FTF licencing workshop in Amsterdam / Borders still exist in Europe

I had the great possibility to do some volunteer work for the FTF licencing workshop taking place from 23rd to 24th in lovely Amsterdam. It was an interesting experience meeting so much lawyers instead of the hackers usually found at conferences, they seem not all to be so scary. ๐Ÿ˜‰
FSFE got really positive feedback from the participants and after closing Friday evening at 17:00, a small international group of people from the US, Taiwan, Denmark, Germany and Ireland teamed up to explore Amsterdam which does not only feature the world famous red light district but also a little China and some other evenly beautiful but much less crowded alleys. The team even visited some coffee shop and – naturally – drank some coffee.
Problems only arose when I wanted to leave the mousetrap of Amsterdam again:
The ticket selling machine at the station wasn’t accepting my Maestro ec card. Maestro really sucks in this aspect as you never know whether a machine accepts international cards or not. OK, so I tried a credit card – but alas, I didn’t have the PIN needed for such transactions, just ever used it online where you only have to enter dates. D’oh!
OK, so I had to pull a number and line up for getting a ticket at a counter. Guess what: I had to wait long enough to miss the train I wanted to take, having to take a more expensive connection and leaving me with half an hour of time to enjoy the view of Amsterdam. Luckily, when I strolled around looking for what to do with my time, I ran directly into the arms of one of last night’s team, giving us the chance to have some coffee together and have a look at some pictures of my daughter.
The next reminder that borders still exist hit me when we approached Venlo.
The train suddenly went very slow and my laptop, which I had only connected via the power plug, went off in the middle of the sentence I typed. D’oh again!
Apparently, due to historical reasons, the electrical conditions for trains differ between the Netherlands and Germany. I hadn’t thought about it anymore, but now I remember! ๐Ÿ™‚
All in all, it was a very nice weekend!