This day was traveling day for me. The majority arrived on Sunday to have a full Monday for the HCL and Panagenda workshops as well as the IBM Champion meetup and the LetsConnect jam also here at the venue.
My trip was quite relaxing: just 2 small hops from DRS to FRA, from FRA to BRU. The train ride from the airport was quite a challenge though I prepared it. The ticket I bought was only for the train to Schuman (the official exit station but too far away from my hotel). For the last single station I’d have to take the Metro - for which I didn’t have a ticket. So I thought it would be a nice occasion to walk and see some of Brussel’s sights. Schuman station is in the middle of the European institutions. Europe is everywhere. You can smell, taste and hear it at every corner - very powerful. Foreign and unknown but at the same time it feels like being „home“. We are Europeans, regardless of the language or the look of the people. I like that!
It turned out that walking from Schuman through the park wasn’t a good idea: it’s quite heavy to pull a trolley with additional stuff over sandy pavements and a lot of stairs which need to be restored. I should have taken the road…
After arriving at the hotel I tried to find the other peeps - and found my friends from the Czech Republic (Jan, Martin, Ales). We met at a very nice brasserie called „La Terrasse“ near the hotel. I had a very tasty Cheeseburger and of course a good strong beer (not Belgian but Dutch to be honest -> La Trappe).
When my Czech friends went back to the hotel I wanted to join the other folks - the majority of them staying at the Sofitel also near the venue. There is a problem in Brussels with Sofitels: there are two of them. When I calculated the walking route to it I chose the wrong one - which was 3,6km away and took me 40 minutes to walk. After I arrived I noticed: no one was there as I was at the wrong one. A cab ride later I was able to join almost all of them: a bar room packed with current and former IBM champions and nerds I know for such a long time now.
It was great to see them again after those years - and there are still more to see tomorrow when the event officially starts.