It's been a few days since I've had a chance to update this. Skipping from city to city on the press tour has been a little more hectic than I originally thought. In the meantime I've got lots of good, important information for this blog!
First, something cool I saw at the hotel in Milan was an industrial strength Nespresso Machine. I'm a bit of a coffee nut and had been exclusively drinking espresso from Nespresso (my favorite strength being #8, ROMA). Anyway, the thing they had in the hotel was different from the usual Nespresso machines in that the pods were soft, saucer-like vacuum sealed packs rather than harder plastic pods. My interest was certainly piqued and I had a cup - it was pretty good. Lately I've been completely addicted to the delightful mixtures from Transcend Coffee and look forward to getting home and having a cup, delicious!
While on the road we went from Milan to London and I ended up back in the hotel where I stayed on the weekend; it wasn't quite like coming home, but it did feel familiar. Me and my pal, Bags, ended up having dinner at the hotel restaurant and then had a few drinks. He was quite enamoured by the Tiger Beer while I was having some type of Peruvian malty mixture (I didn't quite catch the name; I suppose I could research it but I'm too lazy).
Of course when we were in London there was a Tube strike so that managed to create havok and gridlock - two essential ingredients to any press tour! I also forgot to mention the highlight of the return to London via Heathrow where Bags was trying to find his lost luggage and we saw hundreds of pieces of lost luggage strewn about the terminal. I got a video of the mayhem but stopped when I was accosted by one of the people working there. I'd love to post it, but I'm going through the airport again tomorrow and I fear the baggage handlers will beat me silly with discarded carry-ons if I was to reveal their treasure trove. Suffice to say Bags didn't find his luggage, but he did manage to buy some "pants" (English for gonch); he eventually also bought a Burton bag which was quite nice! The London event was very good (great turnout and excellent set-up) and it took place in a venue called the Hospital; it brought a tear to my eye.
After London we went to Hamburg which I've heard is quite a beautiful city and I must say I agree. There's a lake right in the middle of the city! At least I think it was a lake (that's how the lady at the hotel described it). As usual we didn't get very long to stay there and enjoy the scenery and after some vigorous demoing in a great venue to a number of interested journalists we were off to Madrid. We did have an interesting discussion about schnitzel while leaving Hamburg (or maybe it was while arriving, I can't quite remember). The gist was that schnitzel could potentially be a verb, and therefore objects could get schnitzeled. (This was in-fact a recycled gag from last year's World Cup where my brother and I had a lengthy discussion on the subject). Suffice to say Bags picked up right where my brother and I left off and we postulated that perhaps his luggage had been schnitzeled (i.e. breaded and fried). When it is ultimately returned not only will his schnitzeled luggage contain all of his missing items, but it will also be delicious!
We had an entertaining cab driver in Madrid that, while speeding along and playing loud House music, proceeded to give us a tour of the city in Spanish (which we couldn't really understand). He also ripped us of on the fare; quickly shutting off his meter and jacking up the price to about double what was reasonable (this was improved from his original position of triple). We also suspect he was drunk.
The event in Madrid was excellent; the team there did an amazing job of picking a good venue, decorating it with a ton of Mass Effect stuff and hosting most of the media in Spain! The interviews were fast and furious and we got the opportunity to show our wares to a lot of very interested people. In fact, the events throughout Europe thus far have all been top notch - great facilities, technically solid setups and tons of media that are very enthused about the game.
The return from Madrid to London (yet again) was uneventful and the ususal; the flight was slightly delayed but at least this time I didn't have to sit in customs/immigration for an hour. Any time saved in customs was made up by a significant delay in our luggage actually making it to the belt in the arrivals terminal; I thought back to the pilot's comment leaving Madrid noting that they didn't have enough aluminium containers to contain the luggage and they had to borrow some from another airline. I immediately considered the possibility that they didn't have enough luggage containers so my suitcase was left behind and now Bags would be laughing at me as I'd be buying my clothes at Primark as well! I shouldn't joke as the clothes Bags bought were actually pretty sharp, particularly the slacks (notice I didn't say 'pants' as we normally would in Canada - I have no idea what gonch he bought). Anyway, that's about all the good stuff I've come up based on the trip.
I've leaving you with something that isn't quite as nutty as it is interesting - a cover of Such Great Heights by Ben Folds featuring some percussionists on some very primitive instruments.