Work or Pleasure ? Both, of course

I am typing this from the beautiful city of Brussels . This is the last stop of a very busy business trip meeting key partners in Europe . I fly home early in the morning tomorrow


The weather was perfect . I very rarely get to visit Europe in summer – so this was an especially enjoyable visit . And while jet lag made me tired towards end of the day for couple of days , the intense schedule made sure that I got adjusted to the time zone quickly.

Thanks to Luca , Tug, Koby and Guillaume – I had a full schedule this week , and now can barely stand up straight 🙂 . It was totally worth it – a full schedule every day in a different country and magically it all happened in as good a way as I could expect . I am blessed to lead such an incredible team and even more blessed to have partners who are “all in” on MongoDB.

I have some work related thoughts to post – but today, I am going to focus on the amazing personal experience this trip gave me as a traveller and as a foodie .

The transport system in Europe has always impressed me . When I landed in Zurich , I walked across to the railway station and caught a train to HB , and walked to the Marriott . The tall hotel building ruined for me the beauty of a great old town .








Air travel is not always the most convenient or economic across countries , but trains and taxis compensate for that difficulty adequately . Since I don’t have elite status on European airlines – I got some pretty awful seats , and my knees are still pretty sore . Ouch !

I have more change in my pocket today than in any other previous trip to Europe that I can think of – thanks to the innumerable cab rides


The food was pretty amazing . At Zurich – I had probably the best sol I ever had in my life , and the restaurant was amazing too – right on the lake . Thanks to my pal Phil Loewen for chauffeuring me around and giving great company



In Barcelona , the tapas made me wonder how much Asian cuisine has influenced a classic Spanish thing


In Madrid – I had the best Spanish omelette I have ever tasted ( the potatoes apparently are brought from a special region) , and some most amazing red wine . And the partner who took me there also was kind enough to explain the dishes and their origins and cultural impact very well . This restaurant is worth checking out if you are a meat lover – especially the “melt in your mouth” iberico Jamon



And then there was the beautiful city of Paris . Crazy busy as always – but plenty of culture to soak in . Too bad I didn’t get time to walk around the city this time . But my local sales leader Yann took me to a nice lunch – also by a Water front – and I could sample some excellent French cuisine . It’s more art than food as always .



Since I was on 5 flights back to back till reaching France, my colleague Tug and I took a train to Brussels . Such a nice experience – I think I will stick to trains a lot more on future trips


Brussels is known for good beer, chocolates and waffles . I didn’t have any of that yet . When we reached Brussels yesterday – Tug mentioned an Indian dinner he had the last time he was here . Of course that meant we had to go find an Indian place for dinner and we did . It’s kind of ironic to come to Belgium and eat Desi Khana – but there is no denying I love indian cuisine the best . The restaurant was good – not great . The other shock was that they didn’t take credit cards !
That said – I did have a terrific lamb shank today at the restyrant at the Sheraton today where we met a large Belgian SI partner – and loved it . It was the first dish in this visit that made me remember how over sized American restaurant portions look like 🙂


I would be remiss if I didn’t call out the coffee . I must have had 6 cups a day on average to get through the meetings and remain focused . The quality of coffee in all the countries this week has been high – and exceptionally so in France and Spain


Hopefully I can find some chocolates tonight to take home for my wife and daughter . I need to get them both here on a vacation soon .

I will be back in few months – couldn’t cover UK, Germany , Italy and Netherlands this time . Not that I am really complaining – I don’t think I could have done meetings in 5 cities/countries a week two weeks in a row .


Published by Vijay Vijayasankar

Son/Husband/Dad/Dog Lover/Engineer. Follow me on twitter @vijayasankarv. These blogs are all my personal views - and not in way related to my employer or past employers

5 thoughts on “Work or Pleasure ? Both, of course

  1. Nice travelogue Vijay!! You hv an equally good appetite for food as for technology 🙂
    As they say ..’a picture is worth a thousand words’..such experiences are incomplete without random pics which actually acts as a reminiscence one cherish during quiet phases of life. This also suggests that one need not to be an expert photographer to re-live the journey.. I like it.


  2. Hello Vijay- Looks like you enjoyed the summer in Europe vs here in Phoenix. The days here getting warmer and warmer. Your pics and depiction of the food is good. As usual, I love your posts.


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