Keynoting GUADEC, travelling in Europe

This is exciting! I’ve been asked to keynote GUADEC, the Gnome Users and Developers European Conference, in A Coruña, Spain, at the end of this month. I’ll be talking about my experiences with the world of open stuff since I stopped primarily being an open source developer a few years ago, about the ways open source software has inspired other movements, and about what we can learn from those other open projects in turn.

After the conference, I’ll be sticking round for a couple of months (side note: damn, I’m glad I already dropped out of school and didn’t have to make that decision in a rush) and playing tourist and visiting friends in Spain, France, and the UK, travelling extensively in all three countries. If you live in any of those places and would like to catch up — or even better, offer crash space — please let me know! I think there will be a couple of group gatherings in London at least.

Meanwhile, has anyone had experience travelling with the ebook versions of the Lonely Planet guides? How did you find them? I’d love to avoid carrying a couple of bricks around with me, but I’m wary about their usability, especially as the sample chapters available through iBooks crashed the app. Just in case it’s relevant, I have a first gen iPad and a Nook onto which I side-load books using Calibre. (Not being in the US, I can’t use the Nook store. If anyone knows workarounds for that, I’m interested to hear them.)

5 thoughts on “Keynoting GUADEC, travelling in Europe

  • Rebecca

    Hi Skud,
    I have only purchased the city guides (dead-tree versions) of the Lonely Planet Guide for my time in Paris and Amsterdam (in August), as I wanted a version that didn’t need to rely on electricity – and they come with maps. The city guides are pocket sized and not too much trouble to carry.

    I have also purchased the ipad French, Dutch, and German (two of which were Lonely Planet) language guides which include phonetic pronunciation, as well as recordings of people saying the phrase/question so I will have some non-English language experience as well. My Yr 10 (1990) French is not going to serve me too well in this instance.

  • Skud Post author

    If I were just visiting London and Paris, say, I’d totally go for that. Their city guides are generally excellent. However, I’m planning on travelling around a lot and at last count I think I’ll be visiting more than a dozen cities, many of which aren’t major/capital cities and don’t have their own city guides (eg. A Coruña, Strasbourg, Portsmouth, York).

    For phrasebooks, I really like the Berlitz dead tree ones, which are pocket sized (about the same size as the LP city guides). Somehow I feel safer/more comfortable with dead trees for that, since I don’t have to worry about a tech malfunction leaving me unable to be understood. Mind you, in Amsterdam, Belgium, and Stockholm (the three northern-European cities I’ve visited) I didn’t wind up needing anything other than English, since everyone I encountered spoke it pretty well.

  • Rebecca

    That’s my problem with Cologne (my final and longest stay in Europe this year). There isn’t a Lonely Planet guide for the city, and not much of a mention in the Germany guide, so I’m going to print out the Tourist info guide for their tourist card with info on museums, places to eat, drink and shop, and other things that sound fun – that and explore a lot.

  • Mary

    I’m sure Skud knows of Wikitravel, but Rebecca may not. Their guide to Colonge looks to be an OK start:

    Their big flaw, as it has been for a long time, is mapping. Turning Open Street Maps places data + mapping data into a tourist style map automatically would be the ideal solution, if someone out there has a spare few months or more :-)

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