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Enamorado de Madrid June 6, 2009

Posted by Sarah in me, random.
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Those who follow me on Twitter may know that I’ve spent the past week in Madrid, and that things didn’t go so well at the start: I spent the first 2 1/2 days in my hotel room battling a nasty cold, while outside the sun was shining and my colleagues were getting lots of interesting work done.

Such trips have a habit of redeeming themselves though  – there’s nothing that puts me in a better mood than realising that I’m not sick anymore. This one was no different, and I discovered again why Madrid is one of my favourite cities. Although proper Spanish food is not exactly the model of the “healthy Mediterranean diet”, it is delicious, and I happily let my meat and bread consumption increase by 500% for the time that I spend there: cerdo iberico FTW. The big airy boulevards, brilliant museums, efficient public transport and the friendliness of the Madrileños totally make up for what Madrid lacks in grace and mystery compared with, say, Barcelona. (more…)

Web 2.0 for Travellers February 2, 2009

Posted by Sarah in me.
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Dopplr is a social networking site for travellers that helps you keep track of your friends’ whereabouts. If your locations coincide, Dopplr flags it up for you and you can catch up for a drink. I find it a very useful quick-reference for myself to check where I’ll be at a particular time in the future, and my family and friends can import an iCal feed of my trips into their electronic calendars like Google Calendar to get automatic updates of my travel schedule.  As well as being a nifty tool for frequent travellers, Dopplr is also a very smart-looking site and I love their design! Very simple, a white background, plain font and simple bock colours.

Earlier this year the Dopplr team made annual travel reports for all its users, and I got mine in my inbox a couple of weeks back. It looks super nice so I thought I’d post it up here. To announce the reports, the Dopplr folks actually did an annual report for Barack Obama – check it out on their Flickr site and spot the swing states. Their calculation of my mileage in 2008 is also remarkably close to my own estimate!

Trivia: Dopplr CTO Matt Biddulph was the first to coin the term Silicon Roundabout for the Old Street area of London,  aptly enough on Twitter. Old Street these days is home to a number of hot internet start-ups – other favourites of mine, Last.FM and Moo.com are also based there (as well as one of my favourite sporting venues, but that’s another story!).  I love that they’ve found a fun name for such an ugly part of the city and it almost makes me remember Old Street fondly. Almost.

dopplr_report08_shop

My green flight(s) of shame December 31, 2008

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mytravel3

Inspired by Stuart, I decided to work out how much I’ve travelled in the course of 2008, and place this distance in some kind of “planetary perspective”. Well, I can say that it doesn’t look pretty! In total, I seem to have travelled over 40,000 km – and coincidentally that’s pretty much the circumference of the Earth. Yikes. Must do better next year.*

To solidify my good intentions, I booked my first trip of 2009 – a very convoluted one in 3 countries- all by train. It was definitely more expensive than flying. What’s up with that?

And speaking of the environment, Alexis Madrigal put together a list of the top 10 green technology breakthroughs of 2008. It’s an interesting read, go take a look. Madrigal is actually writing a book on the history of green technologies in the US, he’s keeping his research notes in a blog,  here.

* Oh no. My Dopplr profile tells me I have 43,000 km of travel lined up already in 2009, and I have the velocity of a duck. That’s a bit terrifying. Quack!