Adventures in Ostrava

Thursday we jumped on a bus and drove 6 hours east of Prague to get to Ostrava. We are here to attend the Ostrava Rails Conference for the next two days. To those of you who dont know Rails it is a programming framework that is talked a lot about these days and it is one of our primary tools. So when we discovered that this event was on we decided to check it out.

The bus system here is amazing. We paid 1160czk for two return tickets on an air conditioned bus with leather seats, showing movies and Friends episodes and complimentary copy of the days newspaper or Maxim.

On our first venture in Ostrava we jumped on the tram to take it two stops and figured we could do that without buying a ticket. Bad idea. As soon as the tram started roling a ticket officer busted us and we had to pay a 400czk fine each – doh!

I contacted a couple of people on CouchSurfing to see if somebody had couches we could crash on and thats how we ended up meeting Petr. Or we havent actually met Petr yet. He wasnt home but he got Zeno – his flat mate and landlord – to let us in so that we could sleep on his floor.

Zeno is a photographer and cinomatographer and the flat were staying in is also his studio. The rest of the evening we spend with Zeno drinking whiskey – good times.

Mi casa es su casa

Last weekend two guys from Madrid stopped by our place for a couple of days. I didnt know them and they didnt know me but they found me on the website Hospitality Club (HC) where travellers can find free accommodation. Ive been a member of the site for two years but so far I hadnt used it myself and wasnt home when people wanted to stay at my place. This time it worked out – and it was a blast.

The cool thing about HC (and other sites like CouchSurfing) is that everybody gets something and it doesnt cost anything – social software at its best. When I travelled to America in 2000 I tried to use Servas – an off-line predecessor of HC started in 1949 – to find some people to stay with in US. The idea was great but in practicality too cumbersome for me. With HC its fairly easy and relatively safe to meet local people and get cheap accommodation.

Nacho and Alfredo are studying aerospace engineering and architecture and they had found some cheap flights to Malmö. So they had a few days to visit Copenhagen. They brought along some Mahou Negra cerveza (thanks!) and local red wine and then they cooked a traditional Spanish omlet. Here they are in action:

Spanish cooking

They stayed with us from Saturday till Monday so we went to a private party Saturday night and to Sunday Reggae at Rub A Dub (thanks for that idea, Alice).

Reggae Sunday

Nachos and Alfredo invited us to a party at their apartment the 16th so now we just need to find cheap tickets to Madrid