Friday, June 27, 2008

Spain 3 - Russia 0

I can only described the Euro2008 semifinal played yesterday with one word: IMPRESSIVE!

Spain clearly defeated Russia and played a really good match. Even goals were beautiful! All players were superb and Russia did not seem to be dangerous at any point of the game... at least, that is my opinion once the match is over... hehe...

Newspapers in Spain say the same: yesterday's was "THE PERFECT MATCH".

Photos from

Anyway, we are in the final after 24 years and we will play Germany there. Next Sunday at 20.45. I hope we can make it!! That would be so nice!! I am going to Sofia (Bulgaria) this weekend and my Spanish jersey is in my backpack!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mogari no Mori (殯の森)

I have just seen a great movie. A Japanese movie by Naomi Kawase (河瀨直美) which won the best film award in Cannes Festival last year. The name of the movie is "The Mourning Forest", Mogari no Mori in Japanese.

The movie is great and very in the director's line. Naomi Kawase san graduated from Photography School and started making documentaries. Afterwards, she used all she had learnt from those areas and applied it to movies. Her movies are really slow, with only a few dialogues and photography and feelings are the most important things. Her movies are more like a piece of art than like a movie. For some people, they can be boring... for me, they are just perfect!

Some months ago, I also watched another of her movies: Sharasoju (沙羅双樹). My impression was the same. That movie was also amazing. This kind of movies really touch you. You can't stay the same after them...

If you have the opportunity, check out any of these two movies. Two true master pieces!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This time... YES!!!!

Yes! Yes! Yes! Maybe it was not the best match for Spain in this Euro2008, but we defeated Italy and made it to semifinals!!

Yesterday, Spain and Italy played for a place in semifinals. Italy is our worst nightmare... we had not defeated them in an official game in the last 88 years... and yesterday, it was 22nd June. Every time we play on that date, we loose... or at least that was like that until yesterday! We defeated Italy, and also our pesimism, our history and our particular curse!!

Casillas is the name of the hero of the night. If it wasn't for him, maybe we would not be talking about our qualification. He blocked two penalty kicks out of four and bought us a ticket for the semis. Senna was also incredible!

In the end, we will play Russia next Thursday and see if we can make it to the final. We already defeated Russia 4-1 in this competition... but those circumstances were so different! Let's see if we can repeat that. A 1-0 in the last minute would be ok though... hehe

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Instructions for a frying pan

Today, Andrea, my Italian housemate bought a couple of frying pans from IKEA. So far so good... the interesting thing is the set of pans came with a 40-pages instructions booklet!! The booklet is so long because of the amount of languages in which it tells you how to handle your newly acquired frying pan: English, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese.

Some gems which can be read in this interesting and useful instruction manual are:

"If the handle feels loose, tighten the screws with a screwdriver"

"The pan gets hot during use. Therefore, always use pot holders when moving the pan" !!

Did you know it gets hot during use?! I was lucky myself to read it... hahaha...

Sorry if somebody feels bad about this post. It just intends to be funny ;-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtics won again after 22 years

Boston Celtics won the NBA Finals yesterday, defeating LA Lakers and setting a 4-2 balance in the Finals.

Celtics won after 22 years and that is good news. A great historical team, a legend, is back; and that is always great news!! These finals were great because the two most legendary teams in the world were playing again and references to history were constant. People like me, who were too young to see the historical finals Lakers-Celtics in the 80s, wanted this to happen. I supported LA (it will be my city in a couple months from now!), but still I have to agree that Boston were better overall.


I hope next year the Finals are the same! and that I can go to the Staples Center for some nice showtime!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And one year later... Summer ska nights (II)

A year has passed by and old habbits doesn't change at all... Last year I usually listened to some ska/reaggae/punk before going to bed, and this year it is just the same!! Why changing nice habbits!! :)

Tim Armstrong and the Aggrolites:

Streetlight Manifesto:


Ska ska ska!!

Sport times in the Netherlands

When I came back from Athens last Monday, I went directly to Amsterdam to see Bad Religion live! In the end, I got carried away in the concert and decided to go trashing instead of taking pictures... :)

But at the same time, the Euro2008 was on and the Netherlands was playing Italy! What means a huge match! The concert hall where Bad Religion played was next to Leidse Plein, one of the most famous squares in Amsterdam and the atmosphere was incredible: Dutch were already using fireworks before the game!

The Netherlands defeated Italy 3-0... so you can imagine the result... people in orange drunk and pushing the trams as they passed by! hahaha...

The next day was the turn for Spain and we won against Russia and scored 4 goals!! Of course, I watched it in a pub in Leiden with all the Spanish people.

On Friday, Holland played against France and the score was 4-1!!! People went crazy...

And all the Spanish community and friends joined the party! I was wearing an orange T-shirt to support my "home country" ;-) We were partying until late at night...

Next morning, I bought a Spanish national team jersey and went to our usual pub, Bad Habbits, to support Spain. There were some Swedish there... And we won in the last minute!! Unbelievable!!

In addition to all this, now it is time to watch one football match per day. And NBA!! The NBA Finals are still being played! Last night, I woke up at 5am to see the final quarters of the game and LA Lakers won!! Let's go Lakers! Let's go Gasol!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Athens (...and 3)

On Sunday, after all Saturday night partying, we woke up late in the afternoon. Therefore, we decided to take it easy and relax. We decided to visit the Olympic Stadium, not the old one, but the one used during the Olympics in 2004.

The whole area was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, and as many of his designs, the area was full of blue pools with water and white archs and buildings. Typical his!

This is me with the Olympic Stadium.

Afterwards, we moved to Pyraeus, the beach area in Athens and went to a nice cafeteria there. It was like an open house next to the beach. A really laidback environment! From there, we enjoyed a colourful sunset and nice frappes (special coffee fashionable in Greece now).

Next day, we went downtown to finish visiting the last places in Athens. We took the metro to Syntagma Square (where the Parliament is) and walked around. Near that square, we found an old nice Bizantine Church: Kapnikarea.

Afterwards, it was time to visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The entrance is called Hadrian's Arch. In the following photo, that arch together with the Acropolis (behing the gate).

And this is what is left of the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Finally, we visited the first Olympic Stadium. The one where the First Modern Age Olympics where held in 1896. It looked nice with the running lanes in black.

After that, just walked around downtown and moved to the airport to come back to Holland. When I arrived in the evening, I had to go to a great punk rock show: Bad Religion was playing in Melkweg!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mil y un recuerdos...

A superb photo which just won a prize

Last week, my friend Martin got very good news! One of the photos he took during "Fiestas de Mayo" in my home town, Almansa, won the local contest for the best photo related to that festival!!

Congratulations Martin!! This is the award-winning photograph:

Credits: Martin Lopez, Almansa, May 2008

What a great shot!!

Athens Part II. The cultural day

Our second day in Athens was the day when we visited most of the major sites in the city. We started with Hadrian's Library and then went to the Roman Agora. There, the Tower of the Winds (in the back of the following photo) was the most outstanding element.

Afterwards, we walked in the colourful streets of Plaka in the direction of the Acropolis. The views over the city were once again one of the highlights. After a while walking, we reached the Acropolis. The first thing we saw was a theatre and then the main entrance, the Propylea. When you walk past the Propylea, you find yourself in one of the most historical places on Earth. On your right stands the Parthenon, the famous temple dedicated to the goddess of the city, Athena.

On your left, the Erectheion, the house of the Porch of the Caryatids: a beautiful view.

From the further end, just behind the Parthenon, we could see Likabettus Hill, the hill from where I took the photos of the Acropolis I showed to you yesterday.

Next, we went down Acropolis and passed by an ancient Greek theatre on our way downhill.

The next stop was the Kerameikos, the site of the ancient cemetery. Finally, we went to the Ancient Agora: Athens market and where philosophy kicked off. There was a museum there with some of the pieces found there. For example, this typical jar.

This was the main building remaining in the Ancient Agora. It was really nice!

That was on Saturday, on Sunday, we would take it easy and relaxed. On Monday morning, we wrapped up our historical visits... that will come tomorrow!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Αθήνα (Athens) Part I

Last weekend, I visited Athens. This was my first visit to Greece and it caused a great impression! Everything looks like in Spain. People behave similarly, party time extends until well into the next morning, dinner is late... ahh, and the weather is good!

I arrived on Friday night at midnight after a short stopover in Rome. I took the bus from the airport directly to downtown, where my friends would meet me. The first thing I saw was therefore, the parliament in Syntagma Square.

Afterwards, I met Paula (from ESTEC and who had arrived a few hours before) and Kostas (a former Greek YGT with whom we were going to stay all weekend long), and went partying until late at night!

Before going back home, it was time to check the first touristic place of the weekend! It was Likavetos Hill. The views over the city were breathtaking! Such a huge extension covered by white houses, and everything bathed by the first lights of the morning Sun... Beautiful!!

And for the first time in the weekend, I got to see the Acropolis!

After that visit to this great site, it was time to go to bed... it was past 7 oclock...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Columbus Astronauts (STS-122)

Last Tuesday, the astronauts in the Space Shuttle Mission 122 came to ESTEC. These astronauts were the ones who brought the European Laboratory, Columbus, to the International Space Station. There was an astronaut missing, but he was still up there or just came back. They explained their mission and the deployment of Columbus and answered to our questions.

This is one of the best things of working at a place such as ESTEC!!

These were the crew:

The conference room was full, mostly with young people!

And they signed some official photos of the mission which were handed out in the conference room. Before getting mine signed, I also got a picture with them!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fishing on a sunny Sunday

After our impressive visit to the fjords on Saturday, we arrived at Bergen at around 9pm and went to meet Morten. He was waiting for us in order to go to a cabin he has in an island near Bergen. The way to go there: by boat!

This wasn't Morten's boat :), but looks like that in this photo...

It was later than 22.30, but you can see what beautiful light there was! Idilic!!

This was the cabin next to the sea.

And this is again Morten with his boat.

On Sunday morning, we took the boat and went fishing in the open sea. Only after 10 minutes fishing, Felipe got two 1-kg fish!!

Later on, I got the largest fish of the day, and the first fish I caught in my life! 2.5 kilos!!

This is our final catch! Not bad!! Compare the size of the fish with Morten's foot!

And of course, you can imagine what our dinner was... hehe...

And around 11pm, back to Bergen! It had been a great stay there!! One of my best trips ever!!