Spanish, B2!

Actually, Alejandro’s mother does know some english.

Two and a half years ago, when I finally visited my friend Alejandro in Peru, I decided to travel around in the area and learn some spanish for that purpose. For three months I would study at least an hour a day and by the time I made it to Latin-America, my spanish skills were such that I could survive in Bolivia where almost nobody speaks any english. But I was far from being able to hold a conversation. In Peru, when Alejandro was working, his (non-english speaking) mother was showing me around in Lima and having long conversations with me. Then, realizing that I did not understand almost anything, she tried once again, more slowly this time. This did help a bit.:) Continue reading

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Longest Trail In Estonia, part 2

Continued from this post.

Day 3: Mukri (196 km) to (almost) Laiksaare (339 km)

I opened my eyes 7 AM. It was still raining cats and dogs. We had planned for an early start, but nothing could persuade me to step out of the tent. So I laid there another 45 minutes but then it was time to face the reality. I woke Tim and started putting my stuff together. The rain had eased up a bit and by the time we were finishing the breakfast, it had stopped completely. Everything was still wet, of course, including the tent that I packed and put into my bag. But at least it was not raining.

We started again at 9 AM. The progress was slower than a day before, since the roads were softer and often covered with water. The trails were mostly gravel with some forest trails in between. Two hours into the race I suddenly saw a big wild boar running/jumping across the road with a pace that would leave Usain Bolt in awe. Continue reading

GDC and GamesCom @Cologne

facebook event (not the party though)

On Sunday I flew to Cologne to represent GameFounders and participate in two conferences: GDC (Games Developer Conference) Europe and GamesCom. GDC is the largest annual gathering of professional video game developers, focusing on learning, inspiration, and networking. Gamescom is the World’s largest games event with more than 275 000 visitors already in its third year (2009). GDC runs from Monday to Wednesday and GamesCom from Wednesday to Friday. Both events are held in Cologne Messe.

On Monday I had an early start in GDC. Continue reading

Mentoring @ Startup Highway

Office venue in Startup Highway

This week I was mentoring Startup Highway teams in Vilnius. Startup Highway was the first startup accelerator in the Baltic States and it is run by charismatic guy named Rokas Tamošiunas and his team. I know Rokas through Toivo Annus (one of the co-founders of Skype), who is my customer in Advisio and Rokas’s investor in Startup Highway. Nevertheless, this was the first time I got to meet him. Rokas is a true fan of startups and their mentality and the leader of the local startup community in Vilnius. They guy beams energy and as far as I’ve seen, is working crazy hours to make startup community in Lithuania blossom. Startup Highway is in the middle of their second batch already with 6 teams who will graduate in a month.

Rokas had been inviting me to mentor for a while already, but I had been just way too busy with preparation of the first round of GameFounders. Now I took the two days and flew to Vilnius to meet the teams and help them with my knowledge and expertise. Continue reading

Longest Trail In Estonia, part 1

Tim and me, ready to go

A month ago, they opened the longest hike trail in Estonia: 370 km from Oandu (NE of Estonia) to Ikla (SW, at the border of Latvia). When I first learned about it, I knew that I wanted to do that. The other day when I met my childhood friend Tim, who has been travelling the world for years, but is visiting Estonia for two months, we devised a plan to do that trail. Since my schedule is pretty tense right now, all I could do was take 2 days off (+weekend) and therefore we decided to do the trail on bike.

Start Thursday, 2nd of August.

Day 1: Oandu to Nikerjärve (74 km).

6:30AM wake-up call, quick shower, breakfast, packing (I was working until 1:30AM the previous night thus did not have time to pack) and we arrived Oandu some 4 hours later. From the information point we got maps and route description and off we went. The “official” starting time 10:48 AM. Continue reading