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Manue & Me

 Joerg's Blog 

 

If you are reading this, you must definitly be bored.
Either that, or you're looking for information about this site and/or its author.
For the first group of people I advise YouTube. For the second group, well, read on.

This is my personal blog page. I'll be referring about all things happening to me - that might be interesting for whoever reads it. I can not garantee it will be very high level for everyone though... But it is mainly maintained for far away relatives/family to have a glimpse of what I do with my life.

So - what is a blog anyway ? For this - check out Wikipedia - they have the best description for this. If you want to contact me - you'll have to reformat my E-Mail - so - good luck.

What I am ? I call myself a hacker.
Please note - most people think about the bad guys doing bad things to other computers. Well - I would say - that those guys are the Black Hat guys - also known as crackers. What I call myself - is a White Hat hacker. See it as a system administrator using professional tools to probe the robustness of his own systems and networks, and trying to get the maximum out of the used hardware - making its use as efficient as possible. This is legitimate - as I do not break into anything - while crackers attempt gaining unauthorized access to systems for eventual unethic actions.
The difference between hackers and crackers does not lie in the tools or techniques they use (the same hammer can be used to build a wall, or break it down), but in their intentions !
For me - building a stable and secure system is a very interesting challenge, and to know it is stable and secure - I need to test it with all tools available. And this is what I like doing most.


Please note that all I say on these pages is for personal use only and under no circumstance has to be taken/used/copied without my explicit written permission !

 

Dreamtrip in Budapest   [ 
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Budapest

 This summer we became members of a travel club and we decided to sample what was on offer. We chose to travel to Budapest and we didn't regret it at all. The city is absolutely amazing. It very much looked like Prague but the people are a lot warmer and the atmosphere definitely more pleasant. The food is also great, way more refined than in Prague and very affordable.

We stayed at the Hotel Continental on the Pest side (Budapest is in fact composed of two cities separated by the river Danube), very close to the ruin bars and the shopping malls. This 4 star hotel was a bath complex which has been recently renovated and it was great. The room was comfortable, the restaurant delicious and there was a spa on top of the hotel. It was really nice to relax in the jaccuzzi, the sauna and take a dip in the indoor pool (although others prefered the outdoor one). We both (and together in the same room) indulged in a traditional thai massage which was very efficient in putting all the bones back into place !!!

Our trip included a private day tour with dedicated guide and minibus which took us around the city, visiting famous locations. The guide was great, very attentive to our needs, answering our questions. We were with an international community composed of Chinese, Germans, Austrians, Taiwanese and we enjoyed a planned lunch and strudel demonstration together as well as breakfast and the last dinner. But apart from that we were free to roam around when and where we wanted, following the suggestions of our local host who gave us very good advice concerning visits, restaurants and so on (for example sailing up and down the Danube or sightseeing in an open-deck bus which were part of the deal). Check out the picture gallery.

To sum up, we loved the experience especially the mixture of individual and group travel. As I don't want to include a forum or the possibility to post comments on my website, here is an email address you can use if you want more information on it (dreamtrips(-AT-)solsys(-DOT-)org - I have replaced the @ and the . signs in order to avoid being spammed). 

Written on Saturday, 9 November 2019 - 10:06 | 293 views
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Two weeks in paradise !!!   [ 
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Paradise

 This year we decided to spend our summer holidays with our friends on the French island of Martinique in the Carribean Sea. Our friends come from there and were instrumental in our decision :smile-big: face-smile-big.svg

We all rented an amazing house (check it out) and spent the time discovering and enjoying the island. The first striking thing are the colours. The whole island is covered with a deep green vegetation regularly scattered with colourful flowers. As it is a volcanic island, the topography is very mountainous and the sceneries are spectacular. If you travel there you must spend an afternoon in the Balata gardens located above Fort-de-France. The owner has done an great job and you can even walk among the trees as a tree trail can be used.

There were a lot of historical visits to schedule. In Saint-Pierre for example we walked among some ruins left after the volcano erupted and destroyed everything in 1902. It was a bit like Pompei but on a much smaller scale. We also had the opportunity to enjoy the guided tour of Josephine de Beauharnais' family plantation from which nothing much remained as the main house was destroyed by a cyclone. There were other cute places such as the Pottery village where we bought most of our souvenirs and Fort-de-France and its spice market.

We didn't go to the beach very often as we spent a lot of time scuba diving (take a look at the other post) but we spent a whole day sailing a catamaran (well the skipper sailed - we just enjoyed it) hopping from island to island. If you take a look at our photo gallery (here) you will understand what I mean. We bathed in the so-called Josephine's tub which she never bathed in, and ate accras there. We swam in the Trapeze (another body of water between 2 islets) and to the Islet of Madame. We sailed past the Warewolf islet which nests endangered species. It definitely looks like the islet where Jack Sparrow was dumped in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean. The most moving moment of the day was when our skipper led us to the islet of Chancel where he explained the history of the ruins of a sugar plantation relying on an enslaved labour force and helped us find iguanas.

Another heyday was a horse ride we booked early in the morning. Our guide welcomed us in his remote ranch, handed out the horses according to each one's level, helped us groom them and we were off followed by 2 very cute foals frolicking around us. The stroll led us through the forest to the beach where some of us had a nice gallop. We continued towards a high perched chapel from where the view was breathtaking. The return road enabled us to ride in the shallow waters of a secluded cove. We felt like happy castaways :wink: face-wink.svg

So, to sum up, this island is extraordinarily beautiful and the people living there were most of the time very welcoming whether in restaurants, museums or anywhere. We definitely plan to go back one day !!! 

Written on Sunday, 18 August 2019 - 07:29 | 978 views
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Achievement unlocked : we all have a diving certification !!!   [ 
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Diving

 The whole family went diving in Martinique this year in the Caribbean Sea. I already obtained the PADI Rescue Diver last summer but as my oldest daughter decided this year to obtain her French Second Level (N2), I went with her and praticed diving in a pool and reviewing physics and stuff. So we needed to dive at least ten times in order to validate everything. My wife and my youngest daughter spent the same year following the Level One lessons (N1) and needed 5 dives. And our 29 year old son decided that it was also time for him to learn diving. So we booked him an accelerated course which he achieved brilliantly.

As a result, we discovered the Caribbean Sea and it is an outstanding underwater world full of surprises and beauty. We were surprised to see corals beyond 20 meters. The wildlife was abundant and varied. But pictures are more talkative than words. So take a look at our photo gallery and youtube videos here.

Our favorite spot was Anse Dufour, not so easily accessible but an amazing place. My oldest and myself were lucky to participate to a night dive where we saw seahorses, octopuses, squids, crabs and crayfish and many others I didn't recognise. We came back with the whole family during the day and we swam with sea turtles. It was awesome.

There are numerous other places we haven't yet dived in but that's for another day :-))) In the mean time we are all equipped to dive anywhere else in the world. Our next goal is to all obtain at least the second level in order to be able to dive deeper than 20 meters and do some wreck diving. So stay posted !!!  

Written on Sunday, 18 August 2019 - 07:21 | 965 views
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A great day in Paris and Versailles !!!   [ 
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Paris Versailles

 We are all finally on holiday and we decided to enjoy Paris and its surrounding a little bit. We booked an exhibition at the Ateliers des Lumières in Paris. This "museum" is a former foundry which closed when the 1929 international crisis disrupted the world's economy. It became a tool factory which stopped operating in 2000 and in 2018 it opened again as a creative art space where paintings are illuminated, animated to the sound of music. All the walls, floor and ceiling are covered with light and colours. One can walk in the high-ceiling room and follow the images, or one can just sit down not far from a huge wall and enjoy. Whatever the choice it is beautiful. Check out the website https://www.atelier-lumieres.com/en/home

This year the exhibition focuses on Vincent Van Gogh whose colourful work particularly fits the concept. It is followed by a shorter program entitled Dreamed Japan, as Japan did inspire Van Gogh's work. But above all else it triggered memories and a bit of nostalgia as we so much enjoyed our trip there in 2018.

We spent the evening at Versailles where we booked a pyrotechnics show telling the tragic story of Marie-Antoinette queen of France. The performance was showcased in the castle's orangery. It was creative and the fireworlks really danced to the rhythm of the music.

Versailles always schedules amazing events and we plan to attend the Grand Masked Ball at the castle one day. We just need to wait for our last one to reach 18. But it's a plan !!!

 

Written on Thursday, 4 July 2019 - 09:18 | 946 views
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Music Festival Retro C Trop reloaded !!!   [ 
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Retro C  Trop

 We enjoyed last year's festival so much we returned this year and it was even better. We bought the tickets as soon as we found out that Tears for Fears was scheduled and it turned out that more rock stars would be attending. Midnight Oil was just as great. UB40 was amazing. The Dire Straits Experience sounded just like ... Dire Straits. And we discovered Popa Chubby and the Zombies as well as French bands.

The weather was perfect, we found shaded spots to spread our blankets (we were a bit more organised this year) and we met friends and had a great time together, listening to music and dancing.


We can't wait to see what next year's programme will be !!!  

Written on Monday, 1 July 2019 - 09:01 | 928 views
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We went on Pandora !!!   [ 
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Avatar

 We travelled to Pandora and spent a few hours on the planet. Well, it looked like it and the inhabitants were all blue and able to jump very high. There even was an ikran, the biggest of all : Toruk.

We must thank the Cirque du Soleil for this great show based on James Cameron's film Avatar. To be honest, my wife and I went at least 5 times to the movies to watch it when it was released. We really like the world with its characters, animals, language and way of life. And we are impatient to watch the sequels which should start coming in 2021.  

Written on Sunday, 14 April 2019 - 08:56 | 938 views
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The Venice of the North   [ 
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Bruges

 We spent 3 days in Bruges, nicknamed the Venice of the North and we loved it. This adorable medieval town is just a two and a half hour drive from our home and we left on a Sunday morning encountering no traffic and reaching our hotel just before lunch. The hotel was located in the historical city centre and once we parked the car we did everything on foot. And this is how Bruges must be appreciated as all the little streets and specific houses are best discovered walking.
As the sun was shining we ate quickly and went on a cruise touring the famous canals of the city. The 30-minute boat-trip was really nice and there were so many houses with a beautiful waterfront (we took a few pictures), we started talking about buying one but changed our mind after seeing the prices on the market !!!
Then we just roamed around, visiting famous buildings such as the town hall and market place, the local museum and churches, the old medieval hospital and the Historium where a virtual reconstitution of the Bruges' history was available. We also went to the Diamond museum where we attended a very interesting presentation of the art of diamond cutting.
Bruges is a very welcoming city with warm people and good food. We went shopping and came back with chocolates (of course) and a dragon egg (yes they do exist !!!). AND we found a gramophone sold on a flea market, a real one, working perfectly well. It looks awesome in our living room !!! 

Written on Thursday, 11 April 2019 - 12:44 | 1487 views
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Prague in Winter   [ 
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Prague

 Instead of going skiing we decided to visit Prague. Everyone we knew who had already been there had told us how beautiful the city is. So we booked a huge apartment in the city centre, right in the middle of the Jewish neighbourhood and we flew there with the whole family.

Prague is definitely one of the most breathtaking cities we’ve visited. One can just walk around and enjoy the delicate and ornamented facades, each being unique. There are colours everywhere. As the city is very clean it is safe to roam around with your eyes scanning the roofs as scattered hanging elements and statues can be glimpsed (Take a look at our gallery).

All our visits were interesting and sometimes enchanting. We enjoyed the must-see sites such as the Prague castle, the Klementina library, the clock tower and so on. But we also discovered quieter places such as the Kafka museum or the Mucha museum.

There are many things to do in Prague at night. First it is imperative to walk around the city again because all the buildings are illuminated and it is absolutely gorgeous. As we had booked a dinner-cruise on the river Vlatva, we spent a whole evening enjoying a very nice meal while listening to a jazz band and watching Prague by night cruising upstream and downstream. Light seems to be important in Prague. There, we watched a light-show with dancers playing with lights and colours. As no words were spoken, only music, it was not a problem to attend.

And there is the goulash, and the cakes, and the beer ... and all those traditional restaurants and breweries in which you are nicely ... or rudely welcomed. This is the flip side of our enchanting trip. Prague citizens can be terribly impolite while others are very very nice. There is no fair balance. But we were warned and we don’t regret our trip !!! 

Written on Sunday, 24 March 2019 - 16:22 | 1647 views
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Luxembourg Steampunk Convention   [ 
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Anno 1900

 This time we decided for a genuine Steampunk Convention where we would meet (and compete ?) with other fans. On Friday September 27th we headed for Luxembourg in order to spend the following day strolling at the Minett Park Fond-de-Gras where the Anno 1900 Steampunk Convention is held (https://anno1900.lu/). It was an industrial site where iron was extracted. It closed in 1964 and finally preserved. We parked the car at Petange and took a 1900 train there. On site, we enjoyed street entertainment, a victorian market, exhibitions of Steampunk creations, discussion with fans like us... We even hopped on a real steam train running on coal and visited the iron mine. Concerts were also organised and we really had a great time.

Needless to say that we were all made up, with costumes having evolved since the Japan Exhibition (take a look at the pictures here). And considering the fact that it was a bit chillier than last July, we were quite happy to have added some layers. But my wife has decided that summer costumes had to be worn during spring and summer whereas winter costumes had to be planned for autumn and winter. So she is working on new projects hopefully ready for the next Anno Convention or the Haworth Convention in Yorkshire (Britain).  

Written on Monday, 4 February 2019 - 18:38 | 1858 views
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Beautiful Spain   [ 
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Spain

 Our holidays were not just about diving. We also enjoyed the Mediterranean climate and the Spanish way of life. We rented a huge apartment (with a private pool) on the Spanish side of the border in a charming little town called Portbou. The road which leads there is absolutely spectacular as it meanders along the mountain with a gorgeous view of the sea (Check our online album).
It took us barely 5 minutes to go down to the beach, enjoy lunch or diner on the harbour. But it took us a little longer to reach our other destinations such as the very cute seaside town of Cadaqués, famous because this is where Salvador Dali lived. We couldn't miss the museum dedicated to his special and quite inspired art a little bit further in Figueres.
Girona was a huge surprise. The town is a maze of little streets still marked by their medieval past. The Jewish neighbourhood is particularly well preserved and one must definitely enjoy a cold drink looking up at the cathedral which (as the town) was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones.
We just spent one day in Barcelona on a very hot and sunny day, just walking around and taking a look at some of Gaudi's most famous architectural achievements. We promised ourselves to come back one day and take more time. It's a plan !!! 

Written on Saturday, 28 July 2018 - 12:05 | 1490 views
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