I work in R&D and sometimes we here submit them papers. And sometimes those papers are accepted and published. And then someone has to go outside and properly present the work. While I had never been to a conference myself, my work got published and thus I had a change to learn how these things work.
That’s pretty much how I found myself travelling to Vienna with my work colleague, V.!
Now, I know I had travelled by plane once when I was very young, to Germany. However, precisely because I was so young, I hardly remeber a thing of said trip. Therefore, to me, it was like I was travelling by plane for the first time. And it was pretty cool!
Turns out, planes are just like giant buses with wings. And they fly. They are giant flying machines. Of course that’s the recipe for getting my love.
The trip was very long because we first had to fly from Porto to Frankfurt and then from there to Vienna. This took us most of the day. The Frankfurt airport, by the way, is pretty huge! Sometimes you have to take the bus to go from one side to another. I was pretty awed.
By the time we got to the hotel we were already pretty tired. We got to share a very small but cozy room. Next morning we’d have to wake up early to try and figure out the way to the conference, which was located at the Technikum. The Technikum is a very beautiful and brand new building which feels like what my college could have been if only it was also new and pretty.
On the first day V had to present her paper and I had to chair the same session she participated in. The task wasn’t that hard, as I only had to introduce the speakers, moderate the times and the questions and make some few questions of my own. It was very nice, actually. By the time that was done with, however, it was already nighttime. Turns out it gets dark pretty damn early in Vienna so you don’t have much daylight to use. Also the temperatures are a lot colder than what we’re used to, ranging from -3º to 3º. While having 3º is pretty regular at nighttime here in Portugal, during the day we can get some 11º or more on winter. So while this was a change, it wasn’t as drastic as we thought it would be, with the cold actually being pretty bearable. We had a cocktail dinner/party at the City Hall later that day, so we decided to try to find the way there.
We eventually found the way to the Rathaus (we kinda had to ask) and since it was still too early to attend the party we decided to hang out around the place for a while. There was a Christmas shop in the park with many tents with various products. The whole park was decorated accordingly and I was pretty keen with the decorations and bright lights.
We had been invited as guests to the Rathaus, which apparently means City Hall by the very Mayor of Vienna! We got into this very very VERY fancy room with live piano music and full of life-sized portaits of former Mayors. The Mayor gave a little speech and we authors had then some time to interact with each other while having a few drinks and snacks. All in all, fancy is the only word that comes to mind when I think of it.
Back then, my colleague and I were very intrigued by this former Mayor portrait of a man which looked a lot like Pinto da Costa. I decided to pose with him in the most professional and fancy way possible:
The next day I did my two presentations which went pretty smoothly. I was hoping for more questions or suggestions at the end, thought. But I think they went pretty well nonetheless. By the end of the day we’d have, once again, a special dinner. This time we went to the Conference’s Gala Dinner, which was another load of overfancy for us. There was live music this time was well, but this time, fancy violin!
The conference would end the next morning. So after the closing speeches and the best paper awards, V and I strolled around the city to act like some real tourists. We took photos of the very nearby Brigitte and then headed to the giant wheel!
It was very foggy though, so the pictures aren’t as good as they should be. Also, by the time we exited the giant wheel ride, it was almost nighttime again. Thinking of it, most of what I recall are night strolls. It was always very darks.
By the time we reached the Stephenplatz, it was already very into nighttime, so it was getting very hard to take good pictures. And although I very much tried to show you just how big this building was, it just doesn’t show enough in the photos:
After some strolling around the commercial area and visiting a few stores (they had pretty much the same products and prices as here in Portugal, what a disappoint), we decided it was about time we headed back to the hotel. After all, we would be leaving very very early the next morning, so we would most definetively need some rest.
We got the plane next morning at around 6:30, although the plane left somewhat later because of all the fog in Frankfurt. It gaves me some time to appreciate just how big these machines are and how everything looks like little toys by comparison:
Because it was so early I was very sleepy through most of the journey and barely noticed anything until we landed. However, I was somehow able to take a few pictures of the sun rise which was coming right after us. And suddenly we were at the Frankfurt Airport again. V and I got giant pretzels to eat before we got into the next flight. It was so foggy there you can actually see the planes fading in the distance in the pictures.
I slept through most of this trip too, so it wasn’t long for me until we landed in Portugal again, where temperatures were some 20º higher and it felt like summer. Then I proceeded to get into a bed and sleep through the rest of the day.