Got back late yesterday from the the 4th NGN workshop in St Petersburg.
Again, the time zone difference – this time two hours – played tricks on me. The last two days, the weather was magnificent, the white nights likewise and we got to see the quite a bit of the city. Built by Alexander the Great, who, as we learned from from our host, had his own son executed, but never the less remains an adored figure in Russian history and self perception, it looks as European as any western metropole, except from the orthodox churches, and is beautiful.
We stayed at a hotel near the Nevski Prospekt. The meetings took place at the physics institute a fair distance from the center of town. We went there by metro (Europe’s deepest) and worn-down busses.
The discussions were technical and constructive, focusing on plans for the 0.6 release, especially the need for a solid and functional file catalogue.
On the last day our host, Grigori Feofilov took us on a bus tour, himself acting as a very capable and pleasant guide. He took us to some of his favourite places and seemed to have an endless list of stories about the places on stock. Among other places we went to the old university
where a string of great scientists have carried out their work; among them Mendelejev, who, apart from inventing the Periodic System, according to our guide, wrote his doctoral thesis on the subject of vodka, proving that the ratio 40%/60% of alcohol and water is perfect, allowing each molecule of alcohol to be surrounded by water molecules.