Laurence Andrews

Train to Turkey - Leg 7 - Belgrade to Sofia

It’s fair to say that this is the part of the journey we were most worried about. The daily train between Serbia and Bulgaria is the one which we have invested the most research and nervous phone-checking during our trip. We even had the staff in the hotel double-check that the train is actually a real train and contacted people online who had b... Read more

Belgrade, Serbia

After spending an entire day on a train the day before we woke ready to explore the city of Belgrade. Weather was in our favour and pulling the curtains we saw everything for the first time in daylight, Europe was truly behind us, we were now in a place that neither of us were familiar, with another currency and another language - one which we h... Read more

Train to Turkey - Leg 6 - Zagreb to Belgrade

With an hour before our train we didn’t have much time to spend in Zagreb and we were very keen to make sure we don’t miss the train. We left the station and headed towards to city in search of supplies for the trip ahead. We failed, but probably went the wrong way or something. The parts of the city we did see were good, a very different Croati... Read more

Train to Turkey - Leg 5 - Munich to Zagreb

We were ready for a good sleep after the adventures of Munich and a day travelling across most of Germany. I have to admit, a sleeper train at this point wasn’t terribly appealing, the knowledge that we were going to end up in Croatia and that we did have a bed was fine enough to make me want to jump aboard. We waited on the platform for our tra... Read more

Train to Turkey - Leg 4 - Cologne to Munich

Day 3 was set to be a warm up for what was to come, long days spent on trains doing nothing but relaxing and looking out the window. We started the day getting up early and leaving the Ibis, it has served us well, but we couldn’t wait to leave. The walk to Messe/Deutz station was quiet, nobody was really awake, clearly everyone had a late night ... Read more

Train to Turkey - Leg 3 - Brussels to Cologne

On to third train of this trip and after a short break in Brussels we were keen to get onboard and to Cologne for some beer and a chance to stretch our legs. We waited on the platform in Midi for our Thalys train which was right on time. This train like the Eurostar requires seat reservations so we booked them in advance, they weren’t cheap, 20 ... Read more

Train to Turkey - Leg 2 - London to Brussels

Early start on our second day after arriving on the sleeper. We were up and ready for the journey ahead, day two should leave us in Cologne, Germany in time for tea which means we have some serious mileage to get through and the two tightest connections of the trip. From Paddington we took the Hammersmith and City line to St Pancras for connecti... Read more

Train to Turkey - Leg 1 - Penzance to London

We’re on our way! The weather in Cornwall was fantastic, a tropical 25℃ with unspoilt sunshine, it better stay like this across Europe, we’re going to have a mega time if it does. Before we could get going with Leg one we needed a final positioning trip to get to Penzance, we travelled as a four so we could be waved off in proper Cornish fashion... Read more

Copenhagen, Denmark

This was a flying trip, but Denmark is certainly worth a mention in the blog. On account of the wedding and honeymoon which proceeded my trip to Copenhagen this was possibly the least researched piece of travel I’ve ever done. It turned out that research wasn’t really necessary, Copenhagen is a wonderful small city and is very easy to navigate. ... Read more

Suomenlinna - Finland in Spring

It’s fair to say there are quite a lot of islands in Finland, I think Finland is second only to Sweden. These islands in combination with the sea and the city centre make Helsinki both very beautiful but also very functional On a nautical map the Helsinki area is awash with cardinal markers to warn ships from potential danger alongside some good... Read more

Taking the Train to Turkey

One of this year’s goals is to tick something off from the bucket list, another of this year’s goals is to try and see as many new countries as possible. What better way to do so than by taking the train to Turkey? This trip has been some months in the planning and after many different iterations of the route we’ve agreed on taking the more tra... Read more

Tallinn, Estonia

This was not a planned trip! Over the last four months I’ve been working closely with our Finnish business headquartered in Helsinki. Most trips out to Finland have been weekdays only, limiting options for truly exploring the city. Fortunately one weekend trip came up and we managed to complete all the planned work in good time on Saturday. Whe... Read more

That time I went to... Rome & The Vatican State

August 2017 and the project to deploy SD-WAN at Cushman & Wakefield was just kicking off. Given the scale of the project I felt that it’d be sensible to make sure we give the first site some extra care and attention before we let the train leave the station at full speed. Turned out that the best location was Rome, Italy since it was reasona... Read more

That time we went to... Vienna, Austria

This is a new mini-series in the Blog, an attempt to write posts that I should have written at the time but failed to do so. Enjoy! September 2015 Victoria and I went on a long weekend to Vienna, Austria. It was a bit of a treat, we spoilt ourselves to Business class flights and a fancy room in the Hilton on the banks of the Danube. We had a fa... Read more

Cologne, Germany

There was a lot of rain - but it didn’t stop any of us having a fantastic time in Germany’s Rhineland this Christmas. Years past we have been very lucky and have spent time away in warmer destinations but with the year of smart we decided that we’d keep things real, spend time closer to home with family and hit some Christmas markets instead. Th... Read more

Helsinki

2018 was very close to being the year that I broke my (now six-year!) trend of visiting a new country every year. By a touch of luck, a change of job (expect a post on that soon) allowed for the trend to continue by offering the exciting opportunity to visit my second Nordic country, Finland. Three things spring to mind when I think of Finland:... Read more

Marsa Alam, Egypt

Can’t get enough of that Red Sea diving! Shortly after getting home from Singapore I was heading east once again and couldn’t wait to get in the water. My previous trip to Egypt was on a Liveaboard, a week-long holiday on board a 26-berth yacht, it was great (I’ll get round to writing the blog at some point) but I wasn’t a huge fan of being conf... Read more

Something a bit Different!

Keeping with this year’s theme, The Year of Smart, I participated in my first non-technical training programme. The course was run by the Centre for Creative Leadership, a US-based non-profit organisation who focus on leadership development. CCL run the Maximising Your Leadership Potential course only three times a year at their Europe HQ in Bru... Read more

Cornwall, Summer 2018

Another month, another trip to Cornwall! Well, not quite… It has been a long time since we were last down, the summer of 2018 shall be known for two things, 1. Being very hot and 2. Having many weddings. As a result of number 2 we haven’t been in Cornwall quite as much as we would like but we found a window in early August and seized the opportu... Read more

Quick trip to the Costa del Sol

Halfway through the year and time to catch a breath! A trip to Spain was the perfect opportunity to get some sunshine and relaxation time. We’d both been to the Costa del Sol before, Victoria many times more than I and can’t fault it, beautiful weather, delicious Spanish food and great places to visit. We couldn’t wait to get on that plane! W... Read more

May 2017 - The Missing Blogs

May started with a challenge which I had not been looking forward to; mine and @geekyjames’ first Tough Mudder. For those that don’t know, Tough Mudder is an outdoor obstacle and endurance course, the ethos is to build camaraderie among participants in order to complete the obstacles, many of which are not possible without teamwork. We decided t... Read more

April 2017 - The Missing Blogs

April was a reasonably quiet month, Victoria and I began to welcome the warmer weather in our still relatively new home, and we managed to continue the trend of visiting Cornwall as often as possible! After moving into our home, it was quite apparent that the decking in the back garden needed to be sorted quite early on. The deck had somehow de... Read more

March 2017 - The Missing Blogs

March was a much quieter month than the previous two, but the start of 2017’s scuba season. One of my annual goals was to gradually purchase all of my equipment for a Liveaboard diving trip to Egypt in September; I had before now been reluctant to buy too much to avoid getting things too quickly and then wishing I had purchased the more expensiv... Read more

February 2017 - The Missing Blogs

February started with friends, having dinner out and settling into our new home after a busy Christmas and beginning to the year. We spent time absorbing Upnor, taking walks along the beach and past the castle, enjoying the pub and surrounding area. We watched as the boats slowly begin to re-populate the river, the process is now an unexciting a... Read more

January 2017 - The Missing Blogs

2017 was kicked off in the same style as 2016, with family in Cornwall. We spent time in East Cornwall in December and visited Bodmin Moor and The Cheesewring (see post) before heading to Charlestown for New Year celebrations. At Midnight there were fireworks from the harbour, and we enjoyed some champagne while watching the events in London on ... Read more

The Big Question

Well, this is a significant post! Currently sitting in the roof top bar of our hotel in Phuket, Thailand after a fantastic weekend in Singapore with Victoria. After six years together I asked her if she would marry me and (thankfully!) she said yes! The moment was everything I could have hoped for with great weather, stunning scenery and just en... Read more

A Quick Update to the Rail Map

It hasn’t been the busiest year for rail travel, in fact, I have barely used the train at all compared to last year. That’s mostly due to much less commuting, instead spending more time working from home but is probably because of the unfortunate expiration of my 16-25 Railcard. Trains now seem and well, are, expensive – that’s a big frustration... Read more

Last of the Summer Gin, Madrid, Spain

There’s lots of excitement in our family recently, my sister, Esme and her partner, Lomas are engaged and due to marry in the summer of next year. Victoria and I are incredibly happy for them, we cannot wait for what we are certain will be a very beautiful wedding and happy occasion. Living not too far from each other we are lucky in that we are... Read more

The (Sleepy!) Pearl of The Adriatic - Dubrovnik

Last year was always going to be difficult to top, Monaco was absolutely fantastic and we had a wonderful time; we relaxed, enjoyed good food and embraced the rich and famous lifestyle – we even flew in a helicopter! This year I was determined to try and continue our February city break tradition and after nowhere near enough research or prepara... Read more

Cisco Live EMEA 2017 - What to Expect

Today I am lucky enough to be going travelling to Berlin, Germany with one of my colleagues; we’ll be attending Cisco’s annual conference Cisco Live EMEA. As many of you will likely know Cisco Live is the go to event for network engineering folks the world over, with classes, seminars and presentations from all manner of people across all kinds ... Read more

Bodmin Moor and The Cheesewring

We decided that today was a great day for a walk, it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t too cold, just a normal mild December day. The destination was Bodmin moor, just a short drive from where we are staying with family in Cornwall. I had been told there was a large ‘Cheesewring’ rock formation on the top of a hill and with such a peculiar descriptio... Read more

BrewDog Leeds - Review

My close friend @geekyjames and I are unequivocal fans of BrewDog, the Scottish craft beer company. Known for their iconic Punk IPA beer and brash attitude towards typical business convention they are without doubt one of the most notable new breweries globally. The company is expanding rapidly and has just opened a brand new brewery in Columbus... Read more

Number 22 - Shoot a Gun

I’m not going to go into how it was I found myself in Vegas, all I will say is that it was completely on the level, as were all activities during my trip. This bucket list item was one of the original and actually one which I’d wanted to do long before the list came into existence. I thought it would be one of the more difficult ones, because it... Read more

The Land of Vikings - Iceland

It’s become somewhat of a tradition to take a holiday in December. So far it’s always somewhere noticeably warmer and where beer is considerably cheaper. This year we thought we would shake things up a little and do the polar opposite - go somewhere colder, where the beer is much more expensive.  Iceland is an eminently fascinating place, full ... Read more

Gibraltar

Gibraltar has been a place of fascination to me for a long time now; a strange strategically important peninsular, occupied by a geographically odd lump of rock with sovereignty to the crown. I’m rather late with this post, some 6 months after visiting ‘The Rock’ but the fascination continues to consume me, despite doing our best to explore and ... Read more

Lille - A Trip Away

Hot on the heels of our last adventure away we thought it was time for another quick break. Lille is somewhere both of us have travelled though several times, but never stopped. Of course by ‘passing through’ I actually mean whizzing past on a high speed Eurostar train – it’s not like we’ve even seen Lille before. Since the construction of the C... Read more

New York

It’s been a busy few months, my last post was ages ago. Since then two bucket list items have been ticked off and a third is in the pipeline for this year - that’s kind of a big deal. I’ve been putting off writing my blog post about New York because I wanted to make sure I covered off all of the details. However, it doesn’t look like I’m going t... Read more

Istanbul, Turkey

This was a rather epic trip. It started off fairly normal, I headed over to Heathrow T5 to catch a flight to Istanbul. The flight took off as usual all seemed fine, I set my tablet up to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel and got ready for a spot of breakfast. It got a bit different near the English Channel when the pilot decided to rock the aircraf... Read more

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Went to visit one of the wonders of the modern world today. Been looking forward to this for a while, and it was basically one of the selling points of this holiday, since I can only sit in the sun for so long. The trip to Chichen Itza involved a 3 hour long coach drive, it probably would have only taken one hour is we hadn’t stopped so many tim... Read more

Bucharest, Romania

This week I got the chance to travel to Bucharest, Romania to visit our Global Service Desk. We had a an issue accessing a firewall remotely and it was causing some unexpected routing behaviour so on the advice of TAC it needed to be rebuilt. Here is me standing in front of the enormous Palace of the Parliament, this building is very impressive.... Read more

Moscow, Russian Federation

Here I am in Moscow’s Red Square in front of St Basil’s Cathedral. The square was surprisingly empty but it was very cold! I managed to visit again in the day time and it was much busier. Moscow was definitely the most interesting place I’ve been so far, I look forward to going back with the confidence that I survived my first trip! Read more

Glasgow, Scotland

Another Cisco LAN upgrade, this time is Glasgow. Now, it turns out that there aren’t that many landmarks in Glasgow so, yeah… Here is a picture of TheFinnieston Crane - officially known as the Stobcross Crane it was built in 1926 and was used primarily for lifting heavy steam machinery to/from ships docked alongside. This particular picture invo... Read more

Frankfurt

I’m not sure when I defined number nineteen quite what I had in mind. Whether ‘working overseas’ includes business trips or if it should only be a permanent job… I’ve given it some thought, and decided that business trips should count. I work for a global organisation after all, so what more would I want? I’ll leave the aspirations of working fo... Read more

Tignes Snowboarding 2010

Wow, 2010 was a busy year indeed! In the spirit of continuing my blog catch up here is my second official bucket list completion: #6 - Snowboard down a mountain. Snowboarding isn’t the easiest thing in the world, that’s probably a given, so along with a friend of mine we decided to get some dry slope practice in before heading off to Tignes, Fr... Read more