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June 2019
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Thoughts On The Sony RX 100 VI

Screenshot 2019-07-20 at 15.10.45

I've had my Sony RX 100 VI since early June and I have been using it a lot since then.  Most of the photos and movies were taken as a "travel" camera during a recent trip to Europe. 

I've also been carrying it around with me just about everywhere I go, and I have found the pictures to be so much better than my Samsung Galaxy S8+. 

I recently read this review on Wired about the Sony RX 100 VI. I agree with most of what is written in this review, but I haven't seen the poor low light performance reported or the overheating at 4K video (I haven't tried to do 5 minutes of recording to be honest.  At the most 30-45 seconds at a time).

I posted some of my pictures taken at the GTD 2019 Summit in Amsterdam on Google Photos (most of them are mine, a couple are from the official photographer who used a different camera body and lens).  Most of these were in low light.

Screenshot 2019-07-20 at 15.03.25

 


Freedom In A Free Society - Daily Stoic - July 18th

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The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman

The July 18th "Daily Stoic" reading was based on Marcus Arelious Meditations, 8.56.

It is pretty challenging --

"The foundation of a free country is that your freedom to swing your fist ends where someone else's nose begins. That is, someone else is free to do what they like until it interferes with your physical body and space. This saying can work as a great personal philosophy as well.

"But living that way will require two important assumptions. First, you ought to live your own life in such a way that it doesn't negatively impose on others. Second, you have to be open-minded and accepting enough to let others do the same.

"Can you do that? Even when you really, really disagree with the choices they're making? Can you understand that their life is their business and your is your own? And that you've got plenty to wrestle with yourself without bothering anyone else?"


How Much I Walked In Europe (in 2019)

Walking

I thought this data from my Garmin Fenix 3HR was interesting from my time in Europe:

  1. 24,833 steps on Tuesday, June 18 (Rome)
  2. 24,702 steps on Saturday, June 15 (Normandy to Paris)
  3. 23,276 steps on Sunday, June 16 (Paris)
  4. 20,818 steps on Monday, June 10 (Bad Pyrmont, Germany)
  5. 19,877 steps on Saturday, June 22 (traveling from Amsterdam to Berlin)
  6. 18,789 steps on Sunday, June 23 (Berlin plus traveling from Berlin to Frankfurt)
  7. 17,605 steps on Wednesday, June 19 (traveling from Rome to Amsterdam)
  8. 12,982 steps on Friday, June 14 (Normandy)
  9. 12, 200 steps on Tuesday, June 11 (traveling from Bad Pyrmont to Brussels)
  10. 11,933 steps on Thursday, June 20 (Amsterdam)
  11. 11,449 steps on Monday, June 24 (traveling from Frankfurt to San Diego)
  12. 10,758 steps on Monday, June 17 (traveling from Paris to Rome)
  13. 9,083 steps on Friday, June 21 (Amsterdam)
  14. 9,052 steps on Thursday, June 13 (traveling from Belgium to Normandy)
  15. 8, 243 steps on Wednesday, June 12 (Belgium)
  16. 7,070 steps on Sunday, June 9 (traveling from Frankfurt to Bad Pyrmont, Germany)
  17. 4, 477 steps on Saturday, June 8 (traveling from San Diego to Frankfurt)

Total number of steps in 17 days = 247,147 (average of 14,538 per day).

Back to main Europe 2019 page.


Summary Of Europe Trip 2019

DSC00213-COLLAGEOn June 8, 2019 -- Conrad, Carson, and I started on a summer adventure to Europe. The cities visited (some shorter than others) include: Frankfurt (start & finish for Conrad & Steve; start for Carson), Bad Pyrmont (in Germany), Brussels, Ottignies (in Belgium), Normandy (U.S. D-Day beaches), Paris (end for Carson), Rome, Amsterdam, and Berlin.

I have been working on putting together some photo albums and some details that share the travels, the places we were able to see, and the friends and family we also got to spend time with.  This is still a work in progress (as of 1/3/2020).

Saturday, June 8: Traveling from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany

Sunday, June 9: Traveling from Frankfurt to Bad Pyrmont, Germany

Sunday-Tuesday, June 9-11: Experiencing Bad Pyrmont, Germany

Tuesday, June 11: Traveling from Bad Pyrmont, Germany to Brussels, Belgium

Tuesday-Thursday, June 11-13: Experiencing Belgium

Thursday, June 13: Traveling from Ottignies, Belgium to Normandy, France (via Paris)

Thursday-Saturday, June 13-15: Experiencing Normandy

Saturday, June 15: Traveling from Normandy to Paris, France

Saturday - Monday, June 15-17: Experiencing Paris, France

Monday, June 17: The Big Travel Day (Carson comes home, Steve & Conrad head to Rome)

Monday - Wednesday, June 17-19: Experiencing Rome

Wednesday, June 19: Traveling from Rome, Italy to Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Photos)

Wednesday - Saturday, June 19-22: Experiencing Amsterdam

Thursday - Friday, June 20-21: Getting Things Done (GTD) Summit

Saturday, June 22: Traveling from Amsterdam to Berlin, Germany (Photos)

Saturday - Sunday, June 22-23: Experiencing Berlin

Sunday, June 23 (Evening): Traveling from Berlin to Frankfurt, Germany (Photos)

Monday, June 24: Traveling from Frankfurt, Germany to San Diego (finally home!)

Some fun summary posts (TBD):


Where We Stayed (While In Europe 2019)

PlacesineuropeWhen we were in Bad Pyrmont, Germany we stayed at Hotel Schaumberg.  It was a great location for us, the room was great for the three of us, and the food for breakfast was awesome.  I would stay there again.

When we were in Belgium we stayed with our Belgium family in Ottingies (south of Brussels).  It was great.  We'd stay there again also :-)

Our Airbnb in Normandy was excellent (photos).  We would highly recommend staying there. The host was amazing. The area around our Airbnb -- known as Les Bateaux -- was a short walk down to the beach and a great location to explore D-Day historical sites, memorials, and museums. 

In Paris we stayed at the Hôtel de Roubaix (6 Rue Greneta, 75003 Paris, France).  I thought the place was average and good for our situation.  It was easy to get to and easy to navigate to the Louvre for sure by walking.  Also it was easy to get from the hotel to the airport via a big transit hub that was just down the street (10 minute walk).  We used Booking.com to reserve our rooms.

Our Airbnb in Rome was great (photos) the location was about a 30 minute walk to the Vatican and then a 30 minute walk to the Colosseum. The host was excellent and very helpful in helping us get to and from the airport.  The place included a full kitchen, air conditioning, and was roomy enough to spread out.  I'd recommend staying at this location if you travel to Rome.

The next stop was Amsterdam.  I spent a lot of time trying to find a good AirBNB but wasn't successful.  I also looked into some of the nicer hotels but the prices were 3x what we ended up paying.   We ended up at Hotel Isis (Spreeuwenpark 17, Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam, 1021 GS, Netherlands) via Booking.com.  It was definitely spartan but clean.  And I felt safe in that part of town. The walk to the ferry and taking the ferry was fun and different.  Having the ferry stop in Amsterdam at the Central Train station was a bonus.  I probably wouldn't stay there again but if you are in a pinch it is doable.

After Amsterdam we made our way for a 1-night stay in Berlin at the Hotel-Pension Cortina (Kantstr. 140, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin, 10623, Germany).  This hotel was also booked via Booking.com.  I was also not able to figure out a good AirBNB option in Berlin, and since we were staying just one night I wasn't as detailed in my research on this hotel. It turned out fine, but just like Hotel Isis it was spartan but clean.  Our room was on the shared courtyard so it was noisy at night.  I definitely would have considered some other hotels if I wanted more comforts.

Our last night of the trip was spent at the Marriott Sheraton at Frankfurt Airport.  It was by far the best hotel room we stayed in during the trip, and given that we just walked up and got the room, the price was pretty affordable.  It was a great ending for the trip.  Solid night sleep and great shower in the morning.  The walk back to the airport was easy, and we got through security/customs/immigration without any issues.


How We Traveled To Europe And Within Europe

Traveling-in-europeWe booked our tickets for Europe via AirTreks which I learned about via the Rolf Potts podcast.

We all flew out San Diego direct to Frankfurt on Lufthansa. Carson flew back from Paris to Washington, DC (IAD) to San Diego via United a week earlier than Conrad and I.  Our return flight was a direct Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to San Diego.  I thought all the flights ended up being affordable, and having AirTreks do all the coordination was wonderful.

We bought all our train tickets in Germany using the German Train App (Bahn).  The app was very helpful and useful.

We bought our local Belgium train tickets at the stations using their kiosks (the English interfaces on all the kiosks we used were easy to use & understand).  Some kiosks took my standard Visa and others required me to use the Debt Visa.  In the end, one or the other ending up working.

I used the Internet to buy our train from Brussels to Paris via Thayls.  This was a great option because the travel time between Brussels and Paris was less than 2 hours.

Once in Paris we used the kiosks to buy local subway tickets within Paris.  Again we had the same issue with credit card vs. debt cards. Sometimes one would work and in another situation it wouldn't. In the end, one of them worked.

I used the French Train App (SNCF) to buy our train tickets from Paris to Normandy, and the the kiosk at the train station in Normandy to get back to Paris.  This SNCF app also had a copy of our tickets so that was nice not to have another set of paper tickets.

We did use the Paris subway system a couple of times on the 2nd day.  It was very handy.  Tickets were purchased at the local kiosks in the subway station.  Also we bought our tickets to Charles de Gaul using the kiosk at the main subway station near our hotel.  They were more expensive then some other options but the ride was a direct ride without subway line changes.

Carson flew home from Paris via United on Monday, June 17th.  After she left, Conrad and I flew from Paris to Rome using via Vueling Airlines.  These tickets were purchased via CheapOAir, but I did our seat upgrades directly using the Vueling Airlines app.  The flight on Vueling was good.  Conrad and I both had luggage that would have been OK for their overhead, but when we checked in they had us check the bags.  This slowed us down in Rome by about 30 minutes in waiting for our luggage.

Once in Rome, our AirBNB host setup for us a car service to pick us up at the airport and take us to our AirBNB.  This worked out great because we had the least amount of time in Rome and we weren't so sure about our public transportation options.   The trip from the airport was great and the trip back to the airport, which was early in the morning, also worked out great.  It was money worth spending.

We ended up flying on EasyJet from Rome to Amsterdam.  We carried our luggage on without a problem.

The flight from Amsterdam to Berlin (TXL) was on KLM.  I really liked the KLM experience.  We got to carry our luggage on and they had cool snacks!

 We left Berlin to Frankfurt on the night before we were flying back to San Diego.  This flight was on Lufthansa and we had to turn in our luggage at the gate because of our ticket class.  There was definitely room for them.  That was kind of a bummer.  It took like 40 minutes to get our bags which made us late for trying to get into the hotel that is in the "secure" part of the airport.  So we had to go outside of security and stay at the Sheraton that is attached to the airport.

In summary ....

  • [PART 1] All the flights worked out without any major issues.  We didn't get to carry on our luggage a couple of times. Which mostly only caused us delays in waiting for our bags.  All the airports worked great.  Moving around, getting through queues, shopping, services, etc. were great.  I think I liked the Amsterdam and Frankfurt airports the most. But Paris, Berlin, and Rome were not bad.  I have been to worse in the U.S.
  • [PART 2] A lot of what we did at the front of the trip was take trains. This worked great for three people.  I think that is why in PART 1 -- it worked great because it was just two people flying vs. three people flying.  The train experience was also overall very seamless and a good time.  Having the right mobile app was key so I definitely recommend using them.

Back to the main Europe 2019 page.


Thoughts & Tips for July 2019

July2019-dan-burton-nzWIl4Qlg0A-unsplash
Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

Health Update (Bulged Disk & Bike Injury)

It has been a year since my last major issue with my bulged disk in my lower back. I am back to probably 90% overall, but I don't think I'm ever going to be back to the same level with running.  I was running an 8.5 minute mile before the injury, but I'm lucky to get in the 10.5 minute mile range now.  Which is OK because my core is about 10x stronger via Pilates, and my swimming and biking have taken off.  The new me is frankly more interesting from an exercise perspective. I was tentatively planning my next Sprint Triathlon for the end of July, but that weekend we are going to be off to Napa area for a wedding.  Unfortunately, August is not looking good with other conflicts, so maybe my next Sprint Triathlon will be in September.

One issue from the bike fall in February that has been nagging me is pain in my wrists when I flex my hand all the way flat (like doing a push-up).  At first they were super sore, and then they got better, but in June they got worse after some gardening (ie. pulling weeds).  The right wrist is better than the left wrist, and I spent most of the month of June with a series of different wrist guards on my left hand to keep it immobilized as possible. As I type this things are better, and I haven't worn a brace all day today. 

Europe 2019

Most of June was consumed by an awesome trip to Europe with my daughter Carson, and my son Conrad. We were gone from June 8 until June 23.  The three of us visited: Germany (Frankfurt and Bad Pyrmont), Belgium (Brussels and Ottingies), and France (Normandy and Paris).  And then Conrad and I continued our trip to Italy (Rome), The Netherlands (Amsterdam), and back to Germany (Berlin and Frankfurt).

I think between Conrad and I we took over 1000+ pictures.  Most importantly was the memories (but as time goes on the journals and the photos will be golden).  I hope to blog more about the overall experience sooner than later.

Here is a photo from Normandy:

Normandy-blog-postTechnology & Tips

As I mentioned last month, my son Spencer and I are starting a new project to digitally scan photos this summer using the Epson FastFoto FF-680W Scanner.  So far everything I've scanned with this scanner has turned out wonderful.

This carry-on luggage from Travelpro Luggage called the Crew 11 20" Carry-on International Rollaboard (w/USB Port, Black) was great for travelling in Europe.  It was easy to pack and easy to maneuver with while on travel.  I'm a big fan.

My birthday and Father's Day present was the Sony RX100-VI camera.  I used it exclusively in Europe and it is now my "go-to" camera.  Very fun to take pictures with and easy to carry.  Here is a one photo from Paris:

Carson-paris

Future

So on the 4th of July we usually do a 10K run called the Old Pros in Scripps Ranch.  I hope to run the whole 10K which will be a big deal for me since my max distance over the last year has been 5K.

Like a mentioned earlier we have a trip at the end of July to Napa for a wedding, and we are also hosting a student from Belgium for a couple of weeks.

Quote I'm Thinking About

“Just because people understand what to do doesn’t ensure that they will actually do it.” ― Marshall Goldsmith,