For the final part, click here!
For frame of reference, days started at 8:30a, lunch was generally 1-2p, even workshops started at 6p, and most nights did not end until well after midnight for those who wandered into the city center. So yes, the typical conference schedule.
Sunday, August 28, Day 0
Social Summary: The opening ceremony kicked off with a short introduction of talking that was punctuated by a 15 min samba drum performance. Yes, really. The group called Segura had interspersed throughout the crowd and slowly made their way to the stage until the full ensemble danced to their drum beats. It was very cool and unexpected, and it helped some bleary-eyed travelers fighting jetlag (read: me) wake up and enjoy the opening lectures.
Culinary/Cultural Highlights: The opening reception was a great first connection point to talk with folks. It went a little late to be able to grab dinner afterward (things close early on Sunday nights in the Netherlands), but lucky a local döner stand was there to make sure several of us got food. If you haven’t enjoyed a döner kebab before, imagine the Turkish version of a gyro in a pita pocket instead of a pita wrap. They are always a highlight of traveling in Europe.
Monday, August 29, Day 1
Social Summary: The FeMS Workshop led by Anne Bendt (a found of FeMS) and Purva Kulkarni included talks from Jenny van Eyk, Manfred Wuhrer, Berta Cillero Pastor, and Vicki Wysocki (who pulled double duty and came to present after leading the concurrent Native MS Workshop). Erin Baker and Cathy Costello sat right behind me in the workshop and offered some highly useful insights, too. The drink hour after the workshops helped everyone connect and find dinner plans after the first full day of the conference. Instrument companies did not have hospitality suites per se, but instead claimed local bars in the city center as their hang out. I did not hear any complaints.
Culinary/Cultural Highlights: Public service announcement: burritos in the Netherlands != burritos in the Bay Area (or the US in general for that matter). Still, they were open late after the workshops, so they were a welcomed sight. They come with an optional side of fries… not the typical burrito accompaniment, but they were delicious nonetheless and stole the show from the burrito.
Tuesday, August 30, Day 2
Social Summary: More evening workshops kept some attendees engaged, but I, for one, could feel the slightest air of fatigue setting in after the afternoon talks wrapped up. Regardless, it seems as if everyone collectively found their second wind after dinner because the city center played host to plenty of IMSC badger-wearers late into the night.
Culinary/Cultural Highlights: A group of us randomly stumbled into a wonderful Greek restaurant that was an unexpected treat. Also, the local Stadtbrouerij made for an enjoyable aperitif. On another note, Maastricht must host a decent number of conferences or events, because the bus drivers were not phased in the slightest by 50+ people piling onto the bus at the conference center stop, all of whom were riding for free as long as they had their conference badget (thanks IMSC organizers!).