Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 June 22-27 Uppsala

June 22 Uppsala
Uppsala Day 1

Photos from Uppsala are in an album on Flickr - https://flic.kr/s/aHsjZbQ1Vg

On the train from Stockholm to Uppsala,  I recognized a SIGCSE friend and we talked.  As we exited the train in Uppsala it began to rain again.  We found the hotel easily and got settled in just in time for the reception. On the way, we peeked into the DomKyrkan. The Universitet Huset was gorgeous and the talk about it very interesting.  No food, except pretzels but both alcoholic and non-alcoholic wine.  Lots of good conversation and Camille really enjoyed the building.  We went out to eat with Amber Settle and Yvon Feaster to a close by Italian restaurant, Il Forino where Camille had ravioli and I had risotto.  Back to the hotel where I prepared for the meeting.  It was after midnight when I went to sleep.n

Monday June 23 Uppsala

Uppsala Day 2

I got up at 6:30 to have breakfast with Boots.  We took the bus to Polacksbacken.  There were four of us trying our credit cards.  At first the bus driver couldn’t do it, but finally it was ok and we got to the conference just in time.  The keynote was interesting on new devices and techniques for student centered learning.  At the coffee break I took the bus back to get Camille.  She slept too late for the 10:30 closing of breakfast.  We went to the newspaper shop and bought bus cards.  I think the driver entered on mine that I was a child, but I am not sure.  We did get to the meeting and looked for a geocache, again unsuccessfully and because it was very cold, windy and rainy, we gave up.  Lunch of scalloped potatoes, yummy veggies and pork was quite good.  I spent much to the meeting talking with Shuchi Glover who just finished her PhD at Stanford.  She was then one of the presenters in the group I chaired after lunch, along with two women from Argentina and Yvon with whom we had eaten dinner the night before.  The coffee break had yummy sweet pastries that both Camille and I enjoyed.  We were late for the last session because the room was wrong in the part of the program I was looking at .  What we did hear was good – a young woman from Toronto gave an excellent history of women in computing, and two other speakers were interesting as well.  We left during the question period to get the bus since they only run every 20 minutes
I was going to change for the banquet but because of the rain, I just wanted to keep warm.  We huddled under the umbrella and got to Norrlands Nation at exactly 7 and we were among the last to arrive.  An a capella group from the Nations members sang to us as we sipped sparkling wine on the staircase.  The room where the banquet was held was huge and we got seats which looked out the window at the houses on the other side of the river and whose roofs were covered with tons of birds. Service was slow but conversation was good.  We had a fish roe appetizer and the main dish was venison with lingonberries.  During the evening we sang many songs and raised out glasses. (we had been supplied with song sheets).
Dessert was ice cream with some sort of sauce.

The banquet ended about 11.

Tuesday June 24 Uppsala
Uppsala Day 3

I had breakfast with Boots and then Camille joined us.  Camille walked with me as far as the boat we would be taking later in the day so she would know how to get there and meet us for the trip to the castle. I walked to the conference first through the waterside garden and then up onto the forest path.  It was beautiful. I got there just in time for Boots’ session on the history and future of ITiCSE.   I picker up a sack lunch for Camille and one for me and joined the group walk back toward town and the boat. I had a king talk with Virginia Grande who is chairing the next ACM-W Europe conference in Uppsala.  Camille was waiting when we got there. The boat ride was sunny thank goodness and Mikey Goldweber and I solved lots of SIGCAS problems and then Susan Rodger, Mikey and I talked about iSIGCSE and other stuff.  Then they pretended to throw me overboard for twisting their arms – Susan to be SIGCSE chair and Mikey to be SIGCAS chair.  It took two hours to get to the Skokloster Castle by going down the Fyris River and a long time on Lake Malaren where the castle is. Out tour guide was very good but we only had an hour to see the castle because we had the two hour ride back!

Camille and I went geocaching just as we left the boat and found the one there on the bridge.  We went with Susan Rodger and Boots and Bill Cassel, finding another one by the cathedral before going to Tzatziki, a Greek restaurant on the river. It was really cold, but the restaurant had blankets for us to wear We had a large variety of mezes that were super. It was quite late when we got back to the hotel and then even later when we got to sleep.

Wednesday June 25 Uppsala
Uppsala Day 4

Once again I had breakfast with Boots. Camille slept in.  Boots and I walked through the forest to the conference, arriving just in time for the keynote, Åsa’s PhD advisor, Jan Guilleksen’s talk on becoming digital.  It was quite interesting.  He had Simon face the audience so he couldn`t see Jan and Jan had Simon give him directions to put on a jacket. It was funny. I texted Camille to get up which she did, five texts later J. I started to go back to get her at the break but she texted me that she was going to take the bus.  I worked on preparing to interview Elizabeth Patitas from U of Toronto and finished getting stuff around the time Camille was arriving on the bus.  I was glad to see her and she was very proud to have taken it successfully!  We had salmon for lunch.  She and I took the bus back so I could get my equipment for the interview.  I stopped at an apokotet for some cranberry pills. I was able to return on the same ticket as going because it was within 75 minutes.  I interviewed Elizabeth and finished with enough time to transfer my files before the wrap up.

I took the bus back with Boots.  The guy sitting in front of us 1) fell off his seat while texting and 2) overheard us talk about geocaching and volunteered where there were some! Camille was there to greet me.  After regrouping in the room, we went for a walk.  Turns out the church I went to when I was living here is right behind our hotel and is no longer a church, but a high tech company.  How sad.  Camille and I then walked to Linnaeus Garden which is open on Tuesday nights for free. We then found a geocache and walked around a bit before going to eat at the Texas Longhorn Restaurant.  When we paid the bill I had to use show ID to use the credit card and the waiter (who spoke little to no English) almost fell over with joy to notice it was a Texas driver’s license! Back at the hotel we turned on the TV a minute to say we watched Swedish TV and then I worked on this blog.  A key has fallen off my tablet keyboard and I have no idea when nor where and I truly don`t even know what that key did!

Thursday June 26 Uppsala

Uppsala Day 5

I actually slept until 8:30.  We had breakfast and then headed out first to the Godis store for gift candy.  Then we walked to the Gustavium (the Uppsala University museum) which was really well done. We saw grave boats of the Vikings, Rudbeck’s anatomy amphitheater from 1660’s.  The Augsburg Cabinet for a portable art collection was amazing. 

We then bought our bus tickets for the day’s travels and for the airport bus.  We rode out to Gamma Uppsala.  We climbed the mounds (a man helped me up and I sat on my bottom down). We looked for a geocache in the old church and heard a pianist play there.  The Celsius family is buried inside.  We went to the Odinsburg café for a snack and then to the museum gift shop after another exploratory walk.  It was a lovely day. We got off the bus ealy when I spied a market with fresh fruits and veggies and we got strawberries that were as good as they looked!   \Once back at the hotel we regrouped , packed and headed out to the castle, finding a geocache by a house Ingmar Bergman lived in and one by the castle where a mass grave of Swedes killed in a conflict with the Danes had been uncovered in recent history.  We walked up to the castle and then down to the botanical garden.  Camille was tired, so we cut that short but did find a really cool kids’ playground that looked like an old Swedish village.  On the way back we stopped at a fast food hamburger place called Max where Camille got a veggie burger, fries and a shake.  Camille’s earphones were broken, so I went downstairs and worked on my files and let her listen to music before going up to bed.

Friday June 27 Uppsala – Newark –Decatur
I got up at 5:15 and showered, and Camille got up and around really quickly and we were able to grab coffee and tea and rush the half mile to the bus and got the 6:03.  We got through all the security quickly and ate the food I had brought with us from the hotel breakfast.  We bought coffee and tea.  We had to go through a second long line just to get into the boarding area but no problems. I watched the Grand Budapest Hotel on the flight.  Lunch was chicken and rice glop and snack was a grilled Panini.  In Newark we had to ride a bus to the last flight because their train is still broken.  No TSA pre (and I didn’t use Global entry because of Camille) so long line there as well.  I got us fruit and veggies in a coffee shop.  The terminal was old and run down with few services. We got Marta and were at Gwyneth’s in good order. She and Phil met us outside the Artisan.  We had Greek salad and pizza for dinner and watched our pictures on their big TV.
 


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sweden June 19-22, 2014 Stockholm


Check out photos here https://flic.kr/s/aHsjYXeLgW

Wednesday June 18 Blue Ridge - Decatur
The rhododendron bush by the dining room window is in full bloom.  Phil and I went for a walk behind the cabin before final packing for Sweden.  We went to Ellijay to the Dollar Tree for toothpaste and to Walmart for a few last minute things.  We stopped at Ballground for a geocache and ate lunch at the BijUns Barbeque and it was really good! Phil left and Gwyneth made me drive her car to meet Chloe to give her her swim suit.  I found the geocache by the Burnt Fork Restaurant and then we went to the Decatur Farmers Market.  Phelix was incredibly well-behaved. We got bread, flavored butter and peaches. Camille made a yummy veggie pasta sauce and Chloe made Greek salad – Yummy.



Thursday June 19 Decatur – in air
We got out and on the train in good order.  It was a good think because when we went to the United desk we found our flight to Chicago had been cancelled!  A nice United desk person helped us get rebooked on a much better schedule.  Delta to Newark and United direct to Stockholm.  We got seats together on both flights!  We hung out a bit in the Admirals Club in Atlanta but it was too complicated to do so in Newark.  We did have lunch in Newark – Camille gave me part of her sandwich and I shared my fruit with her.  I watched Monuments Men on the flight over.  I had chicken with a great half bottle of Meomi Pinot Noir.

Friday June 20 in air – Stockholm

Passport control in Stockholm was the fastest I have ever experienced in any country!  We bought 2 day Stockholm cards at the airport.  I managed to drop our bus ticket printout in the toilet but retrieved it and it worked for the bus to town!

Camille fell asleep on the ride into town, but we were alert enough to walk to the old town (Gamla Stad) and enjoy finding our hostel – the ship Birger Jarl, aka the Anedin Hotel.  We were allowed to check in early and have a great room – bunks with a harbor view of Skeppsholmen, the island with the museum of modern art.  It has a toilet, sink and shower which drains on the floor, but is very clean.  I bought breakfast for us for tomorrow at 80Kr each.

Camille showered while I checked on internet which is only available in the lounge/bar room but plenty of electricity and good bandwidth.

We headed out shortly after.  It was cold and even rained a bit. We searched unsuccessfully for a geocache on Stora Hopegrand Street, but enjoyed the walk.  We saw a wedding photo shoot and then enjoyed listening to a little kids brass band in front of the closed for the day Nobel Museum.  We went into an old German church and then Camille searched for her two stores – sci fi and comic.  But the sci fi was closed for midsommar and the comic one not to be found.  We had very expensive coffee and a raspberry confection at a quaint café. We then listened to some girls sing about midsommar but all with enter type coats!

We walked through the palace toward the next island. As we crossed the bridge to Skeppsholen, it began to rain.  Not for long, but we did manage to find the Museum of Modern Art – closed for midsommar. Then we went back to walk along the Strandvagan to the island with Djurgaren.  We stopped for blueberry ice cream for Camille and a hot dog with two huge dollops of yummy mashed potatoes.  I dropped one of the dollops on the ground.

We then had enough energy to go to the Vasa Museum which was incredible.  It was even better than I remembered.  We looked at all the exhibits and then watched a movie and Camille fell asleep again!  We got revived by a visit to an interactive history exhibit there, and a geocache outside up a slippery hill.  Camille wanted to explore the cemetery behind which was pretty and sad to her.  We found the bus back, and hopped off to take a boat ride around the island and back past our hostel.  Again we took the bus back to the hostel.  Her Stockholm card seems to work for the venues but not the bus!  They let her on anyway.  Camille was hungry so we sought out food.  Pizza and a salad shared and a glass of wine for me at Michelangelo’s in Gamla Stad for 350Kr.

Back at the hotel by 7:30 and Camille fell asleep immediately. I finished my Bible for the day and then called Phil on Skype.
Collage of First Day in Stockholm

 
Saturday June 21
I got up about 7 and showered and worked on catching up on my diary (and blog).  I drank coffee from the machine in the hall and finally woke Camille at 9:45 in order to eat the breakfast we had paid for when breakfast closes at 10.  And we did eat a huge one, as well as take away sandwiches and boiled eggs for a picnic later.  We went to Gamla Stad again, not finding one geocache but Camille spotted another because the word graffiti was written on a wall near it.  She then went into Comic Heaven, a store she had wanted to visit.  We went to the Royal Palace and watched a fancy changing of the guard parade and then went into several great museum in the palace.  The first was Tre Kronor, a history of the castle about three stories underground.  Really fantastic.  Then we went into the Hall of States the guest apartment for heads of state, coffee and a very sweet princess cake for Camille, the royal apartments, the treasury and the chapel.  We went back to the hostel and got ready for the next adventure.

We took a bus to the Nordiska Museet where we only had a half hour before closing but saw a lot of cool stuff including a doll house display, a furniture display, a Sami display and an exhibit curated from the museum’s storage called “stripes”!  We took another bus to Grona Lund (like Tivoli Gardens) and enjoyed the crowds and revelry.  We ate out lunch from Breakfast and took a train to Skansen. Most displays were closed but we went in a couple and Camille bought a pen at a gift shop.  We went in a farm house and a church.  But we also went in the zoo displays of wolves, wolverines and a huge owl of which there were at least 5.We found out way out but not where we entered and walked along the water near really nice old homes.

We took the tram back part way and then the bus we wanted didn’t run in Saturdays, so we got back on the next tram, and walked through a park and back to the hotel.  We actually watched a TV program from Grona Lund with the group after the ones we saw performing!

We took a bus to the Nordiska Museet where we only had a half hour before closing but saw a lot of cool stuff including a doll house display, a furniture display, a Sami display and an exhibit curated from the museum’s storage called “stripes”!  We took another bus to Grona Lund (like Tivoli Gardens) and enjoyed the crowds and revelry.  We ate out lunch from breakfast and took a train to Skansen. Most displays were closed but we went in a couple and Camille bought a pen at a gift shop.  We went in a farm house and a church.  But we also went in the zoo displays of wolves, wolverines and a huge owl of which there were at least 5.We found out way out but not where we entered and walked along the water near really nice old homes.

We took the tram back part way and then the bus we wanted didn’t run in Saturdays, so we got back on the next tram, and walked through a park and back to the hotel.  We actually watched a TV program from Grona Lund with the group after the ones we saw performing!

Took a tram one stop (or first tram) to Skansen.  Thee was hardly anyone there which was interesting since Grona Lund was packed.  We went through part of the zoo and into the old regions where very few places were open.  We did go in a manor house and a church.  Camille bought a pin at the one souvenir shop that was open.  We watched the wolf and the wolverines in the zoo and were entranced by a bunch of owls. We were kind of lost when we left Skansen and exited a bit away from where we intended but enjoyed the walk along the water and fancy old houses.  We took a tram and got off at the wrong spot because our bus didn’t run late on Saturdays.
  The Anedine Hostel, Skansen and Old Town

Stockholm Day 2



Back at the hostel we regrouped and headed off further south along the water and then into old town.  We got a great felafel from a take away vendor and went back to the hostel.  Bed for both around 11:30.

Sunday June 22 -- Stockholm to Uppsala
We packed up and ate breakfast, once again making sandwiches from the breakfast bar for our lunch.  We used the wifi for a while and then checked out and stored out suitcases.  We went out, hoping to go to the Medieval Museum, but it was closed for Midsommar.  We looked for a cache we didn’t find and got caught in a downpour.  Camille didn’t find anything to buy at the SciFi bookstore but did make a few purchases at the Comic Heaven store.  We went back to the hostel, used the web and took off for Central Station.  We had thought to take the bus, but opted to walk and enjoyed the shopping street.  We just missed a train to Uppsala and got tickets for the next one.  We ate out lunch but I refused to pay $6 for a bottle of water – no tap water in the station!

Once on the train I recognized a SIGCSE friend and we talked.  


Monday, February 17, 2014

Barb's Trip to India Day 8

Monday February 17 Gurgaon - Delhi
Amardeep went to work and I stayed back to pack.  In order to take home  the large framed plate that I was given as a gift from the conference, I had to pack everything into my red bag and put my back pack with my computer into my smaller roller bag.  I carried the picture in the conference bag.  Sant Lal picked me up and we went to the Mall in Saket because I wanted to try an India McDonald’s.  I had the spicy paneer sandwich (without lettuce or tomato which comes with), fries and a coke.  The paneer was good but the bun and cheese were pretty bad. Back at Amardeep’s office I recorded a video for CEOHP and took some pictures.  Then we headed to IIITD for Amardeep to give a lecture on the First Day of teaching a class to Pankaj's class.  While we were in his office we found out that we were featured panelists at a women in engineering panel after the class. We also went to a reception for PK’s program Precog (privacy and security of social networking).  Busy day!  Then we headed to the fancy shopping center by the Grand for dinner at SetZ with Mangala Gowri and Laura Haas.  It was an interesting place with some 7 different cuisines each with its own set of chefs.  I had pasta, Laura and Mangala had Thai and Amardeep had risotto.  The bathrooms had fancy Japanese style toilets with heated seats.  Amardeep left me off at the hotel with Laura and I went to her room.  There was a very fancy wedding going on so we went down to watch the groom arrive and see all the gorgeous dresses on the women guests.  There was a lot of confusion about the ride to the airport, so we went down to the lobby and waited with Radia Perlman. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Barb's Trip to India Day 7

Sunday February 16 Gurgaon – Agra-Gurgaon
We left Amardeep’s at 7:30 and got to the hotel shortly after 8 to pick up Dave Patterson and were on our way to Agra.  The fog was really dense and travel on the superhighway was down to a crawl because of it.  We eventually stopped at the rest area for tea.  It was really crowded and the rest room was gross but there was a nice attendant.  And the tea was good!  On the road we stopped several times to look at birds – we saw Sarus cranes and even a family of three.  We also saw a blue cow (Nilgai antelope) family.  We also saw lots of kilns in fields for making bricks.  Once at Agra Fort Amardeep engaged a guide.  Inside the fort we met up with Shafi Goldwasser and Radia Perlman and their guide.  The builder of the Taj Mahal was imprisoned by his son at the Fort and spent his time in a room facing the Taj Mahal.  We took the extra tour to the glass palace or Shish Mahal where the ceiling and walls were covered with tiny mirrors.

Then we headed to the Taj Mahal through crowded streets, stopping at a small hotel for a bathroom break.  When we got to parking it was quite some distance from the Taj Mahal and we took a camel cart ride to the entrance.  Amardeep had her throat lozenges confiscated! The entrance to the Taj was impressive but the first view of the Taj Mahal was more than I expected.  The building and grounds were unbelievably beautiful.  We tried to stay for sunset but got too cold.  We headed back to a fancy hotel (ITC Mughal) for dinner but we were too early for the tandoori ovens and had a rocky start to what turned out to be a nice meal in the coffee shop with local wine (Sula Vineyards Cabernet-Shiraz).

We headed back and took Dave to the Grand and we got back to Gurgaon at shortly after midnight.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Barb's Trip to India Day 6

Saturday February 15, New Delhi-Gurgaon

The Grand New Delhi
We had breakfast at the hotel with Laura Haas, Shafi Goldwasser and Amardeep before the ACM meeting.  We were a bit late getting to the meeting which had already started. This audience was mainly men as opposed to the day before when it was mostly women.  Lunch again was near the stadium.  I sat with the head of IBM research India and his predecessor who is now at Xerox India.  After the meeting we went back to the hotel and had coffee with Laura at the fancy shopping mall next to the hotel.  Then Sant Lal took us to the dinner at the faculty club at IIT.  They had no bottled water and flat Pepsi, but good India food and great conversation. Amardeep was elated that Vint Cerf took down a quote from her! 

We took folks back to the hotel and then headed back to Amardeep’s in Gurgaon where it was after 11pm.
Laura Haas and Vint Cerf; below Vint Cerg, Amardeep and Shafi Goldwasser

Friday, February 14, 2014

Barb's Trip to India Day 5

Friday February 14, 2014 New Delhi, India
Amardeep and I found breakfast which was very good.  We sat with Mathai Joseph and talked with John White, Pat Ryan and others.  Lots of vans took us to the meeting at IIT Delhi.  I put the ACM-W skirt on the stage.  Because of rain, the meeting had a late start but it was excellent.  Lunch was outside in a covered area next to the stadium.  I got to cut the long line as a VIP!  I think my talk went over well.  Lots of questions, good ones.  I enjoyed the talk by PK about his students’ app for safe journeys.  Radia Perlman talked about internet protocols and Laura Haas from IBM about cloud big data.  After the meeting we had a SIGCSE India meeting with John White and Mathai and other interested folks.  It looks like the SIG would be organized under ACM India.  Many of the speakers and committee went to the conference leadership dinner at the Ashok Hotel southern India restaurant.  I had a pancake called an uttapam. We went back to the hotel and immediately went to bed.
ACM-W India Meeting

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Barb's Trip to India Day 4


Thursday February 13 Gurgaon, India and Delhi Tours

Amardeep and Sant Lal dropped me off at Connaught Place for the city tour (at the grand price of $5).  The tour was in on an old bus with a local guide.  We had to give him money for three of the  places we went to (250 INR each or about $4).  The first stop was a Hindu Temple where we had to leave out cameras and cell phone behind.  They took my external battery away from me because they thought it was a cell phone!  No shoes, either.  The temple, Laxminarayan, was gorgeous and very interesting.  Hindus use a variant of the star of David and also a swastika!   The bus then drove down to the Qutub Minar, a UNESCO world heritage site. It is a 12th century muslim tower and ruins.  We then headed to a scruffy parking lot across the street from Lado Sarai, the first park Sant Lal took me to.  There was a Delhi tourism store, selling rugs and other goods high pressure Turkey style.  The group had tea from a guy with a cart outside.  I passed on it.
Lotus Temple, Gandhi's Last Residence, Laxminarayn Temple, Qutub Minar

Fig Tree, Red Fort, a cremation Ghat, Humayan's Tomb

We then went to the Bahia Lotus Temple where we had to shed out shoes and hand them into this underground window where we got a wooden coin for their retrieval.  The temple itself looked like the Sydney Opera house and we went inside during the daily service.

Our final morning visit was to the Gandhi Memorial museum where Gandhi spent his last days on earth and was assassinated.

We returned to the Connaught Place tourist office where there was a café.  I ate the lunch I had brought along in the courtyard where monkeys scampered along the courtyard roof.

The afternoon tour included a ride through the embassy row and then out to the Red Fort, a huge complex with tons of walking.  It was also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Red Fort was the residence of the Mughal emperors of India for nearly 200 years, until 1857.  Nearby were a lot of Ghats, or cremation sites for famous people like Indira Gandhi and her son Rajeev.  We stopped at the site for Mahatma Gandhi, Raj Ghat.  I was surprised at the memorials and the huge plot of land surrounding each cremation slab site.

The final stop was at Humayan’s Tomb, commission by his wife for him.  It was very impressive.

The tour bus let us off two blocks from the starting place with little information on how to walk back.  I was very nervous but finally got there and was relieved to see Amardeep and Sant Lal.  Amardeep directed Sant Lal to a grocery store so she could get gluten free food including cereal for herself.  We went from there to the Grand Hotel where Amardeep and I spent two nights.  We had dinner in the hotel restaurant.  We ordered too much food but the fried paneer was very good.  A large party of very noisy people (Amardeep said they were rich and uneducated) drove us nuts.  We were happy to go back to our room!