FOSDEM – Day 1

It’s actually day 2 right now, but the day has only just begun and I’m siitting in the Fedora/CentOS devroom where I’ll listen to some CentOS related talks. But for now, let me give you a quick update on day 0 and a short review of day 1.

On day 0, I arrived at the airport and headed to the train station on the -1 level. I quickly bought a ticket and asked for directions – but they weren’t able to help. This brought me to the only map of the public transportation networrk of Brussels available. Already standing there looking very puzzled were Spot and Sebastian. I had a quick look at the map too and after that we were now 3 guys looking puzzled and wondering how we’ll ever find the hotel.

Well, after some time we made our way. With lots of guesswork and a bit extra way. Anyway, let me tell you something about Brussels that hit me in the face when I first got here (I expected a somewhat more modern city like Berlin or London): 1) The trains are crap. 2) The train stations are terrible (except the Bruxelles-Luxembourg one and, I was told, the south station). 3) It’s impossible to get a ticket for the public transportation until after you used it – i.e. after you arrived in the center. 3) The tram network is fine, unless you don’t know what it looks like where you want to get out (no information anywhere).

On the upside, we have a great hotel – I’ve been told it’s the best in Brussels. But because of their weekend offer, we actually pay less than friends of us in ‘cheaper’ hotels. The metro is just fine and the busses or okay but there’s far too many of them to figure out which one you take best.

We’ve been in the ‘Drug Opera’ for dinner twice and it’s a good service, great price and a fair price. That’s how I like my dinners in foreign cities. I had ostrich there and it was perfectly cooked. The beers & such were pretty pricy, though.

Oh, by the way, I cancelled the planned sightseeing on day 0 because…well, let’s just say there’s not much worth a sight. Some churches are pretty beautiful and the Grand Place is nice, too. But aside from that (and some modern EU buildings), the city is mostly bad state.

Well, for day 1 I was mostly at the booth, sometimes in a talk and often wandering around a bit. I bought three t-shirts that I liked and I’ve been in need of some new shirts anyway. The one for FOSDEM 2009 cost EUR 25.- which is actually not the price for the shirt but the minimum donation to get a shirt for free. The two FSFE shirts cost EUR 18.- each.

In the evening we didn’t know how to get back to the hotel which resulted in a journey with tram, metro and by foot. It’s been taking a bit long but we’ve know what trams and metros here are like which sure is good to know for the next time. After we’ve dropped of our backpacks we went to the city with bus (not only because it’s been the only kind of public transportation we did not yet use).

We then had dinner and later some beers in different places. ixs turned up with a nice local lady at some point – well, local in terms of ‘living here for work for some time already’. I’ve had some chitchat with her and learned some things about Brussels, Belgium and the EU, for which she’s working. I also learned that the rooms in our hotel normaly cost EUR >500.- while we only paid EUR 79.- (or 89.- with breakfast). Looking at the room rates at the receipted this morning (when checking out) showed us that the normal price is indiccated with EUR 845.-(!)

Okay, Fabian Arrotin’s talk on CentOS has just begun – I’ll close it here.

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