Showing posts with label Travelling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travelling. Show all posts

July 3, 2012

Chess city break in Flanders!

If you would like to travel, but feel unequal to learning at least one international language for the purpose, then play chess;) The ideal substitute for English, Spanish etc. at last has been found!
For our family, last weekend was a perfect opportunity to employ the reliable speech of chess without danger of going astray, in...Oostende! 
Probably it would have taken us some time to reach this Flemish city if it wouldn't have been the universal language of chess. Even if Erwin was busy for a couple of hours with his simul, the reason for our city break, it doesn't mean we didn't enjoy every single bit of it! And you can see for yourself the upside of playing chess further on:

December 12, 2011

Chess - the game of pharaohs?

I cannot stand winter. I hate to be cold, to wrap myself up in dozens of clothes, shivering and muttering the bad weather, cursing the multiple delays in public transportation and eventually getting exhausted of drinking gallons of tea to warm up. Only the holidays save the season:) I still have to be patient for that; meanwhile, I decided to 'trick' winter once again, by wandering off to…EGYPT!

August 28, 2011

Day trip to Volendam and Hoorn

Our club - En Passant
Make sure that next time you visit Holland, you won't miss two beautiful cities in the North of the country: Volendam and Hoorn! I had the chance to see them both yesterday, in a day trip with the members of my new Dutch chess club: En Passant. Our sponsor, Jan Hopman, gave us the opportunity to know each other better and to have a wonderful boat trip from Volendam to Hoorn. I knew that Holland is a very beautiful country, but not that beautiful! See for yourself...

June 7, 2011

Romanian Rapid Cup

Quite often we travel day and night, for hours and hours, to reach a beautiful place, to see with our own eyes a new country, to meet new people...the more difficult it gets, the higher the pleasure we experience:) Might sound a bit strange, but psychologically speaking, it's completely normal. What we achieve easily, doesn't bring us an incredible amount of joy; instead, if we have to fight, to sweat, to spend a lot of money, than we might come somewhere, our pride will be satisfied that no matter how big the barriers were, we managed!

I have been travelling thanks to chess since I was 6, but somehow, I never really took time to explore my own country. I have always said and knew that Romania is an incredibly beautiful place, after all, it's my home! Subcounsciously though, my brain was undermining the idea of going for a holiday in Romania, I can travel around here basically at any time, so why should I do it now?!
Luckily, last weekend I played, together with my husband, the Romanian rapid team cup, which took place in Brasov.

May 30, 2011

Cuca Chess Tournament

Africa...I've always dreamed to put my foot on African red soil, to discover unknown places, to understand the people's life and their history, to eat crocodiles (this idea was given by Sergey Tiviakov:) or just to stare around, absorbing as much as possible.

Many chess players don't realize what a great opportunity they have thanks to the activity we practice. Without chess, probably it wouldn't have even crossed my mind to visit Angola!

April 24, 2011

Chess Easter

Because it's Easter time...let's shift a bit from eggs, bunnies, chocolate, cakes & co, to a place that calls itself the "navel of the world":

April 22, 2011

Attractions in and around Bangkok

Welcome to Bangkok! If New York City is known as "the city that never sleeps" in the United States, well in South East Asia it's twin sister is Bangkok, also known as KrungThep to the locals, which means "City of Angels". KrungThep is actually an abbreviated version of its full name, which has the world's longest name, according to Guiness Book of Records. 

April 21, 2011


If yesterday I was telling you about the Thailand Open and how wonderful it was, today I will continue by presenting you the city which hosted the tournament: PATTAYA.

January 25, 2011

Tata Steel Chess - Free Day!


Yesterday was a quiet day in Wijk aan Zee: free day! For those who wanted to take their mind off chess, a trip to Haarlem was organized.
17 people were present at 10 o'clock, when our journey started...
The city is located on the river Spaarne, about 20 km west of Amsterdam and near the coastal dunes. It has been the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears the nickname 'Bloemenstad' (flower city), for this reason.
The historical city centre of Haarlem is a treasure trove full of exceptional monuments. In our tour we passed by magnificent monumental architecture, we visited surprising "hidden green oases" - known as the "almshouses", enjoyed a lot the beer tasting of the famous local beer, called "Jopen", brewed in a former church, and, after so many efforts, ended our day with a delicious dinner in the restaurant of Hotel Carlton. 
Here are the pictures:

December 21, 2010

Stress Travel

If you travel for a chess tournament, you know it's often not quite the adventure that some may think. The surprises, inconveniences, and delays can be "interesting" when you're on vacation. But with business travel, you need to focus on being productive – so typical travel discomforts can often seem worse, because you're also dealing with business pressures.

If you travel frequently, you may have a high tolerance for the stresses of constantly moving around. But for many of us, the demands of traveling for chess competitions cause anxiety, frustration, exhaustion, and often low level physical illness. If your flight is delayed, if you have a flat tire while driving, if you're so tired that you can't think – then your hopes of playing successfully can disappear.
The good news is that there are several ways to ensure that your travel will go as smoothly as possible, allowing you to concentrate on your chess goals:)

Stay calm and figure out plan B:

Some situations are beyond our control and there is nothing anybody can do about it. This comes mostly into play when we travel by plane or train. We can't do anything about delays or cancellations. It is completely out of our hands. But what we can do, is assume from the very beginning of the trip that this can or will happen and recognize that we can't change it.

With some of the following little tips in mind, your travel should be smooth. And remember, you just have to accept the things you have no control over and make the BEST out of the situation. There is always a way to get where you want to go and be stress free.

1. Don't Expect Perfection: In a perfect world, there would always be shiny weather, kind and polite waiters, exceptional health, and blissfully tranquil accommodations. Much as we might desire these elements to be in place, the reality is that there will always be freak rainstorms, grumpy servers, gastrointestinal disorders, and rooms that are right next door to a screaming couple with screaming kids. Unfortunately, the people we tend to blame for these travel malfunctions are those with whom we are traveling, thus making a bad situation even worse. If you start out with the assumption that Weird Stuff Will Happen, it won't be as alarming a surprise to you when it inevitably does. Leave the crumbs alone and focus on the big cake - roumanian saying:)
In other words: concentrate on your games, the rest is not as important as your tournament.
I don't know about you, but lately I always have this "luck", to experience a lot of inconveniences. Let me tell you a story:

Once I had to travel with my previous chess coach and two other chess players for a tournament in Hungary. We took our train from Roumania and around midnight we were supposed to reach our destination...we were comfortably sitting in the far so good, but then suddenly we see the name Balaton and something, which we thought it was our destination! 
We quickly grabbed out luggage and in the last second we managed to get out of the train. What a relief! Yes, we did it! But than...we realized that we are in the middle of nowhere. We slowly go towards the train station (which was closed during the night) and look on a map. Than we check our official papers, look again on the map panick! This is not our destination!
If we would have done our homeworks...we would have known that there are at least 10 destinations with the name Balaton around their famous Balaton Lake.
What should we do now? We start checking for the next train...great! It was supposed to come next day in the morning:)) And this is not all: it showed that it doesn't stop in our train station but in another one, 3 km away from there.
Ok, we have to reach that train station. But how to do that??? Not even one person on the streets, no restaurants, no lights, nothing!! (You should know that I was only 12 and mobile phones, internet were not as popular as nowdays:) We felt like we were in the twilight zone:)
Than we thought: 3's not that much and if the train stops there, it means it should be a bigger station, civilization, hotels etc. It was damn cold that night and the idea of dragging our suitcases for 3 km didn't seem to be that awful.
So we start moving, following the railway of course:))
Finally, completely exhausted, here we are: the famous station from where we could take the morning train. Do you think it was different from the previous one? Well my are wrong:) All the same: no people, no hotels, no lights...only darkness, it was cold, we were tired, hungry and depressed.
Waiting in Budapest's train station,
 with a different occasion:)
We couldn't enter the train station, to wait on a chair, because, as expected: it was closed during nighttime. We explore a bit the surroundings...nothing at all! It's almost 2 AM...5 hours to go until our train arrives...the hours are going so slow: minutes, seconds, nanoseconds! Time takes a different dimension when you're waiting:)

I remember I started running to get warmer, but after a while, I got tired and had to stop:) Another method we used: we drank from our coach's alcoholic drink, 40% alcohol - a tipical roumanian a 12 year old, you can imagine how much I enjoyed it, but it helped, for a while. 
And than again we were freezing...until I discovered an old phone cabin, were me and the other 2 players (coach sacrificed himself, not enough room for 4 people) found shelter. It was ok, for 20 minutes only, because the wind was so strong and the cabin was not fully closed: our legs were still exposed to the wind and also, how long can you be standing without taking a sit?!
We went out of the cabin, explored again the surroundings and took the decision to sit on a wooden porch of an old house that we discovered, sitting like penguins to get a little warmer. You can picture us sitting like that...when suddenly, one of my friends kicked me and told me: Alina, don't want to scare you but...take a look up! Of course I look and I see two heads and 4 eyes staring at us! There were 2 men, of course not speaking English, and no matter how much we tried to speak with our hands, they left:(
We decided to go back to our coach and luggage, who, meanwhile, discovered 3 abandoned chairs...and we were 4 people:) But ok, why to complain?! It's better than nothing, especially because we also found an abandoned toilet: yes! No wind in there! (No comment about the smell) So we took our chairs, went into the toilet and waited there until the morning when our train arrived.
And I took the first place there, with 8.5 out of 9 games:)

Conclusions: I will continue with the tips list

2. Even in the worst trip scenario, you can still play a great tournament!

3. Do Your Homework: The more comfortable you feel with your destination, the more relaxed you will be in maneuvering your way around it. Buy a travel guide, look at a map (or two:), and learn a couple of polite foreign phrases. Maintain a positive attitude that this will be an enriching experience and you will come away worlds wiser for it.

I came up with the following advice after years of experience, it really helps:)

4. Make your luggage with one day in advance! - in this way you won't be over-stressed, running from one place to another in the day prior your departure. You will still have time to think if you forgot something.

5. Keep an Open Mind: While it goes without saying that there's no place like home, it doesn't necessarily mean that home is always right. Whether you’re traveling across the country or around the world, you can work yourself into an unreasonable state of stress by trying to get everything and everyone to conform to your way of seeing or doing things. Relax! Home will always be right where you left it. In the meantime, enjoy the diversity the universe has to offer and be thankful for the time and resources to experience it firsthand.

Your turn: Do you have a traveling story from your chess tournaments that would make us feel as not being the only ones with badluck?!

December 14, 2010

Benidorm - Final Impressions

Back to my Dutch home...snow, cold, strong wind, completely different than Benidorm. And yet, both locations have their own particular beauty. Because I've just returned from Spain and the memories are fresh, I will try to show you why I enjoyed it, besides that I played a Closed Women Tournament:)

All the players!
The final standings are published on Chess-Results. 

As you might know, usually the chess players have no time to see something else, besides the playing hall. I got lucky, I had a free day at the beginning of the tournament and half a day at the end:) To be honest, I didn't expect Benidorm to be so beautiful and now I am looking forward to come back! 
Due to the unique skyline formed by its numerous tall hotels and apartment buildings it is sometimes referred to as the "Manhattan of Spain" or "Beniyork", which is unlike any other on the Costa Blanca (White Coast). Benidorm's initial growth in popularity can be attributed to the package holiday explosion, and continues year round, due to the night-life based around the central concentration of bars and clubs. The large number of free cabaret acts that start around 21 hours and continue into the early hours set Benidorm apart from other similar resorts. The city has a special micro-climate all year round thanks to the mountains which surround the town, no wonder it was so warm in December! (we had 25 degrees!) 
The following video gives you an insight of the Benidorm's atmosphere:

And a few more pictures:

As I said before, spanish people are open, friendly and ready to help you. Thanks to my friend (helloes from Holland!!), I had the chance to try for the first time a special coffee called: "cafe bonbon". Probably we all heard about their famous recipes: paella, gazpacho, horchata, but, as a coffee lover, I never tasted cafe bonbon...always great to experience something new:)

A delicious drink - strong coffee on top of condensed milk!
Although, I am not sure it's on everyone's taste.
It's very sweet but very efficient against a heavy head during your game:)
After a terrible loss against Nicolas Zapata Irene in round 3 (she made an WIM norm, congratulations!), I managed to come back in the tournament and shared the 2nd place. This is the trophy:

Our Hotel: Gran Bali in miniature and my artistic skills:)

Closing Ceremony

In round 4, against Cerrato Torrijos Maria.
And, for the chess lovers, my last game against Deimante Daulyte from Lithuania. An interesting Najdorf battle, which finally ended in a draw.

A tournament has finished...soon the next one will come:)

October 7, 2010

One of my hobbies: travelling, of course:)

Pictures from Prague

After the chess olympiad in Russia, Khanty-Mansiysk, i took a short break and visited Prague. Very beautiful city! Travelling is one of the nicest part of playing chess:)
You can see more pictures here!