Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cycle 4 Savings!

When the following e-mail came in, I didn't have to think very long about my answer: 'Who wants to help ING Direct US in September by encouraging people to save their money, by performing random saving acts while we´re biking down to Washington DC in three days in orange jersey´s?' Being Dutch, born on a bicycle, they didn't have to ask me twice!

After a few training rides in Delaware in the previous weeks, we started this ride last Wednesday. 40 associates from different locations came together to leave on ING Direct-labeled bicycles. After a great kick-off event with a protein-rich breakfast in Wilmington, the ride to Perryville, MD started. 42 miles with many hills later we arrived in this small town, where we encouraged locals to save their money by picking up their restaurant bill (so that they could put that money in an Orange Savings Account)!

The next morning was early, but that was necessary since we had to bike 57 miles (of which many miles uphill) to Baltimore. It was a long ride, but thanks to a truck full of energy bars and sport drinks (it's still America) we made it. In downtown Baltimore, we encouraged local commuters that used their bicycle by giving them money for their Orange Savings Account. Save your money, ride a bike to work!

On Friday, we had to finish by biking another 50 miles to DC, but thankfully not as hilly as the first two days. However, we got lost in the industrial area of Baltimore (even though two following cars had GPS) which made us race to a meeting point, 10 miles before DC. At this location, the COO of ING Direct US and the mayor of Washington joined us to finish this event! After arriving at City Hall, a press conference was given and the bikes were donated to the city's school system.

We finished this event with a nice dinner and some beers in DC, and a few hours of sleep later we left with the bus back to Wilmington. It was great to be a part of this event!

Here are the pictures:

This guy with the orange cap is DC's mayor!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The magnificent view...

During my last visit in New York I finally got a chance to 'climb' the Empire State Building. And it's definitely worth a visit!! At night, the highest point in this huge city gives you breathtaking views on all corners; here are some pictures (click on them for a larger size):

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

East Coast road trip

Last week my brother visited me from the Netherlands. We made a road trip on the East Coast: after 2 days of Philly, we visited Atlantic City (hanging on the beach & in casino's), spent 3 days in NYC (still amazing) and went to Cape Cod, Boston and Cambridge.

Cape Cod is a special area. Its shape on the map led to the nickname bicep of America. It is a lot different compared to other parts of the US: houses are colorful, there are not as many fast food places but there are a lot of fish restaurants, ice-cream shops, and lighthouses. We did a whale watching tour in Hyannis: a tour of four hours on the Atlantic. After about an hour, we found a group of whales: huge!! The baby whales are really nice, they stay on the water surface and are curious about the boat, so they keep playing around it. On the way back we ran into a large group of dolphins that kept swimming in the waves of the boat!

The next day, we travelled along to Boston. This city has a lot of old area's and has the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile walk through the city which leads to many historic sights. It ends at the Bunker Hill monument, where you can walk up the stairs (296 steps) to get a nice view over the city!

On Sunday we went to Harvard University in Cambridge. It was nice to see this campus, after reading the Harvard Business Review many times while I was in college. The student live looked pretty nice, with many terrasses and squares which is (unfortunately) unique for cities in the US...

Here is a video of the Whale Watching tour & pics of the trip!