Wednesday, February 18, 2009

AdS collective in Madrid

I've just returned from four fantastic days in Madrid. In fact it was only a last minute decision to attend the conference at all, but it has been well worth it. The topics and speakers were right on target for my current interests, and the discussions generated by the talks were constantly enlightening and provocative, without being aggressive (well, mostly).

I also had a chance to catch up with more friends, and meet more new people than I've been able to at any previous conference. As you travel more and more, and build up collaborations, such meetings simply turn into gatherings of friends. This, a far cry from the days, not so long ago, that I would go shyly into a room full of unknown faces and not have a chance to join in the discussions, whilst being bewildered by the talks. Anyway, three non-stop days, in the process of which a good number of new ideas have been generated and the fuses of older possibilities have been relit.

For now I have to get on with several projects in the next two weeks before another collaborator comes to visit at the beginning of March, so I'm going to try and fit in as much as possible in that time to see how far we can get with the current ideas which are taking shape.

Away from the conference, the time in the city itself was also excellent, as I couchsurfed with a great couple of local Madrilenios in Aleche, in the South West of the city. As well as myself and the two hosts there was a German erasmus student, plus a girl from the US and one from Finland staying on the various couches and mattresses around the house. One of my primary goals as a host is simply to make my guests feel at ease and at home, and the two guys putting us up were masters of this.

While I didn't have much time to socialise with everyone in the flat apart from cooking them a meal on Monday night I did have a bit of a tour of the centre of Madrid on Sunday afternoon. In the glorious Madrid sunshine we went to relax in Parque Retiro where hundreds of people soaked up the first few warm days of the year, while drummers bongoed and jugglers entertained everyone sitting out by the lake, getting ready for the week ahead!

Anyway, I come back tired but enthused and look forward to getting my teeth into these projects in the next couple of days.

No comments: