Scratch 2015 3/3 – Aprés Conference

(This is post 3 of 3)

The Shylight permanent installation in the Rijksmuseum was one of the highlights of the trip to Amsterdam to me. It was like a metaphor for everything the Scratch and Maker education espouses – the joy of creativity. And on the subject of the Rijksmuseum, it was jammed later in the day (we went early as all the guide books suggested), and this was the first time I ever encountered museum visitors on bikes. I guess it is the Amsterdam version of When in Rome…look carefully here if you don’t believe me…

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wpid-20150812_194324.jpgTransport was a doddle, thanks to the well planned infrastructure, and my wonderful Three Wise Navigators – Susan (aka Smilla) the Blue Dot, Jan Van Heg and the mobile hotspot, and the pre-checked certainty of James. Thanks you three for keeping me in the right direction at all times. We had the LOLs on buses, trains, bikes, ferries, or any combination of the above, all keeping perfect time. Here be pictured below Drew, Jake, John, John’s wheelie steed, all on the ferry home from dinner.

(Hipster alert – here’s a link to the rather fabulous menu from the THT Restaurant; having share-sampled amost every dish on the menu, albeit between a large bunch of us, it is to be highly recommend. So is the food a the Lloyd hotel – don’t not have the lamb.)
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We had some serious fun in the NEMO Science centre – free entry on Saturday evening was a very lovely goodbye present from the Scratch conference organisers (yes, they thought of everything). Open 24/7/365, the rooftop café of the NEMO is a popular family spot, with lots of little ones, in their bathing suits, taking a dip in the cascading café fountains. Couldn’t help wondering if our Heath & Safety Police over here would allow that. There were plenty of falls, a few sniffs and tears, but most of it was pure family fun.

One of the biggest hits of the week for me was the OBA Library. Also open 24/6/365, the main delights were on the top and bottom floors. The top floor has another rooftop café, with a wide selection of very scrummy, and resaonably priced food. The view across the city is excellent. Thanks to Agnes Agaddone for joining us there for brunch, and some memorable conversation, on the final morning.

The basement of the OBA houses a treasure – het Muizhuizen, the Mouse House. I can’t explain how mesmerising it is – you will just have to go and see it. We wondered at it for almost 90 minutes. This is the thing that will bring me back to Amsterdam – this, and the Shylights already mentioned. I could happily sit and watch either of them again anytime.

The other lovely thing that happened was – our Hotel. The Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam is a tourist attraction in itself. The rooms are amazing, each different. The food is great and the staff are excellent. We had fun exploring all six floors, and showing each other the features in each of our rooms! We were all like kids, in a good way. (Note to self – Top Brownie points going on Trip Advisor for this place. Other note to self – stay again!)

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The very very very best thing about the social part of the visit to the conference was the company, especially that of the Irish Fellowship. Thank you Jake for joining us on board on the way over, and we mean it when we say we missed you en route home. Thank you John, James, Stephen, Steve, Jake, Richard, Glenn and Nina. Great to meet you, Mary. And to top it all, GRMA mór to my Lloyd roomie, Susan. We represented CESI and Ireland well, and we had some good times into the bargain. Can’t ask for more. Except, maybe, *whisper*, anyone know where the next one is on?

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