This is the continuation of my story about my time getting and being at the 23rd Conference on Applied Crystallography in Krynica, Poland. Make sure, you read the beginning of my story (as well as the disclaimer in case you get a wrong impression of the scientific value of this conference :)
For immersive reading, I recommend Hollywood Hills from Sunrise Avenue and What a Night from Guano Apes as background music.
And this is how the story ends:
It was not just dinner; it was a gala-dinner with a five-course menu. By now, the conference attendees knew each other pretty well, so the people on my table were a nice mixture from all over Poland. A jazz band provided the background music during dinner. A singer and another band soon replaced the jazz band and I took a closer look at the space in front of them. The hotel staff had put up a dance floor in front of the band! I asked around at the table to find a dance partner, but no one wanted to be the first couple (and also violated the old Viennese ball room rule to never turn down an offer to dance). Slightly sad, I finally located my waltzing partner from last night and we started dancing. After the first song, we were ushered from the floor. Annoyed, we asked ourselves why they would do that? (No, our dancing wasn’t that bad!) We watched two barkeepers putting up a bar on our dance floor and starting an amazing bar-keeping show. They juggled bottles and glasses, filled these glasses on the fly and danced a little. Soon, they went looking for support in crowd and showed some volunteers some tricks. When they had finished, we waited until the band would start again when suddenly the Star Wars theme was booming over the speaker. The hotel staff showed off with some finger food and desserts in time with the Imperial March. After a cheerful applause, the dance floor was ours again and other couples soon joined in. Way too soon, the band had to leave, but the after-show party started almost immediately in our now traditional disco location. When tiredness had finally caught up with us, I went to bed with a big smile.
The last morning had arrived, and the air at the breakfast tables was full with sadness about the imminent departure. I had to pause with my breakfast from time to time because the first people already had to leave to catch their planes or other appointments. We all exchanged warm and earnest parting words, right before the last scientific session. This last session went by pretty fast and the remaining people gathered for lunch. I was sitting together with people only from Poland and out of courtesy they all spoke English so that I wouldn’t be left out. With one laughing and one crying eye, we talked about the last few days, how well everything had been organized and about the nice time we had in- and outside of the scientific sessions. Finally, my time to leave had come. I checked out at the reception and when they asked me whether I would go with the conference bus or if they should call me a taxi, I told them, that I still had some open business with the streets of Kryncia. The man behind the counter gave me a bewildered look, while I swung my trolley on my back and put my backpack on my chest. After receiving a final hug from my waltzing partner, I set out on foot through the streets of Krynica, hoping that one day I will attend another conference as nice and pleasant as this one.
Epilogue (I always wanted to write one): Surprisingly, I found my way back to the bus station at a very familiar ski-lift without any further struggles.