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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Some honeymoon stuff.. and Google challenges Exchange

Honeymoon in Croatia: Frankfurt, Dubrovnik

(All photos are HERE)

As promised, here is the first ‘place-by-place’ commentary on our honeymoon in Croatia. Ok, so Frankfurt isn't in Croatia, but we did spend a fair amount of time there, waiting for our connecting flight. I have to say, I have gained new respect for the poor sod that inspired the movie The Terminal. We killed about 6 hours in the terminal at Frankfurt Airport, and they were extremely painful hours. Duty free shopping (and window shopping) only managed to chew up about one-and-a-half of those hours, and then it was a case of hanging out in McDonalds until ‘our time’. At least the McD’s there has a nice view of the apron and we could watch the planes. Pity I didn’t have a PSP at that stage.

Anyway, we landed in Dubrovnik at about 4 in the afternoon on Monday the 27th of April and picked up our little Citroen 4-door diesel. What a nice little car to drive! It was far easier driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road than I expected, and even having to change gears with my right hand didn’t take too long to get used to. We drove down to our hotel (the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel-we got a free upgrade to it from the Uvala hotel since it was closed out of season) which took about 15 minutes. Our hotel room was magnificent, and the view over the sea and eyelands breathtaking! We relaxed a bit (we had been traveling for almost 24 hours after all) and then went to hunt down supper-which was a challenge since most places in the area we looked were closed out of season. We ended up going for pasta at a little restaurant we had all to ourselves-and after complementing his food the owner insisted on ‘treating’ us to some complementary rakija-yuck!

The next day, after a good night’s rest and a massive and satisfying breakfast, we hit the ‘old town’ of Dubrovnik. It was magnificent, we had wonderful weather and exploring the old city -with its impressive maritime defense walls (the most ‘complete’ on the Mediterranean) and numerous noteworthy monuments was a great way to spend our first day! Among other things we saw the Big Onofrio’s fountain just inside the Pile Gate (the main entrance into the old city), the Ploce gate, Orlando’s column, the Sponza Palace and many more. We also spent some time just walking amongst the little alleyways and along the city walls-Natalie was amazed at the tiny spaces people lived in and it’s a real eye-opener as to how spoiled we are space wise in South Africa. The little shops hidden away in the alleyways are lovely, and a totally different and refreshing experience to our busy shopping malls that protect you from the elements. We headed back to the hotel for a rest and to fetch our car (we’d used the bus to get to the old town), and then headed back to a restaurant we’d seen while walking around the city for supper. We had pasta again, and again it was great, the place had a very cozy, homey feel to it-which was a pleasant change from the icy wind that was blowing outside. Back at the hotel we settled in for our last ‘5-star’ night, and got a good nights rest in preparation for the next day’s drive..

And Google takes on another MS product

It’s starting to look as if companies with unlimited, quick internet access could happily forgo MS Exchange in favor of an all-web Google product suite instead. Google has released the beta of its calendar product which, unsurprisingly, works in tandem with GMail to offer a feature-rich online contact, communication and time management system. Besides being able to add and edit events on the calendar as expected, and receive notification of events, Google calendar allows linking to other calendars (both public and those of friends), invitation of others to organize events, creation of additional calendars and importing of existing event detail from Outlook (through CSV export files). As with its other products, the system is incredibly intuitive and includes handy little bonuses such as predictive text and so on. The Google machine marches on..



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