I've been in Genova, Italy this week for European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP).
The flight over was long and annoying; a woman overdosed on Ambien midway and we had to turn around and land in Bangor, Maine. This was not pleasant. But it looked like the woman was going to be OK when the paramedics wheeled her off the plane.
But we finally made it. Here's a picture of the Alps as we were getting close to landing in Milan.
I took a bus from Milan to Genova, which is on the coast, wedged between the ocean and the Ligurian Appenine mountains. In between the Alps and the Appenines is an agricultural valley that reminded me a lot of the Central Valley in California.
Genoa is a pretty large city, with a vast "Old Town." The conference was held at the Palazzo Ducale, which is on the Piazza de Ferrari.
The conference presentations were made in a magnificent room where lesser officials would hold court -- there was an even larger, more ornate room next door.
Ate a lot of good Italian food. Also, the McDonald's here serve fried brie, which was not bad, but didn't taste anything like brie.
Some other surprising (to me) things about the small slice of Italy I've seen.
There are lots and lots and lots of motorcyles. Ten times, maybe more, than you see out and about in the U.S.
There are lots of bookstores -- at least four within a block of my hotel.
It is very hard to get someone to serve you dinner at a restaurant before 7:30pm.
Why are all the restaurants closed? Maybe they only serve lunch. Umm, no.
Also, something called a "café" is unlikely to serve you a meal.
This is very distressing.
All of the dessert shops close before the dinner restaurants -- so you must get dessert before dinner. This is also surprisingly distressing.
Also, you can get a large pizza at a restaurant -- more than enough food for a meal -- for much less than an entree.
Just about every evening Christoph (the principle author on the paper we presented at ECOOP) and I would choose a random alley to follow from the Piazza di Ferrari down to the waterfront.
We'd follow these narrow passageways (no more than 10 feet wide) down the hill, past clothing stores, bars, and shops of all kinds, until we found a restaurant we though might put up with two tourists who don't speak enough Italian to properly give a beverage order.
Now, I'm off to visit Ben in London. If I get particularly ambitious, I might put up another post about ECOOP when I get back.
Posted by coughlin at 9:02 AM