My colleague K.took the train to the airport (and she said that Helsinki has the best public transportation (which I agree!). While walking to the train, we met two other conference participants who opted for the train, too, so my word was spread ! When we arrived in Paris, she said we would take public transport as well, and that was a slightly more dramatic experience 🙂
Also, it turned out that we were in different hotels, and my other co-worker came to rescue me ;). This co-worker previously invited me to share a suite in the hotel with me, and her boss approved, so I had free lodging. We also had a terrific conversation while walking there and later at dinner.
France lifted all COVID restrictions, and it feels scary because their positivity rate and the number of cases are so much higher than we have. On the other hand, they have way fewer deaths, and it looks like most cases are mild. It was scary and fascinating to see the crowds filling the cafes.
The next morning, we had breakfast in the hotel and walked to the conference venue. All the talks were extremely interesting, but it was very difficult to be in a crowd that spoke French! There was almost impossible to start a conversation – now I know how foreigners used to feel at the Russian conferences 🙂 I still managed to talk with several people I wanted to talk to, asking to switch the language :).
All the conference food – OMG! I do not know how to describe it! There were several dozen of tiny appetizers, and I have no idea what 80% of them were! And the same goes for desserts.
After the conference, everybody walked for the drinks.
I walked, too, because I wanted to socialize more, but I also had to leave earlier – my flight back was at 7:25 AM, which meant I had to leave a hotel at 5:00 AM. I decided to walk to the hotel – the night was too beautiful to take the cab, but it was 30+ minute walk in the dark on unknown streets. At first, I was not sure whether I could make it with a mediocre internet connection on my phone, but I did, and the night was beautiful indeed!