It’s not easy getting to DrupalCon

Since starting Manifesto we’ve gradually been immersing ourselves in to the world and ways of Drupal. We’ve become an Acquia partner, we’ve installed various versions of the software and we’ve done several Drupal projects.

It seemed like an altogether natural next step for us to attend Drupal’s main conference, the straightforwardly named DrupalCon.

What could be simpler?

Clockwise from bottom left: Luton!, no chance of chartering a jet?, new passes please, airport meal no. 2, wizz - really?, Prague at last.

Clockwise from bottom left: Luton!; No chance of chartering a jet?; New passes please; Airport meal no. 2; wizz. Really?; Prague at last.

Project DrupalCon is go!

Take our CTO and one of our developers and get them to Prague for a few days to soak up the views (of Prague), sample the beer and try not to destroy their memcache or chip their (nail) Varnish.

As an Acquia partner we wanted to get here early to have some drinks with their team and be on top form for partner day. We’d met a bunch of the Acquia team out in SXSW earlier in the year. Besides which Prague is a lovely city and the perfect place to get to early with a PHP developer.

So the plan was simple, Curtis and Kris go to DrupalCon, cause havoc, learn stuff and tell us all about it.

Curtis – Passport = Jim + Pilsner

Except there was one problem: Curtis didn’t have a passport. (Which explains why I’m sat in a lovely hotel room, drinking a Pilsner and writing this post. The stuff I do for this company, honestly.)

So now the plan was for Kris and I to head to Prague. I book the hotel and flights and we’re all set. We busy ourselves thinking about all the beautiful architecture we’re going to see by arriving early.

There’s nothing quite like the sound of a 4.30am alarm

The wonderful human brain’s response to immediately question why on earth such a thing is happening and immediately suggest you lie down again. I resisted that urge and jumped on the earliest of early buses. This was partially my own fault as I’d forgotten to pick business cards up and so had to make an extra call at the office.

I opted for Victoria station out of London to Gatwick so that we could get the Gatwick Express and save time. As it turned out, this wasn’t running.

Time saved: none.

Still we made it to the airport in plenty of time and with hand luggage only were feeling smug.

It was unusual that our boarding cards wouldn’t scan but no issue. We talked our way through security without a problem and headed for breakfast. We saw other people heading for DrupalCon milling about and decided to head for the gate for our 9am easyjet flight. The queue was quite long, a full flight.

And then, the moment you dread as someone who has earned a significant proportion of their living planning things for people…

“What do you mean we’re not on the flight…

The 23rd is tomorrow… A day early you say..?”

And so shortly after this we were escorted from airside at Gatwick minus the seats on the plane and with no way of making our 6pm drink engagement.

The following flight was full but I’m not a quitter. Like anyone that’s worked on cleaning up Drupal markup knows, it’s not about being a quitter.

I run a digital agency, I believe in the Internet and it believes in me. I knew we could solve this problem and solve it we did. Within an hour I had flight from Luton (and hour and a half away by train) heading to Prague that afternoon.

Kris and I made it to the station, crossed London, passing our homes en route, and got up to Luton just in time.

Being faultlessly polite Kris took it well, even though he got up rather unneccessarily at 4.30am.

We sat down had a leisurely lunch (with a pint) and thought to ourselves… It’s not easy getting to DrupalCon.

UPDATE: Since arriving in Prague Jim has lost his DrupalCon pass and locked himself out of his hotel room. If anyone in Prague is reading this could they please keep an eye on him? Find him by tracking his tweets @manifestovstech

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