I spent almost all day in the GRASS workshop (thanks to Chris P nobly giving up his place in the hope I will convert to an open source GIS). I learned so much from this session and it was worth the whole trip just for this. I not only got the basics of GRASS and qGIS, but also a handle on VTK and ParaView, which I now fully intend to use for the 3D modelling of geophysical data during my PhD. I might not use GRASS for the whole thing, but certainly for the 3D conversions. And, because it is all open source, I have the software now on my flash drive! Fantastic! Mark and I have serious plans to get more familiar with LINUX/UNIX and explore using GRASS in our respective work.
The final session of the day was the start of Dave’s session on standards. This carried on to Friday morning as well so I’ll write about it there.
Thursday was ArchCamp and you can see what we got up to over on the antiquist wiki. When that was done, everyone needed food and drink so we headed off to the 12 Apostles, an Italian place that lies in the vaulted spaces under the S-Bahn tracks. I had an amazing pizza and really good beer, and a good time was had by all. I was determined, it being my last night, that we would make it to the Tajik tearooms, so a few die-hards (Leif, Max and his lovely girlfriend Sophie, Mark and I) made the short trek.
We had a Russian tea ceremony, which was amazing. The tea room was donated to the East German republic by the Tajik people when they were still part of the USSR during a big cultural fair in the 70’s. It has ornate carved pillars and ceiling, prints on the walls of Tajik legends, colourful carpets and neat little low tables. Everyone takes their shoes off and sits on silk cushions. The place is small and popular so you tend to end up sat with strangers but that is part of the fun as everyone sits and talks. The tea ceremony itself was also amazing (they do do other kinds of tea, including proper Japanese tea).
Really strong concentrated tea is served in a pot atop a decorated urn of hot water, which is used to dilute the tea. Candied peels, rum soaked fruit and dark sugars are provided to sweeten the tea which is taken black. Cakes and marmalade and little rose-flavoured sugar sweets are also served up. Then you drink ice-cold vodka to freshen your mouth and cut the sweetness and start again! It was a really special ending to an amazing trip, made even better by the great company.