Portugal’s Summer Umbrella Sky
Dozens of beautiful, brightly colored umbrellas line a shopping promenade in Águeda—a small town located just south of Porto in Portugal. While these photogenic parasols are helpful at protecting against the sun’s rays and shielding patrons from rainfall, the colorful display is actually an art installation and initiative by the council in Águeda for AgitÁgueda, the town’s art festival!
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My two lovely friends! Taylor and Allison were rather fantastic on this first day. They got all the way to the apartment from the Brussels National Airport (believe me, that’s no easy feat) and we began our whirlwind day of site-seeing!
Day 1: First Belgian beer while sitting on a patio in Grand Place, Manneken Pis (in one of his finer outfits), exploring the tourist traps around the GP, sandwiches (with frites of course) and then a walk back along Chaussée de Ixelles to the apartment so the girls could nap before their first Saturday night out! Activities included Celtica, Taylor falling in love with her first Belgian, drunchies, a random man getting beat up by a Celtica security guard and, of course, Delirium to end the night.
We debated going on a short day trip the next morning but I think everyone was a bit too tired so we instead took the metro to the Atomium and Mini-Europe! After getting assaulted by the “mascot” of mini-Europe for a picture (a multi-colored turtle, REALLY?) we began the journey. Taylor acted as our guide while we ran around the little park attempting to take pictures of every monument (and push small children out of the way so we could take pics as soldiers or Buckingham Palace guards…). It was sunny, a rare treat in Brussels, so we took advantage and stayed outside for most of the day, only heading back when we all were starving and didn’t want to pay for overpriced amusement park food.
The girls at “Grand Place”
Most of the rest of the week passed like lighting. I had to work so Allison and Taylor did a lot of site-seeing on their own. We did go out when I got home from work on several nights and the girls got to experience Place Flagey, Cafe Belga, Flagey frites, the Irish Pub and meet the mysterious Peter Beckett…! They visited Bruges (a beautiful canal city in Belgium), bought souvenirs around Brussels, tried the local cuisine, shopped along Rue Neuve at H&M (so European), etc… Finally it was Thursday and I was essentially free from work duties so we headed off to Volle Gas for a final dinner of mussels, frites and beer!
Most of the week can’t be describe in short sentences and pictures. It was so comforting to just have the girls around to laugh with, cuddle, tease and watch Geordie Shore (our newest obsession). The fact that they spent their spring break coming to see me (despite the weather and the fact that they couldn’t see my lovely face all day everyday) means more than they know. <3 you both!
“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness; no laziness; no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” ~Lord Chesterfield
**I thought that despite my procrastinating the forthcoming posts to find this quote, it might be the motivation I need to get things up-to-date!*
Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission
Well the weeks leading up to Opening Event weren’t exactly the most fun time of my life, but we certainly accomplished a lot. I laughed, I cried, I stressed, but it is officially over. Below I’ll give you an outline of the day!
19 March: D-Day a.k.a. e-Skills Week 2012 Stakeholder Opening Event
7am- Picked up from apartment by taxi to get to DIGITALEUROPE
715am- Arrive at DIGITALEUROPE and begin re-arranging the RSVP list (for the 11 millionth time) as well as preparing the boxes of goodies and tech supplies to be moved to the venue
8am- Taxi arrives, haul boxes downstairs and head off the European Economic and Social Committee, where the event is taking place
815am- arrive at the venue, argue with security in order to get the boxes inside.
840am- Finally get everything (and everyone) inside and begin setting up the space for the event (My job included setting up the presentations for the 3 panel discussions to be held throughout the day. I also worked with the IT guy to make sure everything would run smoothly)
10am- Attendees all arrive, partake in the lovely croissants and coffee, and take their seats in the conference room…and the rest is located on the agenda! (If you’re incredibly interested, feel free to peruse the link below for a timeline)
All pictures edited and most taken by yours truly!
Throughout the day I was in charge of organizing and playing the presentations for each of the speakers. (a.k.a I clicked to the next slide when they signaled at me, threw something, etc…) When panels weren’t in session, I took photos for the website. These involved a lot of awkward pictures of people eating! The crown jewel though was when VP Commissioner Tajani showed up to say a few words near the end of the conference. At that point I literally stalked him to get photos, going so far as to get about 3 feet from him while he spoke to the attendees in order to take a few close-ups! The poor man probably I was a crazy American fan…
After the Commissioner left the mood became much more relaxed. I had a glass of wine with co-workers to celebrate a job well done and then began packing up.
I am so proud to have the opportunity to experience event planning first hand; it’s definitely something I like to do. All of the adrenaline and build-up is such a great productivity tool. It’s nice having a big project to work towards and then once it’s over, move on to the next. I really dislike having projects that just sit around, being worked on a bit at a time; I’d much rather be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
SENSATION BELGIUM 2012