Saturday, 11 February 2012

Roman Holiday?

Ethereal lighting - had to be there
How can you help but laugh? Had a problem-free but a very long day of travel today to get from Trikala to Rome for the IP-SPALC. 3h bus to Thessaloniki, 1h city bus to the airport (through some downtown roads that made Brussels roads look like wide boulevards), a few trips back and forth through airport security (what's the point of online checking in and printing off your boarding passes, not to mention not having checked luggage, if you STILL have to go to the check-in counter to get your passport cleared? And why don't they tell you that at security until AFTER you go through and get to the gate)? Then airport bus, metro, and tram for the final walk to the Hotel Farnesina. Total of about 11h travel time.

Scene from airport bus
Ah well, it's all made up for by being in Roma! Just driving in through the city on the airport bus was like a tour through history, what with amazing ancient buildings and ruins everywhere! You'd pretty much have a convenience store right next to an ancient Roman wall! The kicker was walking the final bit across the Ponte Milvio (Milvian Bridge, see future blog). 
The Roma Flickr

Church next to hotel
Anyway, the real point of the story is that I checked into the hotel (think Euro petite. Very nice but can pretty much touch all four walls at the same time), then walked the 10 min over to the Foro Italico (Sports University). 

I walk in at 1700h or so and see Carl Foster and my buddy Romain Meeusen giving their talks on monitoring training and overtraining, respectively. That's kinda weird - aren't they scheduled to give those talks tomorrow morning with my talk in a joint workshop? And what's Romain talking about with flying out tonight, he's flying out tomorrow (Friday) night. Did I completely mess up my days and missed the day for my talk?

Um, apparently the switch is because there's a forecast for a "massive" dumping of snow in Roma overnight, and the odds are 90+% that the uni will be closed, not to mention the whole city! Rome got walloped this past weekend with the same level of snow that we had in Trikala last week, to the extent that the first day of SPALC this Monday was cancelled, along with all schools most of this week. It was incredibly beautiful and warm today!
The football club "Lazio" plays at the Stadio Olympico at the university, and the crowd control was beginning for a home match Thursday evening.

So the upshot is that the uni, and SPALC, might get cancelled tomorrow! So I get the fun of possibly: 1) giving my talk here in the small hotel dining room with zero props, 2) being such a famous guest speaker that people invite me to come as a guest speaker without having to give a talk, or 3) simply getting stranded here in Roma for a few days! Stay tuned!

The scene just across from the Piazza del Popolo where I transferred from Metro to tram. The Piazza was getting ready for Carnivale.

Update #1: Seriously, tonight (Thursday night), the Mayor of Rome has declared all public buildings closed already for Friday AND Saturday! 

Update #2: Just woke up Friday and there's NOTHING on the ground! Seriously!