EuroPython 2013

Just noticed that I had totally forgotten to write about EuroPython 2013 itself while writing about some of neat stuff I found there. Well, so here we go! EuroPython has been in Florence, Italy, for the last 3 years, and it were glorious ones. As with the last two years, the origanization was top notch. Not all that much changed from previous installments so please refer to my previous posts for more details :-)

But some things actually did change: For once, the sponsors moved to the air conditioned hotel foyer which made dropping by during the lunch breaks much easier. The place previously occupied by the sponsors was now converted into a huge tent with lots of chairs and TVs in them where people could folllow talks from rooms that were already filled to their limit.

Everything else was as great as before, especially the Pizza lunch, which I used for most of the week simply because I prefer to sit down while eating.

The talks

As for the talks, there was, as always, a wide variety of topics and most of them were really good. Naturally there were some that I’d probably have better avoided but that definitely (up to some degree) depends on personal interests. So these were the talks I went to:

Tons of stuff there and some great things I still want to try out. At the time of writing this I have just migrated my blog over to using ElasticSearch providing the data for every blog-post related page, so I can finally cross that off my list. Obviously the ES-related talks were very high on my list this year ;-)

Another highlight was Rob Collins’ talk “TDM: Test Driven Madness” which ended up as an interactive session where we half of the audience had to role-play and act as if doing testing and TDD were bad things. Lots of funny discussions there! Also, Velruse and Zookeeper definitely picked my interest and will probably get evaluated for this or that in the near future.

Oh, and if you want to have the most important parts about Unicode and encodings in general condensed into 45 minutes, watch Ezio Melotti’s talk. Same goes for Christophe Petus’ talk about sharding … but I guess you already had that on your list, didn’t you?

One thing I will probably do at future conferences, though, is to skip more keynotes. I simply don’t get all that much out of them so I will most likely use that time to explore the host city more or do networking with likeminded folks ;-)

All around the conference

Once again, there was also quite a lot going on after and around the conference. There were topic-specific cocktail parties (for which I didn’t get any invites), PyBeer events held in the James Joyce pub right across the river, and a sadly not very all that great PyBBQ (more on that later). The unofficial bar of the conference was once again the Chioschino Il Tempio with it’s rather cheap beer and great view onto the river.

Two of the planned events took place at the James Joyce Pub right across the river. Sadly the drinks were quite expensive even with the conference discount.

The barbeque

As indicated above, the PyBarbeque event was, sadly, not the success-story the organizers had hoped for. The whole event took place at a sporting field about 20 minutes away from the conference hotel above the southern bank of the Arno and was planned as a successor to the PyFiorentina event from previous years with the difference that more people could attend. Having a 100-people-only event at a conference with nearly 700 attendees had probably started to feel slightly awkward ;-)

Andreas, Ulrich and I arrived at just before 21:00 (the official start-time) and received a coffee voucher which could redeem after the dinner. A large winebar, a salad buffet and two heating up grills where greeting us so everything looked fine at that point. First problems arose when more and more people were coming in. For some reason queuing up in front of the grills simply didn’t work out and so we ended up with delays of 40 minutes and more just to then only get the last scraps others had left over.

Another problem was the number of available seats. Basically, if the queue hadn’t been as long as it was quite a few folks would have had to sit somewhere around the area without chairs. Then, after about 1.5 hours there was no meat left and just half an hour later all the drinks were gone. Not what you could call a great party, sadly :-(

After that quite a few of us simply went home again (after spending 39€ for a few small ribs, half a sausage and a bit of salad) and made a quick pitstop at the Joyce which still had beer.

The next day and equally unhappy with the situation, the organizers offered a refund, which I didn’t take them up on but I definitely understand if other people wanted their money back.


On the other end of the spectrum was DjangoBeer, a small event organized by Nephilia and Divio taking place in Beer House Club. Starting at around 20:30 the evening was spent with a handful of presentations and the experiment of drinking beers starting on the right side of the bar and working through the taps (Ulrich, Andreas an I gave up after 3 since non tasted quite like we wanted our beer to taste :-P).

Restaurants & bars

Since such conferences are always great for exploring the local cuisine and we got around quite a lot in these 7 days here a short list of all the bars and restaurants we went to and that I can still remember and recommend:

  • Beer House Club
  • La Taverna is simply still the place to go if you stay at the Grand Mediterraneo or any other hotel in the vicinity. It is cheap, the staff is friendly and the food is great.
  • Chioschino Il Tempio aka “The Riverbar”
  • Trattoria Pallottino was a small restaurant we stumbled upon while walking through the city. Huge wine-menu and again: a great steak :-)
  • Osteria de’ Benci: The restaurant we had our late-night dinner right after leaving DjangoBeer. Great steak.
  • Vivoli is the place were we went for 3 nights in a row to get some ice-cream even though it is quite far away from the hotel or any restaurant we went to. It was that good!
  • Il Cantuccio Di San Lorenzo: OK, probably not a bar or a restaurant, but just go there and buy some Cantuccini.
  • Dublin Pub: a pub.

That’s it

Well, that was it for EuroPython in Florence. Big thanks to the organizers for three great years and hopefully we will see each other next year in Berlin :-)