited. And waited.
Eventually in mid February we got an e-mail from the insurance company telling us it was time to insure our Audi. ??.. so we called up the dealer in Järva, got put on hold and eventually told by the manager that “I’m gonna have to call you back”. And so he did. And yeah, the car had arrived and we were free to pick it up next week. At this point I’m wondering “how long has it been there and when were you going to tell us!?” but I was just too excited and grateful that it was already here to question that. After our dealing with Toyota I thought it’d be best if we gave them the week and come in on Friday afternoon. This gave them over 8 days to get the car ready. And then he assigned the delivery to another salesman which I thought was weird but as it turns out the salesman, Daniel, that I liked so much and ordered the car from was no longer working there for reasons noone wanted to get into. When I woke up on Tuesday, 3 days before the delivery, it was snowing. And I remembered we hadn’t ordered the winter tyres so it would be illegal for us to drive our new car home from the dealer without it! So I called them up and asked what they usually do in this situation when customers have ordered cars without winter tyres and it’s snowing. And he had no clue. His first response was just hoping it would get warmer and thaw so it wouldn’t be a problem. I couldn’t tell if it was a joke or serious but it was absolutely unprofessional! So I had to ask him if he could fix winter tyres for us which he ofcourse was willing to try to do but couldn’t make a promise he’d get them in time. Seriously, he had 3 days to find new wintertyres for a new car in Stockholm, how hard can that be, pick up the phone to Euromasters and have them send over a set with DHL!? Well, he couldn’t just call anyone to get any kind of tyres, he had to order Audi originals regardless if we wanted it or not! Then we didn’t hear anything from him and we were just left assuming it was sorted when we went in to pick up the car on Friday afternoon. And much to our delight and surprise he had sorted it. On the car was now brand new Audi original winter tyres! “Great, so can we get the car now” … “well not really because you still haven’t paid us the 130.000 that was due”. Huh? Well, as it turns out we were supposed to send in the money to them so they had it before we could pick up the car and noone had told us about this. He said it was the “other guy” that had missed informing us of that. Personally I think it should be on a check list when preparing to deliver a car to make sure the car is legal to drive on the day of delivery and that the payment was settled, but apparently this guy didn’t think that was on them, those were my problems to solve!
So I ended up using Swish, a Swedish “send money instantly to another phone number” system that is quite a common way to send money here – just not supposed to be used for transactions of this size!! Fortunately my bank allowed the transaction, otherwise I don’t know what they’d do but I was furious enough to leave there and then and have another look at the Cupra – just ask Toyota. So now that that was sorted we got a big, long debriefing on insurance options. After that he unveiled our new car. And it was glorious!! I knew the car was so hitech that we were in for long education of what everything did.. but nope, he wasn’t into that, “I could spend an hour talking about everything but you pretty much want to get on the road huh?”.. well that didn’t stop him from talking insurances for a very long time but ok so let’s get on the road.. nope, we had to take a detour to their servicecenter to pay for the tyres. Fortunately the guy there was an absolute professional and got that over with quickly in the kind of “getting it done!” method I love. After that we got an ok to go out on the road, finally!
To be continued tomorrow…
Me and the wife were in the market to buy a car. And my wife has expensive taste. And we had the cash to spend. Sounds like a dream for any car dealer, right? But you know after our dealings with Toyota last year that I didn’t think very highly of car dealers… and that was about to get even lower!
My wife have always wanted to buy a Mustang. But purchasing a new Mustang in Stockholm proved pretty impossible as the only dealer we were in contact with didn’t have any available for us to try as other customers had crashed them both and we didn’t want to order one blindly. Besides I got the feeling he wasn’t too eager to sell one to us anyway. So we checked out a secondhand dealer that had a great Mustang waiting to be bought. After sitting in it we both kinda realised this isn’t the kind of car you use driving back and forth to school or to Ikea. So that idea was put on hold.
The next idea was a Tesla. But in Sweden the start at about 750.000 SEK which is shitload of money but when you start adding on stuff it goes up to 7 digits quite fast. So no, not yet.
Then we went for a sport version of the car we have today, a Seat Leon Cupra. The only dealer we had even remotely close to us turned out to be amateurs! They only had one for customers to try out. And the owner was using it as his private car. And we had to book an appointment to testdrive it! Well we did but it turns out the boss’s wife or daughter had taken the car for high street shopping that afternoon and got stuck in traffic. Who knew there might be traffic jams when going from Stockholm city to Barkarby at 5pm!? And when we test drove it we found their candy stash, we found her wallet and some left over shopping. As I said, amateur hour. Unfortunately the car was an absolut beast and we were tempted to buy one had it not been for the dealer.
So then we raised the bar! As we’ve been happy with both our Volkswagens and our Seat we decided to test the upgrade in the family and go for an Audi! Now I wanted to use Möller Bil again since we were so pleased with how the Seat turned out and how professional they’ve been but no Möller retailer close to us sells Audi. So we went to the Audi retailer in Järva. First thing that happened was they didn’t respond to my e-mail requests. Usually not a big thing but car dealers are supposed to be more eager than this, but oh well. So we went to their showroom and were told that we weren’t welcomed because we were in the business section! Should have gone home right there and then to be honest because the only reason we were in the business area was poor signage from their end! But we didn’t go home, we went up a floor to the consumer section and met a really friendly and nice salesguy, Daniel. He tried to understand what we wanted and our criterias – the wife wanted a bit of luxury but I wanted to pay the least amount for it! We went there looking at an A4 but when the wife saw their latest A5 Sportback she was totally sold! And when I saw their virtual cockpit, so was I. We tested sitting in an A5 to get the feel for the interior, noting that there was indeed 3 seatbelts in the back (more why that was important later!) and then we testdrove an A4 with identical engine to get the feel for the cars power. We were both very, very pleased. So we sat down to go through the list of options for the car to try to come up with a good car that fit our needs and what that would cost us. He went through every option (or so we thought!) with us and based on what he knew of our needs made recommendations. Since every manufacturer has their own terms/language, options and editions it’s a real jungle to sort it out but he did a good job of explaining it. I really liked this guy! So he came up with a car for 492.000 SEK, almost half a million. Naturually we needed to have a talk about it but after two days we made the decision to go for it. We went back and talked with him again to place the order. No fuzz at all, we agreed we’d put down 130.000 which we’d get from selling our current car when we got the new car. It would take “about 5 months” to get the car. A bit long but it would be worth waiting for. Now, did we want winter tyres on this or not? That was an extra 20.000 SEK. I knew I could get tyres for about half that price, and 5 months from end of October would be and of March so no really need for it, so no thanks. And the order was placed and we were happy with it all.
And then we waited. And waited…
As you may have guessed it’s been a lot happening in my little piece of Earth. But beyond that it’s been a pretty shitty year! That’s no excuse for not posting anything here for months though. But there hasn’t been that much great or interesting things to post about.
But now 2016 is coming to a close and it can’t come soon enough! With Brexit, Trump and the year that musical icons died it’s hard to look at 2016 and think “yeah, that was a great year”. Sure some good things happened, especially on these 1000 square meters of Earth that we own, but I’m not that ego that I think that just because we’ve had it good that makes for a good year! Because for the world as a whole 2016 was a stinker. And I’m hoping 2017 will be better but unfortunately I think it’ll be 4 years that will stink for the world thanks to Trump but maybe, just maybe, it won’t be that bad. One can hope, right 🙂
But tonight we’re celebrating New Years with friends and will try not to care too much about the bad things and just focus on the fact that we’re all still here, pretty healthy (although I’m just recovering from another man-flu) and have jobs, roof over our heads and food on the table 🙂
Happy new years! 🙂
The most recent thing I’ve been wrong about is Pokemon Go. When it came here to Sweden in July I thought it was a fad, I didn’t take it seriously and I even made fun of people playing it, which I now regret. I still stick by that it’s dangerous though because if you get too much into it even when walking you can hurt yourself or even other people!
Because now my entire family is playing it! My son wanted a go at it and we couldn’t really stop him by saying it’s childish since… well, he’s 6! But after getting him started we realised we needed to learn it and so we started. And now, two weeks later we’re hooked and I like it. Not the game itself, it’s so rudimentary, it’s classic “get people hooked and then make them pay up for the next fix” and not even one little bit creative. But I like the effect it has on us as a family. We go out Pokemon hunting, sometimes just to the nearest city center, sometimes we go to some place that just has plenty of Pokestops. We spent four hours in “Rålambshovsparken” last Friday hunting Pokemons and Pokestops (and looked like complete idiots while doing it!). And we walk – alot! I shit you not if I say we must’ve walked 150 kilometers (that’s be about 94 miles) since we started two weeks ago. And as an added bonus when doing all that walking, except the calorie burn rate, is that we see places and stuff we never knew existed! As an example, we have a school that I pass twice every day to and from work but I’ve ever only seen the front of it. Now I know what the rest of the outside looks like since they placed a “pokemon gym” on the other side of it!
So that happened – UK voted for leaving the EU. I, as a swede, shouldn’t bother too much, right? Well I do. A helluvalot!!
It’s not only because half of my family and a few friends are Brits or are currently living & working in the UK, although that’s a very good reason to care. It’s not only because I’m working for a company owned by Brits. No, it’s not that small, narrow minded, shortsighted or personal.
It’s a freaking issue of mankinds survival! Bare with me here!
The fact that we are overspending the resources on this planet isn’t even in question (“Earth Overshoot Day“). That we are poisoning it and overpopulating it like bunnies, those are all facts. So we need to grow as civilized & evolved creatures and let go of the archaic notion of nations, of mankind’s made-up stuff like borders and currency. To realise that when an earthquake hits it doesn’t stop because it crosses a border. When the ocean’s rise it’s not going to stop because this country signed a treaty! When a flood hits it’s not going to care about your economic growth!
We need to grow beyond thinking of “my country” & “my people” (I cringe everytime I hear the words “my people” in The 100 which Clarke says ALOT!). Every leader in the world is protecting their country and their people which noone can blame them for – but is it productive in the long run? I know it sounds like a “Star Trek” sci-fi fantasy but I wish the entire Earth was just one big country, with one currency and one interest – to save the planet, stop hunger, cure diseases and most of all reach for the stars! Because if we stop hunger and cure diseases we will need another planet pretty soon. And none of that is going to happen if people are only interested in looking after their country, their little piece on this Earth. And after the second world war when EU was created it was a good step towards globalization. This was a huge step back and I can only hope it stops with UK because if the EU falls apart there’s no telling how it’ll end up for mankind!
And this is the cake is what my wonderful wife and mother of my son made for his 6th birthday – a Minecraft inspired cake. And it wasn’t a lie! (yeah, you shouldn’t get that joke…) It’s amazing what she can and will cook up for every occasion! She had actually prepared it for the previous weekend but since I was in bed all weekend we realised we had to push the birthday party a week.
Our families came over to celebrate his birthday and give him some cool presents, like this Darth Vader mask that is breaking through his wall now! And then he spent the weekend watching “Star Wars” Episode V and VI and being scared of zombies (thanks SVT!)
But it was a weekend of really getting over the fact that he’s not a little boy anymore. He’s old enough to make his own choices and you just have to let him do it, change his mind 10 times only to fall flat on his face for getting it wrong. Well guess what, he doesn’t get hurt, he get’s up and goes at it again! I love my boy!
The people that have spent enough time with me might have heard me say “what we need is a good pandemic”. That sounds very, very cold but the truth is for the Earth’s survival we do need one because overpopulation and the side effects of it are going to destroy Earth. Just look at “Cowspiracy”, episode 4 of “Blindspot” (“Bone May Rot”), all the times AI have decided that to protect humanity they must take over and cause havoc (“I, Robot” or the evolving story in “The 100”) or read Dan Brown’s “Inferno”. So something that is contagious like the flu, incubation period like the smallpox (10-14 days) and mortality rate of HIV (100%). Ebola isn’t close, it wasn’t contagious enough and had too short incubation period to ever spread big time. But unfortunately, going by how nature goes it’s only a matter of time until nature is able to combine that itself and bam, halv the population wiped out. Or the most humanitarian way would be for it to cause sterility, that’d solve it long term but nature isn’t very humanitarian.
It’s either that or start colonizing space! What’s more likely? But I sure as hell hope for the latter!
Anyway, I don’t know why, but movies/TV shows & stories about virus outbreaks have always intrigued me. I loved “Outbreak” although it feels kinda dated now. There’s a new game called “The Division” coming out next week which is based on the premise of someone releasing a virus through dollar bills on black friday in the US and the chaos that follows. (I loved the trailer where you can’t really see what’s happening but you hear how a mother is sitting by her sick child’s bed praying and crying … until she’s not). And I was fascinated to read up on the scenario they played out in the US pre-9/11 called “Dark Winter” based on the premise of Saddam/Al Qaeda releasing smallpox in 3 malls in 3 US cities. And Ron Howard is working on filing Brown’s “Inferno” coming out later this year.
And even though my spontaneous feeling is to share the information and my thoughts on this here website I’m actually going to just say “too personal to discuss here”. Not because it’s too personal for me but rather to other people. And other people in this case is children who are too young to know what it’s about but when growing up may stumble on this and ask wtf this is about. So I’m not going to do that.
Besides this shit there’s alot going on right now. We’re in the last 2 races of the F1 season which turned out way worse than I’d hoped, we’re celebrating my wife and my sisters 27th birthdays and father’s day this Saturday. And there’s ALOT of good computer games coming out now. So it’s full steam ahead all the way until Christmas!!!
But one funny thing we managed to do was go on another 24 hours cruise to just get away from it all and that’s where that funny picture came from – we played Bingo and I won a wopping €50!
So day 6 arrived and while the rest of our entrourage started their trip back to Sweden we went to a local Zoo. It was actually surprisingly good and had lots of animals and big enough to entertain us for about 3 hours. But after that we went back to the hotel because we were all totally beat after the past few days. We’d been walking so much and hurried from A to B that we just needed to relax for a while. To be honest we felt like it was about time to go home at this point but that’s totally in keeping with all of our other trips so far as well – 5 days was enough for us, 7 days was pushing it! We didn’t even go out to eat, we went to the local supermarket and picked up some sandwiches and yoghurt. And again Sam went ballistic how this sucked because he couldn’t buy some small toycars.
On day 7 we set sights on Milan. Of everything we’d done we had totally missed out on Milan and I wanted to show it to Helena, atleast the Cathedral and the shopping mall around there. So problem 1 was getting rid of the car and if you’ve ever been to Milan you know there are cars parked _everywhere_! We found a garage, one of those small subterranian dark garages where the girls gets raped and killed in the movies and managed to get over the translation barrier to park there for 3 hours. Then we walked – way longer than I thought. But then we got to see the Cathedral and tick that box! By this time my wife was desperate for something to eat so we parked our bums at a little restaurant right behind the duomo where a 33 cl. bottle of coke cost €6 and a pizza €15! I kid you not! But the view was unbeatable so we didn’t mind much, I mean I have paid more for less. (€25 for 2 cups of cappuciono at Starbucks at Antalya Airport!).
Then we navigated back to the parking garage and started on our next mission – finding a gas station! If we didn’t fill the car up before turning it in there was a €100 fine so I really wanted to avoid that and doing a crazy “I’m going this way until I find a gas station, SO THERE!” argument with my GPS we eventually found one. One that didn’t want to accept 3 of my credit cards – but fortunately I had a fourth. But trying to read error messages in Italian is .. well impossible since all it probably said was “transaction aborted” everytime!
After that we got to our last two hurdles before checking in and going home – handing in the car and paying the parking ticket. Handing in the car was surprisinly easy even though I had to take crap from the garage guy about how F1 is more of a business than sport nowadays but paying the ticket turned out to be harder. Avis couldn’t help more than to say “just go to a post office, they’ll fix it for you” – “ok so where is that” – “there’s one 100 meters around that corner… which closed one hour ago.. so no, we can’t help you. At all. We know you’ve leased a car for €500 and did everything right and turned it in without a scratch and all that, but no, we can’t help you to pay this €30 ticket at all”. Ok, I added the last part but it’s totally true and I still can’t wrap my head around a post office that closes at 2 pm on a normal Tuesday – at an _airport_!?! So we could just forget getting that paid there and checked in and waited for our flight. Fortunately they had a game there Sam loved and spent an hour playing. So we got on our flight and thought this is it, nothing can stop us now!!
.. except a pending Lufthansa strike that was bound to break out in a few hours! Fortunately our flight wasn’t affected so we landed at midnight in Arlanda, got our luggage, took the buss to the long term parking, managed to dig up the ticket I got a week ago and went home to sleep for four hours and then it was back to work again!
All in all a kick ass week in Italy, packed with food, sights to see, places to experience, a F1 race, awesome company and just awesome!!
After the night in old Bergamo we went to bed and set the clock early. Very early. Like 6 am (which is the usual hour for us to wake up – but not on vacation!!). We got up, got dressed, got into the car, picked up Alex and Jocke and dropped Sam off with his favorite aunt and then we set a corse for Maranello! Last time that I was in Milano I hit the Ferrari store but never made it to Maranello since that’s like a 2 hour drive. But now we did!
The Ferrari museum opened at 9:30 and we were there around 9:15. We took the tour around the place, checking out all the F1 race cars of old, the normal road cars, the exclusive “one offs” but the most impressive was the hall of champions where they had all their trophies and their championship winning cars all lined up. It was a beautiful site indeed, definitey a “I’m not worthy!” moment for me. Also around the museum they had plenty of “test drive a Ferrari for 10 minutes for $100” but I really didn’t want to risk it. I know that in Sweden they have a sucky insurance for them so you have to pay like $3000 if you damage it one little bit. So no, maybe for next birthday!
After the museum we set our Navigon to take us back to Monza. And I knew it was going to be tight for the qualifying but we had 1 hour margin on our side. That margin was eaten up by a quick stop for a bite to eat and then the other problem of finding somewhere to park! After driving 140 kph for almost 2 hours we almost got to the track but the police had blocked it off so we went around in circles trying to get as close as possible. Eventually we gave up and dumped the car and walked for about 4 kilometers! And just as we sat down the first car came out on track so the timing couldn’t have been better!
After watching the two Ferraris qualify 2nd and 3rd we walked back to the car and drove home to our hotel where we met up with the rest of the gang that took the train from the track. The plan was to dine at our hotel but it was a wedding going on there so it was fully booked. So we ended up at a local pizzeria that had some awesome pizza and pasta. The service was awesome, the food was awesome but there was this lady that must’ve been the owner because she was so rude and pushy that she should’ve been fired because she kinda ruined it for us. Also trying to pay was very very difficult.
Then it was sleepy time to get ready for Sunday, also known as Race Day!!
Me and Helena decided to not go with the train as we were supposed to since that involved walking for 2 kilometers with Sam so we took the car and we went in extra early. The traffic wasn’t bad and we found what we thought was a parking spot and dumped the car and walked over there. Sam wanted to play the Playstation games in the F1 village but as everything else F1 related – it’s not very child friendly. It’s too expensive and too long queues, also he’s too young to handle actual simulators with actual pedals and wheel. So things started off bad for him that early. After grabbing a quick bite to eat we parked our asses on what we thought was our seats only to be shoved away because Italians can’t be bothered to mark things or handle such simple things as information. We eventually found our _real_ seats and parked there, watching the drivers lap on a lorry and the very weird protocol of ordering the grid with the flags and the girls and everything. Then the race started and it was just awesome! I pretty much put the camera down for the entire race and just enjoyed it. So did my wife, although she was trying to take care of Sam as much as possible. But she was really happy when her pretty-boy Rosberg was threatening Vettel – only to have his engine gave up!
After that we went back to the car only to find a parking ticket! 20 meters in front of our car was a “no parking” sign that was put up that we could’ve swarn wasn’t there when we parked! (and it wasn’t a fixed sign really so could’ve been placed after we parked) We called everyone trying to get it sorted but was told we could sort it when we handed in the car to Avis on Tuesday. So went back to the hotel then on to Bergamo again and found a nice restaurant to eat at. Unfortunately this nice restaurant thought we were there for the entire evening so they were really, REALLY slow serving us so that took almost the entire night. Then some more ice cream and say good bye to AC, Alex and Jocke who were going home the day after.
10 years ago for my 30th birthday we went to Silverstone for a F1 race. It was a legendary trip. So now for my 40th we booked a trip to Monza but with me and my wife taking Sam there for a few extra days as a bonus vacation.
So last Wednesday me, my wife Helena and my son Sam boarded a flight from Arlanda to Milan, with a short stop in Frankfurt. The cabin crew on the Lufthansa we kind enough to give my son a free Lego set of a A380 to build while we flew over there. After arriving (and with all luggage this time) we went to Avis to pick-up the car. We got a size-bump for the car which was nice, however we hit the first out of many, MANY! unexpected expenses – the insurance. I hadn’t checked up what insurance was covered by what so I ended up paying €120 for nothing since it was covered by my Mastercard! So I recommend everyone to check that before they go!
Then we set off to our hotel with the help of my preprogrammed Navigon GPS app and that’s when the second unexpected expense popped up – tolls to use the highway! Noone had told me about that and at first we didn’t even know what the hell this was and we ended up with an unpaid toll ticket! In my defense we tried calling everyone (Avis and even the company running the toll system) but the hotell staff said it shouldn’t be a worry.
Then after about an hour drive we ended up at the beautiful hotel Settencento. Small hotel but placed right next to a road with pretty high traffic. Fortunately we didn’t spend much time at the hotel so wasn’t that much of a bother. We reconned the area for a super market but ended up having our first dinner at the hotel – which was awesome! Sam insisted on taking a dip in the pool and although the weather wasn’t the best for it that didn’t stop him!
On day two I insisted on a trip to Como to check out the lake and everything that everyone makes such a big fuzz about. After about 2 hour drive (and 4 toll booths) we arrived and it was as beautiful as I’d hoped! The scenary there is amazing! It was a tourist friendly place to say the least and we walked around for a few hours and drove to a small village just outside for a better view. Time very well spent indeed!
Then we went to Bergamo where my sister AC, her youngest son Alex and my brother Jocke was about to land and stay for the weekend. We drove the “scenic route” to see more of Italy and less of toll booths and we ended up at a restaurant called Pasti Frutti. As a restaurant it was by Italian standards decent (but awesome by Swedish standards!) but as a command post it served it’s purpose well. And that’s when the heavens opened up and let loose a few tons of water and thunder! We had checked the weather reports and it said rain & thunderstorms all week so we were just grateful we’d had a beautiful day so far. Eventually they showed up, grabbed some food and some beers until we had to go back to our hotel and get some sleep. Sam was a trooper pretty much all day but we bribed him with ice cream all day.
On day three we split up. Me, Alex and Sam went to watch the F1 free practice while AC, Helena and Jocke went to a vineyard – Castello di Grumello. They had a blast (since I wasn’t with them I can just take their word for it) and tasted alot of their wines and managed to offend the owners when AC didn’t really appreciate it. But still impressed how they’ve managed to keep the business in the family for so many generations.
On our way to the F1 track we hit a very expected problem – parking! Taking your car to an F1 race is normally only “hard” but when the race is in an urban area like this it’s almost mission impossible. Since this was only Friday free practice it wasn’t that hard but we ended up parking where noone knew if we could park or not. Then a long walk to the F1 track and we hit the next problem. Serious lack of information and language barrier! Some people said “go left” while point right, some said up, some said down. But this being free practice it wasn’t that important. Unfortunately after about 80 minutes some got very tired and bored of the entire thing and wanted to go home.
So we went back after seeing Mercedes owning it on the track. We went back to Bergamo to meet up with the rest of the gang and took a tram up the hill to the “old town” of Bergamo where we ended up at a tourist friendly restaurant that served up some pretty good food. Although the people that ordered what they thought was “pasta with beef” that turned out to be just beef were seriously disappointed!
And so I’m back after a week in beautiful Italy. I don’t know why but I love Italy!!!
The primary reason for going there now was Monza! 10 years ago for my 30th birthday we went to Silverstone, and now for my 40th we went big with Monza. My wife, my son, my sister, one of her sons and my brother all joined in for a week of fun. And fun we had – plentiful! We ate, we drank, we cheered, we got a parking ticket, escaped toll station and walked about 10 miles during the entire week but it was all good! Will do a better writeup of everything that happened… but man was it fun!!
I know I may regret this in a day, a week, a month or even a year – but I’m at a point where I’m getting used to awesome and I’m afraid when it’ll end!
My life is awesome right now. I live in a awesome house, have a awesome wife, a awesome son, have a awesome job and everything is just great right now! Sure I may have ringing in my ear, I may have legs that want to get up and dance when I’m in a meeting, I may get an itch so bad I need painkillers (very rare but it happens) but those are minor things in the grand scheme of things.
And I have an awesome trip to Italy planned in 2 weeks! When will this madness end?! Will my wife realise she’s too good for me? Will my job get outsourced? Will my house burn to the ground? Something has got to give because this awesomeness can’t last.
Unlike the saying – I don’t need to lose anything to appreciate what I have!
If they lost your luggage, what would you miss the most? I thought it’d be my laptop. Maybe deoderant, or mobile charger, or underwear, maybe a new shirt, comfortable shoes.
When going to Turkey one week ago I was faced with that. They lost my luggage. I was told the morning after they found it (although I’m still confused how one bag can end up in a different terminal than all the rest!) and it would be sent out to me during the day so I wasn’t panicking much. But it wasn’t until about at 3pm that I realised that there was one thing I couldn’t wait for – as my wife and my son were playing along having fun in the pools I realised what I really missed the most was my swimming trunks!! Totally unexpted that that was the one thing I couldn’t live without because I wanted to join the fun!
So I promptly ran out to the bazar outside the hotel and bought a pair and jumped in cause I’m a problem solver like that!
It’s that time of the year again when we go on vacation to some family friendly resort and just relax for a week. Last year it was the Sunwing hotell on Rhodes in Greece and this year we went to Long Beach Resort outside of Alanya in Turkey.
We went with another couple who has a daughter that we know Sam likes and they play great together and we decided to go to this hotel because they had a .. well a long beach and some pools, some waterslides, they had a small amusement park, plenty of restaurants and just seemed like a place you could stay at for a week without having to leave the hotel much.
We were not disappointed!
The trip started with an evening flight to Antalya airport where the crew excused the poor tax free delivery due to poor IT switchover from the old IT system to the new. Although I have nothing to do with the IT system of our tax free service I still felt embarassed but that’s probably because of my occupasional pride than anything else.
When we landed in Antalya we proceeded to the luggage belts where my wife’s and son’s luggage arrived after waiting a while but after waiting for over an hour I ruled out that my luggage was going to arrive at all so I went to customer service to report it missing. After that we went to the Ving representative and asked where the taxi’s were because by now the transfer bus to the hotel had surely departed. But it hadn’t. So we boarded a buss full of people upset they had waited for over an hour – on me! Even though it wasn’t my fault and I didn’t want the bus to wait it did – somewhat embarassing compunded by the fact that I actually work for this company! Then the bus made a pitstop at some place they obviously get kickbacks from because we had to be there for 20 minutes aven though everyone just wanted to go to the hotel.
We got to the hotel in the middle of the night, checked in and got to the room that they hadn’t prepared for 2 adults + 1 child at all! So I had to call the reception to order more linen to make a bed for my son and then we had to wait an extra 15 minutes for them to actually come with our luggage, which wasn’t at all fun at 3 am!
I woke up the next day to a text saying “they found your luggage and will send it at 8 am so you should have it soon”. I’m down with that and so we went out to check out the hotel area and that took over a day to explore because it was HUGE!
They really did have a very long beach area by the sea but unfortunately the closest tunnel to get to it was closed and we had to walk quite far for the other tunnel so we got a lot of exercise from walking back and forth to the beach all week! They also really did have lots of waterslides and even a pirate ship which became Sam’s favorite place to hang out. What we didn’t realise was that you could rent gazebos by the beach and by the time we did realise that they were almost fully booked but we got one for three of the seven days we were there. It really helped alot to have a somewhat of a private “base of operation” when we were at the beach – which was pretty much everyday.
Then we had dinner at the buffé and it was great! Great food and service, nothing to complain about. And at 8 pm I finally got my luggage, only 12 hours later than promised but not a big deal for me. Then it was bed time since we were still lacking sleep from travelling.
The next day and all the other days pretty much followed that same pattern – get up, catch some breakfast, pack up for the beach, go to the beach, have fun, get tanned, go back, have dinner, relax with the couple we were there with and sleep. We really didn’t ever have to go off the reservation! We went a full 100 meter from the hotel to the bazar they had outside to do some shopping (my wife really wanted a *cough*genuine*cough* Michael Kors bag that I paid a full €30 for but other than that we were content being in the hotel. There were enough restaurants to keep us satisfied and enough to do to not get too bored.
But it wasn’t perfect. The buffé was the same in every restaurant every night. They only changed one thing that they barbecued there and then, but everything else was the same all the time which got boring quite fast. Did they ever hear of themes? And also that the tunnel under the main road on our side of the hotel was closed which forced us to walk, that wasn’t cool at all! And the level of english of the staff really left alot to be desired as well – sometimes I felt that they would have understood me better if I spoke russian because 90% of the people there were russians and some of the staff were also russian. Not that I mind russians, but I expect an international hotel of this size in Turkey to have staff that can understand english without having to draw them a picture (which I actually did once, but more on that later).
After a week of that it was time to go home – at night! Again the bus stopped at the some joint as before and forced people to go out to buy refreshments “as a service” when everyone just wanted to get to the airport. When we arrived to the airport I was apparently the first one to understand how security checkpoints work and information screens because for the first time in my life I was #1 in the queue to check in our luggage! Unfortunately that also meant that when the check in counter opened the guy behind it had alot of issues getting his computer to work with him and it took atleast 10 minutes for that – 10 minutes of the same people looking at me with annoyed eyes that had waited for me on the buss earlier. That was not cool but again not my fault! During all of this we had to keep our son awake since I know you have to walk through the next checkpoint on your own feet – you can’t carry your child though it, they have to walk. But 5 minutes after we had cleared that he was out for the entire night. So my wife asked me to get her some coffee and I ran around and only found a Starbucks and that’s when I purchased the most expensive coffee I’ve ever paid for – €25 for 2 normal cappucinos with vanilla syrup!! €25!!!
After that we got on the flight, had to be embarassed again when they excused the poor tax free with IT issues again, landed on Arlanda at 3:30am and when we stopped at the gate we had to wake Sam up. And he was sad that he slept through the “getting on the plane”-phase, the take off, the movie, the meal and the landing – basically everything he’s looking forward to about the actual travelling part of a vacation. Thankfully Helena’s mother met us at the airport at 4am so we went home, unpacked the essentials and hit the bed at 5am and slept until 9am.
So to sum up – we had a blast, especially Sam! Photos can be found here – login as “Gäst” and the short, Swedish name of my employer, with a capital first letter as the password.
I’ll post some other random thoughts about our week later.
Yeap, today is a day that has been in the making for 40 years. Today is the day I turn 40. And it doesn’t feel special in any way. I remember when I turned 30 it didn’t feel that special either, I had a headache for months I remember that and I remember setting my ass in a pub while all my friends dropped by to wish me happy birthday. But this feels really “same same and not at all different” than last week. Or the week before that. And not gonna have a big party either because I’m not too good at hosting parties. And with our two holiday trips planned can’t really afford it either.
As always we go out to my parents place in Lyngsta to celebrate my father’s birthday, mother’s day and my bortiday on one and the same day. We had picked up 2 tickets to the Paul McCartney concert this July for my mother and that was certainly hitting it out of the park! Then my family had bought me a new BBQ with a smoker on the side so I’m all good on that front for a few years now. All in all, I’m doing quite fine.
But just wait till September when I’m sitting there on the bleechers in Monza rooting for whatever Ferrari that is leading the race, surrounded by the people I love and a Peroni, that’ll be kick ass! But before that we’re going to Turkey for some sun, sun, more sun and even more sun!
Yeap, life is good right now.
Lots of stuff happening, so much I barely have time to update here. Alot of people’s birthdays, not to mention my own. I turn 40 in about 3 weeks, not gonna make a big deal out of it but going to Italy in September. Other than that it’s full throttle at work still and doing work on the house. And as always wishing I had more time for gaming, and my wife, and my son… just more time basically. 24h simply isn’t enough, even when I only sleep 6 hours…
But on the plus side, finally ordered the “Battlestar Galactica” Bluray pack that I’ve wanted to buy for a while. It was on sale, at €30 it was hard to say no. Because that show was awesome!
I am an avid fan of aviation. Always have been, always will be. I, like any other boy, wanted to be a pilot but never worked hard enough to get the grades to get into that and not doing military service (which was obligatory in Sweden at the time) kinda ruled that out. So I wanted the next best thing, an air traffic controller. I got as far as the trialouts at Arlanda (Sweden’s biggest airport) but for reasons unknown to me they decided “I didn’t have the proper predisposition for this job. This decision is final and cannot be appealed”. That was the end of that dream and I got into computers instead which worked out pretty nice for me.
But I’m still interested in aviation. And I try to see every episode of “Air Crash Investigation” that I can and do my best to follow it when something happens. The bad side is that it takes months, sometimes several years, from a crash until the investigation can conclude something. Like that Air France plane from Brazil that dropped into the ocean, took them 2 years to find them (good job on that by the way).
And about 3 weeks ago I saw the “Air Crash Investigation Special” on the 1 year anniversary since the disappearence of MH370. In it they through the Sherlockian (I love making up words) method of eliminating everything they know didn’t happen come to the conclusion that one of the pilots, most likely the captain, sent away the co-pilot, locked the door, disabled the transponer and the ACARS (which really only a well trained pilot would know how to do), dropped the air preassure so everyone but him would lose consciousness and then he navigated around radar stations before setting a course for the antarctic. They never had a clue why anyone would do it but that’s the only theory that is NOT disputed by the available data.
And exactly 2 weeks after that airs, a Germanwings plane crashes into the alps killing everyone. I’m not going to say that “I knew it must have been a deliberate thing by a pilot” because I really didn’t. I think it was clear right away it was “human error” because the rate that they were loosing altitude couldn’t have been missed by anyone and the fact that they didn’t turn back or radio anyone suggested that what happened wasn’t a technical glitch. Unlike the Greek plane where everyone lost consciousness when a service engineer had forgotten to reset a switch, this plane crashed right away whereas the Greek plane kept on going for hours. So it couldn’t have been a technical reason for it, it had to have been caused by the human factor which is the case in a surprisingly amount of crashes. But I really didn’t think it was deliberately crashed but very quickly it was clear that that’s what happened. And I have to say I am very surprised that this amount of information have been released this soon. As I said these usually take months or years, this one was a few days. The full investigation, with the proper recommendations to the airline industry and regulatory institutions, will ofcourse take a few months but it’s really rare to see it being cleared up this quickly. And I think that’s a good thing, if not for the world to feel safer flying again (or do we?) then for the victim’s families that already this soon have answers. I like that.
I also can’t help but to feel that this isn’t entirely unrelated to the post about corporate greed in the airline industry that I posted a while back. This was a pilot that had mental issues he delt with but from all official channels was cleared to work. But he always had this cloud of uncertainty hanging over him because of the situation in the airline industry – and remember, the Lufthansa pilots have just been on a strike about their situation so it’s got to be serious for them. Not that I’m justifying his actions but I just want to raise the point that that might have been a small contributing factor that shouldn’t be ignored. I’ve been fortunate enough never to have been unemployed in my entire life, although I’ve been close 3 times and all of those times I’ve been extremely stressed out over it. Once I almost got an ulcer because of it so I think everyone can relate to a persons worry about his employment, especially if you’ve worked hard enough to reach the pilot seat.
Another point here is that I don’t think this is just an issue in aviation. This could just as easily have been a train driver that deliberately drives his train into Paddington station at full speed in rush hour, imagine the death toll on that. And the accident in Spain a few years back when a train driver wanted to challenge how fast he could take a curve proves that there aren’t safeguards there either. Did the train industry decide all of a sudden that there should be two people in the driver seat for trains? No, but they have on planes.
But still – you’re more likely to die on the way to the airport than on the plane!