It’s Friday and the conference is coming to an end. Here is the conference web site.
Got here sunday night, very late ~03.00 in the night. This was due to a delay of the connecting plane in Fiumicino.
After a very short night’s sleep I met up with all the other nerds and their laptops in the Athens Ledra Mariott. One of those hotels large enough to sustain around the clock life in a bubble of american lounge music of past decades, coffee breaks and cocktails before dinner. Now populated with >400 ex-physicists looking for ways to keep doing interesting stuff, computer scientists building the bright new future of the web and opportunists following the scent of Euros leaking from this high-profile EU project.
Athens is one hour ahead of Geneva. A fact I forgot, causing me to miss the bus for the welcome reception at the planetarium. The next evening, dinner was consumed in a dingy back alley of the Plaka, in a restaurant incorporating what tourist joints have to offer the traveller in Athens: overprized meat, pita bread, tomato salad, tzatziki , an unhealthy looking begging kid strumming a toy Bouzouki and singing until you pay him a few euros to stop. Well, never the less, an enjoyable Teutonic evening.
Escaping the next day from the laptop filled time bubble and diving into the largest village in Greece (~1 million inhabitants), I this time had coffee at a place of my own choice, before continuing to the Acropolis.
The weather was bright. Just like 15 years ago. Strolling the parc of the old Agora, passing the building, which I later learned is a reconstruction financed by Rockefeller in the fifties, took me to a wonderful spot full of coffee shops, where I stayed for lunch, before returning to the conference and the Gala dinner in the evening; on the sea side, some minister and the mayor of Athens (impressive woman!) attended this mixture of a voters’ rally and team-building exercise. The sunset was wonderful.
Thursday night, after drinks beneath the acropolis. dinner was eaten with a group of scandinavian e-security guys.
Next day was Friday, the last day of the conference. I packed my stuff and caught a train on the Peloponnesian Train Station. Two hours sitting on my suitcase, enjoying some spectacular views, conversing a student of microbiology on her way from Larisa to her home town Kiato home, where her mother was waiting with moussaka. She knew what CERN was!
Well, after another hour or so in a bus, asking around in the neighborhood and finally being found by the hotel owner on a bike, I got to Hotel Economou,
It certainly would not qualify for any Michelin stars, but I got a warm bed, breakfast and a kind treatment.
Nafplio is a gem of a small vacation town, cram full of nice cafes and restaurants and, I suspect, primarily visited by Greeks. The scent of blossoming orange trees already filled the air in the bus, but in some places in the city it was quite overwhelming.
Saturday I climbed the 999 steps to one of the 3 castles protecting the city.
After that I decided I’d had enought sightseeing and spent the rest of the day hanging around on the countless coffee shops and restaurants.