Out of Berlin on Sunday afternoon, it having turned out to be possible to book on a train and cross Berlin to catch it less than an hour before it was due to depart.
Train journey pleasant: the guard announced the World Cup scores as they happened, met an interesting American family (professor of modern architecture on a busman's holiday with his wife and amzingly polite but non-precocious son).Neat thing on journey (apart from the scenery): the 'Welcome to Prague' travel pack: maps, tourist info and a public transport ticket for about €5.
Arrival in Prague: found Jan's emailed directions were very clear, and made it to the hostel to discover a language problem with the guy on the desk. Phoned Jan, who sorted things, and then went for a beer in the student pub in the next building. Pleasant evening, especially after meeting a group of Slovaks who, if they had any faults at all, it was trying to teach me obscene expressions to use to the barmaid when buying drinks.
Monday-Wednesday: Sightseeing in Prague and a couple of side trips. Format all pretty similar: assemble at bus stop or on coach with our hosts (Czech sf fans in brigth orange t-shirts to make it harder to get lost (but see below)), travel to touristy places, go for lunch (good beer, immense portions of food), do more touristy stuff, then another restaurant for the evening... I'll say more about this phase of the trip when I have my pictures back (Charlie's camera worked most of the time but glitched occasionally. I suspected this was batteries, but they didn't seem to help). Anyway, Prague is totally beautiful, and cheap into the bargain (if you avoid the obvious traps). I've decided to spend another few days here after the con.
Chotebor: Arrived Wednesday evening, registered, explored local beer possibilities, dumped luggage at hotel (20km away!) and took bus back to the con. Didn't do much more than socialise the first night, and then coach to the hotel at 1am. Coach back at 8am the next day and various programme items attended, beer drunk and food eaten. Coach back to hotel at 2am this time, and crash out. My room sharer's still not here, so didn't have to worry about snoring (mine or theirs).
Today's programme had a lot less in English on it, so walked into town with a couple of folk to do the email chaecking thing. That was a good four hours ago now -- I've missed my e-fix, but also, the machine dies or switches into another mode, losing all text, every now and again. I guess I've missed the historic train trip to another castle, but to be quite honest, I'm all castled out (in much the same way as on Wednesday I missed a chance to stare at a large number of human remains in an ossuary, electing to sit outside a small inn near the coach and drink local beer instead).
Problems: the air battery for my phone has died, so contact with home has gone rather intermittent - and when I do get through, someone's on line as often as not, or the phone drops the connection.
Still, it's a glorious day outside, so it's time to upload this and then go hit lunch and a bit of shopping before returnbing to the con.