Tag Archives: travels

Internet abroad

I am not travelling as much as in previous year, but still try to visit some interesting places when I can. As it usually mean going abroad new sim cards are bought for such visits. Or not.

During last weeks I was in Germany, Iceland, USA and Canada. Needed Internet access in each of them but not everywhere that meant new sim card.

In Germany I am using ALDI Talk card which I bought few months ago. Cost was 12€ with 10€ credit on card. Internet access comes with 500MB data limit per day for 2€ and it usually covers my needs (it gets insanely slow after reaching limit).

Iceland was typical “one time use” card so I went for Nova as it was first available one. Costed one or two thousands ISK and gave me enough data for my 24h visit.

Then USA. Country where even prepaid is expensive. Bought T-Mobile sim card in 7/11 for 47USD including 35USD of credit of which 30USD went for 5GB data package. Getting card running requires registration with codes from starter kit. During 11 days of stay I used about 3GB of it. There were also huge amount of open wifi networks.

Canada was next on list. No sim card this time as 30CAD + 10CAD for 1GB of data was total rip-off. Living on open wifi networks sucks. With my next visit I wait until they got some sane prices ;D

How it looks in other countries?

Poland – buy any sim card in kiosk for 5PLN (1.25€), put into device and usually 1GB of data is available.

Czech Republic – last time I used O² with 375MB data package but do not remember price for it.

Belgium – 10€ on Lycamobile card (card available for free in shops) gave me 3GB data (for 7€).

Finland – Saunalahti card costs 4€ with 6€ credit. Maximum price for Internet access per day is 1.70€ so one card is fine for 3 days. Then you just buy next one or top up with minimum 10€.

I have also cards from UK, Hong Kong, Lithuania and Latvia but do not remember details any more. But all can be always checked on prepaid data sim card wiki.

Vacations in USA and Canada

Few years ago I told that I would not fly to USA. Then I changed job and had to fly there for conference. And another one and another… But it was always travel just for conference and one or two days of sightseeing. But not this year.

In August I am going to USA for Fedora Flock conference which takes place in Rochester, NY, USA on 12-15th. But I plan to spend a bit more time on american continent…

First flight is Berlin, Germany to Reykjavík, Iceland where I could just change flight and go to Boston, MA, USA. But why would I? Price of tickets does not change if I stay there for 24h. So I will do some sightseeing, buy a fridge magnet to my collection and then fly.

Boston is a place where I would like to spend few days. Take a look at city, visit Cambridge, MA just because it is younger brother of Cambridge, UK etc. Hope to go to Westford to visit Red Hat office and met some team members and co-workers there. Nothing planned yet, not even hotels.

Then trip to Rochester, NY. Probably by train or bus. Then conference, sightseeing, meeting people etc. I share hotel room with Paul Whalen so probably there will be some interesting discussions ;)

Another part will be visiting Niagara Falls. Hope for both US and Canadian sides. From there I go to Toronto and then on 19th August flying back home.

If someone want to meet me then just ping me. Hints for Canadian prepaid are welcome (in US T-Mobile with 30$ plan should be fine).

Road trip dates setup

So this year we are going to Moomins World, Naantali, Finland. All dates are set, PTO granted, car checked.

Trip will start on 5th July with Szczecin -> Łódź trip. There I will take my 6 years old daughter Mira to even named “Old computers & games” to show her which kind of computers I used. Then Łódź -> Olecko to visit my mother. Will spend few days there.

And then crazy trip starts. Friday 11th will take us to Klaipėda, Lithuania to see dolphins. Next day we go to Rīga, Latvia through Hill of Crosses in Šiauliai, Lithuania. Look around and on Sunday -> Tallinn, Estonia where we will spend ~24h as this direction is mostly to not drive everything in one day.

Then ferry to Helsinki, some sightseeing and on 15th we will go to Turku and stay there in yet another hotel.

Finally on 16th July plan is to spend whole day in Moomins World in Naantali. Walk, see, take photos and have a good time.

Next day equals Tampere. Moomins museum and visiting Thomas Ruecker. Then quick run to catch ferry in Helsinki so we can spend some time in Tallinn again and do some proper sightseeing. Similar with Riga and finally Devils’ Museum in Kaunas, Lithuania on last day.

Few days of rest in Olecko and go back home probably through Gdańsk.

I hope that it will be the adventure. One of those nasty disturbing uncomfortable things which you remember for long ;D

Time to plan vacations

This year I want to take my family for long trip. But not just a trip but Moomins influenced one because my daughter likes to listen when we read books about them.

So from Szczecin to Olecko (where my mother lives) for few days. Lakes, few old friends, family. Then go north.

Through Lithuania to Latvia to Tallinn, Estonia. Sight seeing here and there to not just drive through all those countries. But probably skip Vilnius as it is on a side.

Then ferry to Helsinki, walk around for a day. And the next step would be Moomin World in Naantali, Finland. No idea how much time it requires. From there to Tempere to visit Tampere Art Museums Moominvalley.

The whole trip needs to be in July when Mira has vacations. And it is also the only time when Finland has summer (but have to check which days :)

Have to check where to stay, who to meet (Riku? Thomas? probably few more), which way to go, what to see. And also I need to get new ID for Mira.

Hope that it will be a great adventure ;D

Is being connected a need or a must?

For all previous FOSDEM visits I was offline. You know: high roaming costs, not liking to use random open wifi networks etc. But not this time.

I arrived yesterday morning at BRU airport. Planned to buy a simcard there but managed to skip whole shopping part without realising what I did.

But when I arrived in a city centre I noticed a “free wifi” sign at the Novotel hotel so decided to make use of it. Flood of Google+ and Facebook notifications was what I got. Checked in on Foursquare and minute later met XorA with Anya. We took a coffee, discussed about work, life and then went for some walk.

Half hour later I left some small shop with a BASE simcard in my Nexus 5 with 1GB of transfer available. My standard simcard went to the backup phone (Nokia 101 this time). Quick look at Foursquare, Google+ and Facebook and I saw where my friends are and could get in contact. Met Philip, Koen, Vladimir and several other guys, got invited to a dinner etc. Managed to take some portals down in Ingress game as well ;-)

Not that I would not be able to survive without a local simcard. There are lot of open wireless networks in Brussels but how many of them are safe?

Internet over GSM abroad? Forget it…

Several times per year I am abroad for some conferences or holidays. And lack of Internet access from a cellphone there sucks.

In October I was in Munich, Germany for some internal Red Hat training. Had most of day for sightseeing but doing it without constant access to the Internet was a bit of disaster as I did not have time in previous week to mark interesting spots in Google Maps or to make any notes. And it was Sunday so all stores were closed == no way to buy local prepaid card.

In February I will visit Brussels, Belgium for FOSDEM and then Brno, Czech Republic for devconf.cz. Local SIM cards for both countries would be nice.

Did not yet checked Belgium ones yet but did that for Czech Republic. And man… situation there is awful. 200MB for 150CZK from mobil.cz looks like best offer for prepaid. Disaster… I wonder how slow it will be as well.

But there are exceptions. In United Kingdom and Hong Kong I went to first Three shop and got unlimited data at affordable price. Spain was a bit strange as I had to register SIM card. But for 20€ I got something like 2GB of data.

In Poland I am topping up my SIM with 100 PLN every 2-3 months and this gives me 6GB of transfer as a bonus. I now have 45GB of data available without any extra costs. And prepaid cards from all operators are available to buy at every corner…

My UK trip — Cambridge

Cambridge is nice city. I was there at least once every year since 2009: OEDEM 2009, Emdebian sprint in 2010, during Linaro Connect q3.11, ARMv8 sprint in 2012. But this time it was not work related visit.


It was evening when I reached Cambridge. Paweł took me from the train station and I had occasion to see their new house and how they plan to restructure it. We discussed some things, spoke a bit (mostly I) about ARMology (history of ARM cores) and day ended.


Lazy day spent on wandering around in the centre of Cambridge. I could go to Ely or Norwich instead but decided to just take a long walk and see places which I already saw before and find something new as well.

One of new places was Market Square Street Market where many local products could be bought and/or tried. Ostrich burgers, cakes, cookies, cheese, different things made from wood, metal or screws, jewellery made from misc materials like buttons. There were books, movies, music on CDs and vinyls, paintings, different kind of food to buy/taste… And many other things. I spent probably an hour there just walking and checking what do they have on offer.

But as it was yet another quite windy day I decided to buy some wind proof jacket. Visited few shops but did not find anything (finally bought one day later). My cold was already at advanced phase ;(

But it was well spent day. I saw many new places, reminded already visited ones but (mostly due to cold) did not took any pictures.


I had an appointment with Andrew Wafaa so we met for lunch at the Oak Bistro. Discussed about misc things (like end of my job at Linaro) and at the end I gave him MicroSD adapter which does not stick out from Chromebook. He told me few hours later that it was a problem to get it back from people later during day ;)

After lunch I went to the Whipple Museum. Interesting exhibition. Models of human body, lot of scientific equipment from few centuries. Really worth visiting.

Day ended with visit at 40th Cambridge Beer Festival. I like how event was organized. “No glass, no service” means you can bring your own glass or pay 2.5GBP deposit for event one. There was wide choice of beers, ciders, perries (cider like make from pears), meads and wines. You could buy whole, half or third of pint (meads and wines were sold in 175ml portions) which made tasting easier.


I reserved that day for beer festival only. Leif took day off so we could spend it together there. The only problem was when on Monday’s evening I realized that we forgot to share any usable contact information but we managed to find each other at one of social networking websites.

So beer… I bought several ones and tried even more from local friends. In the official application I marked (random order):

  • Curious (bitter)
  • Summer Virgin (golden ale)
  • Nero (stout)
  • “Ruby… don’t take your beer to town” (dark mild)
  • Krasny Red (bitter, IPA style)
  • Pegasus (bitter)
  • Honeypot (speciality which I got rid to urinal after few sips)
  • Golden Kiwi (golden ale)
  • Bohemium Lager (lager)
  • Zulu (porter)

But there were also other ones and “Dark Mead” for the end of day. With thanks of Leif and Steve I found out what is a source of that strange taste I call “English beer taste” which I am not a fan of. According to Steve it is due to hops.

It was great day due to beer and people I met: Andy, Neil, Steve, Leif, Maria and others.


The last day in Cambridge. Went to Fitzwilliam museum to take a look at the art. And I have to admit that I prefer art from 18-19th centuries rather than modern one.

Eat lunch, packed bags and then went to Stansted airport. Funny moment at security gate where officer asked me about amount of cellphones in my bag. There were just two of them: Nexus 4 and Chinese E6 one (plus Kindle and Nexus 7 tablet). Probably it was just routine control ;D

And after around 9 hours I finally arrived at home…


It was good trip, I enjoyed every day of it (even with cold), managed to visit most of the places I planned to, met friends and spent time in other way than usually.