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The GNOME Foundation advisory board meeting was happening on Friday the 2nd so I travelled to Brussels on Thursday. Years ago, there were two train routes from Strasbourg to Brussels: the direct one was using slow trains, through a large part of Belgium and Luxembourg, and took a bit more than 5 hours; the other one meant taking a TGV from Strasbourg to Paris (~2 hours), changing stations (5 minutes walk from Gare de l’Est to Gare du Nord) and taking a Thalys to Brussels (~2 hours). I was pleased to learn that there was now a direct TGV route. Even if the announced time of 3 hours and 50 minutes was only a tiny bit shorter than the indirect one, the confort of a journey with no connection adds real value. Of course I wasn’t expecting a direct route to go through the Charles de Gaulle airport train station, but well… still better than the alternative! This nice journey was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Foundation.

Then on Saturday I went to attend my 11th FOSDEM (I did ten in a row and skipped last year). The first day was dedicated to the hallway track, spending my time with people I knew and had not met for a while. I also was behind the GNOME booth for a bit, but nothing compared to the likes of Bastian, Benjamin, Carlos, Florian, or Luis. After failing to get in that Matrix talk and that Rust one, as well as that one, I went across the street to watch Shaun’s talk, from which I want to share that nugget of wisdom:

The problem with XML is that it’s XML. – Shaun McCance

I stayed in the Tool the docs room for the next talk by Jessica Parsons, “Finding a home for docs”. I liked her approach where she doesn’t come up with a single solution that is supposed to solve all cases, but instead studies a few choices with their pros and cons. After lunch I joined a group of friends to cheer for Marc while he presented the best practises he’s pushing into Sympa. We were then conveniently on the right floor to head to Tobias’s talk.

My return trip was in the afternoon on Monday so I joined a group of friends to visit the Atomium in the morning. Quite surprising that it took me so many trips to Brussels before I got to see this place. Built in 1958 for the World’s fair —in a way it’s the Belgian Eiffel tower— as a representation of a magnified iron crystal, the cubic structure doesn’t look one bit dated. To contrast with that, the exhibition it hosts about its creation and the historical context gives out a classic vibe reminiscent of Stark expo in the Marvel movies.

Buying a ticket to the Atomium also grants you access to the Art and Design Atomium Museum. The exhibit there was focused on the use of plastic since its creation. While most of the items we saw qualified as stuff we wouldn’t want to have at home because of their style, it was fun to see pieces from another era, some of which we may have had when we were children.

Same “direct” trip for the way home, concluding that journey uneventfully.