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This my personal site where I note down my thoughts. Enjoy!

Burning Chrome

by William Gibson

A collection of short stories by William Gibson. Some based around the Neuromancer world, others unrelated. I found a few quite abstract and unclear, making it hard to understand the story. Others were great.

Johnny Mnemonic

A great read - they made a film of this one, starring Keanu Reeves. It's about a person who can securely store other's private data in his brain so that only they can access it. This one is based in the same universe as the Neuromancer triology.

The Gernsback Continuum

An odd one. Somewhat tricky to follow.

Fragments of a Hologram rose

A very short story, again rather abstract.

The Belonging Kid

About aliens mingling amongst humans on earth. An interesting read.

Hinterlands

A really interesting story about a sort of tunnel to another galaxy or universe. One of my favourites in this collection.

Red Star, Winter Orbit

Another fascinating story about a Russian space station inhabited by civilians called Kosmograd. One of them, the first person to walk on Mars, has been in space for 20 years and can't return. Then Russia decides to pull the plug.

New Rose Hotel

Back in the Neuromancer cyberpunk world, dealing with gloabl corporations figthing for scientists at the very "edge" of research into bio technology. Two spies help these scientists in dealing with these corporations. It deals with the exact same topic of the Neuromancer trilogoy and was released at the same time. It seems like he was testing the water with this one.

The Winter Market

This story deals with making recordings of people's thoughts and then selling them as entertainment.

Dogfight

About a loner with a criminal past wanting to make his next million by beating the top dog at a computer game that is played through being jacked into a headset type thing.

Burning Chrome

The story that started it all, where the term "cyperspace" was first coined. It only uses the term once, in the second sentence of the first paragraph. It does so almost in passing and it is otherwise unremarkable in the context of the story. But there it is: "cyberspace".

The story itself is an interesting one, setting the scene for Neuromancer and it's two follow up stories. It deals with two guys essentially doing a bank heist. One to impress a girl, the other to get the money. The clue is that term coined by William Gibson. The heist happens in cyberspace!

Started 13/02/2024. Finished 19/02/2024.

Madrid

After a nice few days in Barcelona, we took a high speed iryo train to Madrid. Travelling at up to 300km/h we covered the over 600km journey in about two hours and 45 minutes, including a brief stop in Zaragoza.

We arrived at the central station, Puerta de Atocha, around 15:30. We then took a Cercanias local train, which was included in our ticket from Barcelona, to get to the airport terminal T4 and then took the 827 bus to Barajas. We walked the remaining five minutes to our hotel, Hotel Clement, arriving around 18:00.

Having checked in, we went out to get some food, settling on a Nepalese place, as everything else was booked out due to it being valentines day. The food was good.

The next day we headed into town with a friend who gave us a good walking tour around Madrid. We started off at Place d'Espanya with a statue of Cervantes in the middle and surrounded by rather grandiose and imposing buildings.

Next we headed up the Gran Via to Plaza del Callao and on to Puerta del Sol. This is the starting point in Madrid for all distances to other towns, kilometre zero.


We carried on to Plaza Mayor. The name is similar to Brussels' Grande Place, but the looks are quite different.


We then headed onto Mercado de San Miguel...

...before reaching the Royal Palace.

These are statues of the previous spanish kings.

It was time for a late lunch, before continuing in the direction of the Prado and a quick look at Place de Colon.

Finally we reached the Prado, which has free entry after 6pm. You need more than the two hours this affords you to cover the whole museum. But I looked at some of the Cervantes paintings, as well as the famous Dos de Mayo and Tres de Mayo paintings. I also spotted the painting of a lady squirting breast milk into a priest's mouth, one which I had noticed over 20 years ago on my last visit to Madrid. But did not spot the painting by Bosch that I noted at the time. Maybe it was on loan to somewhere else. Or maybe it was not actually by Bosch.

The following day I was ill so I didn't do a lot, whilst the other went out. The next morning we flew back to Luxembourg. Not without a minor panic though. For whatever reason my younger daughter's wallet, including ID card, was with my older daughter. Only problem was that we were flying from different terminals at opposite ends of the airport! We realised this at check-in. Thankfully a) the airport has an efficient transfer bus between the two terminals every five minutes and b) my older daughter's flight was an hour later. On the other hand she had already gone through security. Still she found her way out of the Terminal, to the transfer bus, brought us the wallet and saved the day. No one missed their flight! πŸ™‚

One interesting thing in Spain seem to be that you are charged extra (a three Euro supplement per person) to take the metro to the airport. It means for a family of four this 12 Euros on top of the actual metro ticket. So you are easily looking at 20 Euro. An Uber is not much more to some locations from the airport. This makes no sense, I thought policy was to encourage taking public transport. This seems to discourage it.

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Barcelona

Having enjoyed our last visit to Barcelona a couple of years ago, we decided to visit again.

We arrived around 3pm at our appartment, a few blocks north of the Sagrada Familia near the restored Sant Pau hospital. The appartment was nice, and we even had a view, just, of the Sagrada Familia from our Balcony.

Having checked in, we walked around town for a few hours, before having dinner and returning to the appartment. They haven't yet completed the Sagrada Familia, but I like to think they progressed since our last visit, given all the scaffolding around parts of the church.

The next day we strolled around town a little more. We visited the Joan Miro park...

...followed by the Barcelona Arena shopping centre which has a viewing platform all the way around its roof. From there we got a good view of the Place d'Espanya and the National Palace on the Montjiuc hill.

On the third day we visited the wonderfully restored hospital at Sant Pau, which is now a museum. They don't build hospitals like that anymore!


We finished the day watching a piano concert by Khatia Buniatishvili at the Palau de la Musica

On our final full day we intended to visit Tibidabo castle, so headed for the funicular. Unforuntately it was out of order, so we spent the rest of the day ambling around the area, having a lovely lunch at La Tegliatlla restaurant. Then we enjoyed some lovely views of the city from Park del Turo del Putxet a bit further along.


The next day we were off to Madrid on a high speed train.

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