FOSDEM - a geek trip to Brussels. Going abroad to experience different cultures. Or at least, a chance to eat chips, suffer rain, and watch American TV in a different country.Beforehand
Conferences that spring up around the FOSDEM weekend are nothing new. What was new for me, this year, is that I was attending one - GitMerge. So my trip started on the Wednesday evening... on a train to London that was dangerously close to making me late. I had given myself 90 minutes of slack, which was reduced to 20 minutes by the time I was in the Eurostar waiting hall. So, I made an offering to the gods of commerce for the work of the gods of English travel (i.e. I bought a beer) and waited.
The journey was spent worrying about my (rapidly depleting) phone battery, and the fact that I couldn't find my charging cable. Once I got through to Bxl I had a new worry as my phone refused to talk data with the networks. Again. At least when at the hotel I could hook into the WiFi with the laptop and send a request back home for a friend to bring a replacement cable.
Thursday evening was spent catching up with one old friend, attending the GitMerge after party, and meeting up with another old friend. Yes - three parties in one night! On the other hand Friday night was a sedate affair avoiding the Delirium Cafe! Yes, it's the official venue, but it's just too busy to get served a decent beer.Saturday
Originally I had thought about attending the CopyLeft conference but, with so few spoons left after the two conferences I decided against it. Instead, I started the day with a visit to the Van Gogh exhibition. It was held in Bourse, so a double "first time" win for me. It comprised of precisely zero of his works, but lots of projections (which were impressive), a colouring room (for the kids), and a VR experience (costs extra, and felt like a an unfinished uni project!)
But culture is thirsty work, so I skulked into a cafe for beer and meatballs. Both good, especially the Trappist beer sauce. I would definitely go back, although the idea of "traditional Belgian meatballs" seems at odds with the Swedish variety of meatballs, and the traditional-ness of frites. Another marketing fad? Or a Belgian cuisine I've overlooked for the last 20 years?
I concluded the day with a slow stroll around a few cafes, collecting WiFi passwords on both my phone and laptop. It was pleasing to know that all the ones I'll used last year had not changed.
There really is nothing else to report. A quiet trip back on Eurostar (laden with 30+ bottles of beer.) A quiet trip back home (being tempted to start on said bottles of beer.) And a quiet (albeit slow) walk back from the station.
And on arriving home, I started on the 30+ bottles of beer.