A trip to the ITI 2011 conference

Two weeks ago, with a couple of colleagues, I made a trip to Cavtat, a small town near Dubrovnik, where the ITI 2011 conference was held. The conference was nice and my talk for the paper “Nested componentization for advanced Web portal solutions” went fine. Most notable occurrences were the keynote by Richard D. De Veaux titled “The Seven Deadly Sins of Data Mining – and How to Avoid Them” and a workshop on presentation skills by George S. Nezlek. And of course my own appearance, which was the reason, no doubt, the conference room got filled to the last seat. Nezlek’s workshop didn’t introduce nothing really out of the ordinary or more than common sense would drive someone to try at the presentation (or not to try), but it was a set of really good and structured advice on how to perform and create presentations that no one else before him gave. Also, the man was an example of what’s a good presentation performance.

But, of course, more interesting than the conference were a few days before and after it, which we used to explore the Dubrovnik surrounding area. Read on

Prevlaka

Prevlaka is a park, a small peninsula and the south-most point of Croatia. It was our first stop on the way to Montenegro. At first, it seemed as if there isn’t much to see, but it got interesting the instant we decided to make the tour. There are two official ways to make a tour – by rented bike or by a small train (which is out of order). Going on foot is the unofficial way, and since the sun wasn’t very friendly, we chose the bikes. The price was cheap and the tour was worth the money since there are lots of abandoned military structures all over the place, and a fortress from 18th century. In the middle of the peninsula is a dusty, rocky road, perfect for having fun with mountain bikes, except the giant spiders that hang over it. The black, meaty and hairy creatures that make you stop every 50 meters and crouch under their hanging webs are a bit eerie, but in the end just added up to the excitement and fun of the endeavor.

Fortress at prevlaka

Coast at prevlaka

Montenegro

This was a nice one-day road trip, that was mentally painful to drive. All the roads, at least the coastal ones that we rode, are narrow and winding through dozens of villages. In fact, there is no in-between space. There’s just villages and 50km/h speed limit. Since there are no highways, there can be no tolls, at least not real ones. Montenegrans rose to the challenge and invented a way to take your money – you have to pay the eco-tax on entry into Montenegro.  :-)

The contrast to Croatia almost immediately kicks in. Not just the slow narrow roads, but everything seems different. The locals are better at tourism than Croats, which means – more tourists, cheaper prices, more fun. I still like Dubrovnik and the sea in croatia better, but these guys know business…

Kotor cat

Kotor walls

Pelješac

It’s a peninsula some 50 minutes drive Northwards from Dubrovnik. We just visited the first two towns – Ston and Mali Ston, which are known for producing large quantities of mussels. Ston and Mali Ston are connected by stone walls over the mountain. The walls are built so that it’s hard to decipher from what direction and what is being protected, but I suppose the locals had a plan when they were building it.🙂

Ston specialties - mussels, lamb chops, cuttlefish risotto

Ston church in need of repairs


Panorama from one of Ston walls' towers

Konavle

A valley that fed Dubrovnik in its city state times. This was actually a trip sponsored and organized by the conference. It was OK I guess, fun places to see but alcohol dominated the whole trip. We were presented with many local spirits and vines, and I have to say, I didn’t appreciate neither… The donkey was cool though. Ten years ago its life was work and sleep, and now it’s leisure and performance in front of tourists who give it tons of sweets…

Donkey living the good life - tourism worker

A nice getaway trip with business and scientific benefits…

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