Jonas's travels: Genoa
I started this conference trip quite early, since my flight was leaving quite early and the plane tickets I had were not mine. A colleague was supposed to go, but he fell sick and I got to go instead. Changing the name on airplane tickets takes a lot of time, it turns out. Then I met up with another guy from Stockholm going to the same conference and we flew over the Alps. Then we tried to go by train from Milan, where the plane landed, to Genoa, where the conference was supposed to be. This was quite exciting, since we bought tickets in a hard to understand machine and had no idea if we were on a train heading in the right direction (and no one spoke English or Swedish).
My hotel was quite nice, though small. Bad things included breakfast, which consisted of coffee (which I don't drink) and cakes. The opening hours were also somewhat disappointing, they lock the door at midnight. Since I have been to previous LREC conferences, I knew this would never work, and I received a set of keys that made it possible to return to the hotel at more reasonable hours (like 03.00) too. I did get back to the hotel before midnight one evening out of four though. The location of the hotel was excellent, with the conference center and the train station in walking distance. I later heard that people living in other parts of Genoa had been warned by their hotel staff that one should never visit a certain part of town at night, since it was too dangerous. Even during the day it might be better to stay away. This is the part of town were my hotel lies. There was a quite creepy alley there, but I got home alive.
There was of course also a conference to attend. There were quite a lot of people there. I had my presentation on the first day, which is nice. Then you can feel free to relax the rest of the conference.
Conference reception party
The reception of LREC is always the same: a very nice place is invaded by computer geeks and linguist geeks, lots of free alcohol is handed out and there are a few small food like things to chew on between drinks. The free alcohol is only open for three hours though. This year we were in a huge house with painted walls and ceilings.
Genoa is a very nice town, with lots of old buildings. I was later told that if you look closely, you can see one of my colleagues in the first photo. The person sitting outside the museum in white trousers should, just like me, perhaps have been attending some boring presentations instead of sightseeing at this time...
There is dog shit almost everywhere in Genoa, so you have to be careful when walking. There are also signs saying that this is not a good thing. We also found a gang of about eight large rats raiding a garbage can when we were getting lost in the middle of the night. Rats are very quick, though, so it is hard to get good pictures of them. There are three in this picture, though they are hard to see.
For lunch on the last day, we went to a place were you can take your pick of different meat courses. I picked the "giant plate", which had a little something of almost all the varieties available. It was indeed a huge amount of meat. It is always interesting when the locals point at your food and laugh.
The conference dinner was nice, though somewhat less so than at the last LREC. As a "find new contacts in the field" kind of thing, it was a total failure for me, since I sat at a table with only people from Sweden. Nice company though. And lots of food, which made me regret having had the giant plate of meat for lunch.
Normal LREC activities
LREC consists mostly of meeting lots of people in the field. This usually leads to a huge lack of sleep and lots of visits to bars, clubs and restaurants. Here we are at a rock club with live music. The guests were very impressed when they found out we had a famous death metal guitar player in our company. I gave up on the events and went home by four, since I planned to get up around six to catch my plane home the next day. My guitar player travel companion stayed much longer, though.
Here we are over Sweden. The yellowish stuff between land and water is actually huge amounts of pollen that is lying around in the sea. We have too much forest in Sweden for my pollen allergic tastes.
Complaints should likely be sent to Jonas. If you would like to have a high resolution copy of one of these images (or some other you suspect I have), please feel free to let me know.