E-Smart @Sophie Antipolis

After a great week in London last week, this week I participated in the E-Smart Conference/Smartcard University in Sophie Antipolis/French Riviera. SA (Sophie Antipolis) actually is the silicon valley of France, located about 20 kilometres way from the coast (the closest city/airport is Nice). In SA there are about 32.000 IT-Jobs, 1.300 Enterprises, 4 Hotels and NO supermarket, NO bar and NO leisure facilities. Taxis are quite expensive for having a ride to Nice (between 55 and 75 EUR). With public transport (which is not running at 100 % due to holidays) it takes you about 1 hour to get to the next town, Antipes, which is directly located at the sea. But don’t think about hanging out too long; the last bus is going back at 8.00 pm. Thus the only thing you could do in SA is work — and that’s what I tried.

At the conference I experienced again how small the world could be. I got to know several Austrians dealing with smartcards and payment, some colleagues I already met at different conferences and interesting people in the field of NFC. The conference itself was very nice, expect for the food (sorry, guys you still have to practice that).

My trip home actually was some kind of nightmare. On the bus to the airport I fell asleep and woke up in the middle of nowhere. I could convince the bus driver to drop me off at the next gas station where I tried to get a taxi (I was never that happy, that I could speak a little bit of French). After a delayed flight to Munich, the plane to Linz was overbooked and as I was already late, they didn’t take me to Linz that night – damm. Thus I had to stay in Munich (Lufthansa gave me a room at the Kempinski, which is among the most exclusives hotels I ever stayed at).

Well, when trying to check out, it appeared that my suitcase was lost – double damm. (My suitcase appeared during the night again.) At last and least I lost my passport at the airport after the check-in in the morning. (Fortunately the Bundesgrenzschutz found it.). In order to get the passport I do have to show up in Munich and pick it up in person (I do need my passport quite urgently as I’m going to Tokyo on Saturday next week). Did I already mention that the Oktoberfest is starting tomorrow? Well, looks like I do have to go to Munich this week to get me a beer and my passport again.