Tuesday, March 24, 2009

60 countries

Back to a heavy traveling agenda, I find myself having more time to read, to sleep and even to blog. After a couple of days in sunny and warm Lisbon, and a short stop-over in Brussels, I went to a cold and windy Vienna for an OSCE event and stayed for the weekend with Bettina. It's funny because over almost four years of being colleagues in the Bureau of the European Youth Forum, there were plenty of times when I and Bettina spent weekends together, a bit all around Europe but never in Vienna, where Bettina lives. Therefore, this weekend in Vienna was long-time due. And, as expected, I had a great time there. Apart from the time spent on updating each other on the gossips (past and present, ours and others'), having drinks and simply relaxing, on Saturday we even went to Bratislava and got a guided tour by Marcela, and met Alex, Christiane and Mourad for a nice and full-of-laughs evening out back in the city. Then, on Sunday, and after another great brunch prepared by Bettina, we wandered around the city centre, searching for the sunny sidewalk while taking a look at the palaces, churches and parks that make Vienna such an impressive place. We ended up at the Museum Quartier, where we met Alex and Christiane again, plus Anja and Ester. Vienna might not be exactly like St Gery, but you can also bump into friends and acquaintances there. And then, time to go back to Brussels, for another short yet welcomed stop-over, in anticipation of another trip. I am now on my way to a freezing and snowy Tallinn, via Riga. Will be attending a workshop on social and cultural shocks, organized by the Swedish Government; don't ask me why the Swedish Government is organizing a workshop in Tallinn, I wouldn't know. But I am glad that they are, as this will allow me to tick Estonia as the 60th country I have been to. So, after Slovakia and now Estonia, the only EU member state left off the list will be Bulgaria; and this I will do next week. In two weeks only I will visit three new countries; not bad. Not bad at all, really. And this makes me once again think of how lucky and privileged I have been, especially these last four years over which I have worked for the European Youth Forum. And of how much I will miss it. 68 days to go... Time flies...


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