Firenze and EP2012

Hi folks!

Long time no see! 🙂

Right now I’m in Florence, attending the EuroPython 2012 conference. We arrived yesterday (Sunday), and we walked through the marvelous city of Florence. It’s really beautiful! Only problem is that it’s also very hot, and crowded with tourists!

Sunday, 1 July 2012: Florence sightseeing

Flight was perfect, but when we stepped outside the plane, 37 Celsius degrees were quite a shock for us. We needed water! After fetching a pair of mineral water bottles, and before going to the hotel, we decided to walk through the streets of the city center. There are plenty of monuments, churches and the spectacular Duomo, with an amazing level of detail on its walls.

Firenze EP2012 - Tux and Duomo details

After a quite long walk, we arrived to the Grand Hotel Mediterraneo, where we had reserved our room, and where the conference is hold. Our room was not ready yet, so we had a drink and met some pythonists like us.

Firenze EP2012

After relaxing a bit and taking a refreshing shower (in my case), we went outside to face the burning sun again. It was probably a mistake, because 16:00 was way too soon to go outside, but I didn’t want to stay at the hotel. There was no one to be seen on the streets. We did quite a large detour staying in the shadow as much as we could, and finally reached the city center again. There life suddenly appeared from all sides. We ate some late lunch (or early dinner), and walked via a famous bridge called Ponte Vecchio to the other side of the city.

Firenze EP2012

From there we took some nice pictures of the city, and saw the preparations for the EUFA 2012 final. A lot of people were holding an Italian flag and shouting like real football fans. Good atmosphere! 🙂

Firenze EP2012 - Football concentration

Then we saw a small hill and went up. That WAS a good idea, because we could enjoy a fantastic sight of the city, and still hear the uproar of the Italian fans. We ended up in a terrace at the top of the hill (at Piazzale Michelangelo), enjoying a slight breeze and the sunset. Wonderful!

Firenze EP2012

There we found a wedding taking place, a tenderete selling Italian flags and one Spanish flag, people selling fake designer bags in front of a David replica, lots of tourists and a girl singing and playing guitar.

Firenze EP2012

I could even listen to the match using my Android FM radio. Listening to the Italian commentators and hearing the uproar downstairs was priceless. When I heard that Silva scored, the face of the barman changed. When Spain scored for the second time, we decided to go down, and watch the last 20 minutes on the big screen. When the score was 3-0, a girl shouted, “questo e una humillazione”. I felt a bit sad for her, because I would rather have enjoyed a party, but well, I was also happy for Spain. We left and had a final beer at another popular screening. There we discovered the final 4-0 score. Wow! I bet in Spain there was a big party. :O

Firenze EP2012 - Spain vs Italy

Despite the hot weather, it was a perfect day. We only had bad luck at the end of the day. We wanted to order a pizza at the corner, but the cook was too busy, with some Italian customers shouting like crazy, so we preferred to restrain ourselves (not being assertive).

Monday, starting the conference

Today (Monday), the conference started with several keynotes. First one from Guido, the creator of the Python language, who I never had seen before. The truth is that I did not understand much of what he said, and the same for the other speakers. Maybe because I’m too newbie, or maybe because I’m not a real developer. Anyway, the idea was to meet people and get into track as soon as possible.

Firenze EP2012 - Let's start!

The conference is very well organized. There is water everywhere, people very attentive, food is delicious (and there is plenty of it!). Drawbacks? Despite all efforts, the WiFi does not work as good as it could, especially when inside the hotel itself. That said, the guys with the red shirt (WiFi support) did a great job helping me out. 🙂

Firenze EP2012 - Coffee break

Yes! There are geeks everywhere!

One of the things that surprises me (well, not really), is that you can see people hanging around with their laptop all the time. I’m afraid that they even sleep with it!

“Donde fueres, haz como vieres.”

I must admit that today (Wednesday), I’ve done the same at the two last talks. I’ve been working on our Python project, playing around with the SaasInstance webservices. Yeah!

Time for beer!

After the talks, almost everyone went to the PyBeer event, to a pub located on the other side of the river. Nice opportunity to get to know each other.

Tuesday, infrastructure day

This has been the best talks day until now:

  • Openstack: an Open source cloud computing system which can be useful for our own SaaS service. Need to test with the demo-install from Fedora.
  • Juju: service orchestration using charms to control applications. Quite interesting. Maybe we can build a TOPdesk charm.
  • Deploying apps using haproxy, nginx, puppet… I love it! It’s almost the same we are doing, but using some more tools.

Firenze EP2012 - Openstack

After that, a good nice (and long) walk to the Basilica Di San Miniato A Monte and back to the city to enjoy dinner in a small (and quite cheap) restaurant.

Firenze EP2012 - San Miniato al Monte

If you are interested in our walk, I just uploaded the GPX track to Google maps.

Wednesday, or how to become one of them

Well, to tell the truth, no much happened. Just the usual. Talks. More talks. Lunch. Siesta.

Firenze EP2012 - Lightning talks

After that, I took my laptop and started “nerding”. That is, programming on our Python project. Even during the lightning talks. Some of them were hilarious, but some were a bit boring, so I just kept typing.

Then we enjoyed a complete meal at La Taverna, a restaurant I recommend that was just one street behind our hotel, and before going to bed, as a good geek, more typing (this type working on this post). 🙂

Thursday, aperitivo!

After some more talks and the usual delicious lunch, we have hit the streets again.

Today’s goal was to visit some museum and discover some new city neighborhoods. Robert wanted to visit the Uffizi Gallery, but because there was a large queue, we have visited the Museo Galileo instead. If you like astronomy and scientific instruments, is definitely your thing. Tux loved it. 😉

Firenze EP2012 - Museo Galileo

After that, we have found the Palazzo Vecchio, just to discover that Thursday (today), was the only day of the week they close at 14:00. But even if it’s closed, you can still see amazing works, like the statues at the entrance.

Firenze EP2012

Anyway, as neither of us likes hordes of tourists, we just quickly escaped to a nearby park to sit down, and relax. Peace. Then we continued, and discovered yet another park with a fountain that went on and off regularly (maybe controlled by an Arduino board).

Firenze EP2012

Then curiosity hit me, and we walked towards a bar at the border of the lake. There were preparing some kind of concert, which at the end resulted in a Jazz session. The place was perfect for us, as they were starting to serve “aperitivo”. For 6 euros you get a drink and as much food as you want. Of course, the food is very salty so you get thirsty and order more drinks, but it’s a good deal anyway. We even talked to a man that worked with UNIX (he found my UNIX t-shirt funny) and that was waiting for her daughter to celebrate her graduation.

Firenze EP2012

Imagine. Beer, food, damn good Jazz. what else do you want to finish a wonderful EuroPython week? 😀

Want more pictures? As usual, they are on Flickr (yeah, I know, my account expired…)

Tomorrow the talks will end, but we are already prepared to leave. Just after lunch. 😉

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