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Weeknote 8

Conferencing, dining out and Amsterdaming

Interrupting normal work routine this week with a bumper weeknote of activity from travelling round Europe.

Beyond Tellerrand

At the beginning of the week I attended Beyond Tellerrand in Düsseldorf, Germany. As ever the organiser, Marc, did a faultless effort in making this conference happen. It continues to be an event like no other which I’m now feel compelled to attend every year if possible. The line-up of speakers was impressive, as was the range of topics and level of being intrigued by what was presented in every talk.

In between talks I chatted with many familiar folks from previous Beyond Tellerrand conferences, as well as meeting a few new friends there. One new friend included a local UX/UI Designer who’d recently moved from Brazil. It’s so easy to meet new friends at Beyond Tellerrand if you have the confidence and motivation to try, and I always try to make the most of opportunities to socialise with of attendees both during and after the event.

In between day one and two of the conference I took the opportunity to make use of the local NextBike rental bicycles for a relaxing, peaceful ride round Düsseldorf’s Volkesgarten before returning to the conference venue.

Düsseldorf continued not to disappoint on the dining front! For lunches I once again returned to To1980 Vietnamese to try their delicious Pagoda noodle bowl. The second day of the conference I chose to try a local Mexican restaurant chain called Cassita Mexicana. This attracted a small following of friends from the conference including the speaker, Tim Kadlec. We resisted the tempting midweek cocktail offers in favour of a visit to Eisdiele Tati for some of the best ice cream on offer in Düsseldorf.

Pagoda bowl
Burrito cut in half


The remaining days of the week I had some time to myself exploring Amsterdam and to make my first visit to the Rijksmuseum. The museum definitely necessitates a whole day to see everything, including the special exhibitions. I just about managed to pace it right and see everything without feeling overwhelmed by the vastness of the place, its range of paintings and other exhibits.

Figurative painting
A Group of Guardsmen, Dirck Jacobsz (

Amsterdam and The Netherlands as a whole remain one of my all-time favourite destinations visited, which I hope to return to sometime soon!


I'd a couple of nights dining out in De 9 Straatjes (the nine streets) district of Amsterdam where I found a couple of pleasant, not too full restaurants. The first night I sampled the local delicacy, bitterballen with a gigantic side of nachos. For the second night, I tried out the new European vegan burger restaurant chain called Flower Burger. Atmosphere was a little lacking in the latter location for an extended stay, Café het Paleis however, was definitely worthy of a second visit alongside the canal people watching.

Pink coloured burger and potato wedges
Outside dinner of nachos and vegan bitterballen

Railing return from The Netherlands

As with my outward trip, I opted for the train over flying on my return from Amsterdam to London. I have to say it’s far from the seamless, quick journey I’d hoped for. Passports, screening and check-in took over thirty minutes. The Eurostar departure lounge at Amsterdam leaves a lot to be desired compared to airport terminals, without much more than the basics of toilets and barely enough seating for all.

Queue for Eurostar check-in at Amsterdam Central

The journey itself along high-speed tracks was delayed and painfully slow until Brussels due to congestion the whole way. Overall journey time from Amsterdam to London with the delay was four hours and thirty minutes. I really hope things here improve to make this a more attractive, seamless, low-carbon travel option to and from the Netherlands.

Back home

I'd a couple of initial viewings for my home last week, but alas no offers yet. I anticipate, given the impending recession, I'm going to be waiting for an offer for some time.