LocationCheckList for Vaumarcus, Le Camp.
 Local team
 Choice of city / town / whatever
- Are you suggesting a city, a town, a village, a spa in the middle of nowhere?
Le Camp near Vaumarcus.
- How many people live there?
Vaumarcus has 265 inhabitants as of 2010-10.
- How easy/convenient is the proposed place to get all strange and regular kinds of hardware?
The venue is 10 minutes away from a highway and accessible by car or trucks without issue.
- Electronic/electricity shops / Computer stores (A "media market" like end user oriented store doesn't count)
Nearest computer and electronics shops in Neuchatel and Yverdon (about 20 minutes by car). Switzerland has several online shops which offer next day delivery. As good computer stores are rare these are generally the better and cheaper option.
- Supermarkets, etc.
Nearest supermarkets in St. Aubin, 3.7km away
- How easy is to handicapped people move there?
The Swiss transport network is already equipped for handicapped people (although in-advance warning of the transporters is needed), so there should be no problem to reach the venue. Le camp is equiped for disabled people several of the dorm houses and all the talk rooms, hacklabs and dining rooms are wheelchair accessible. They have a camp with disabled people there every year. Switzerland has a special transportation service for disabled people (www.betax.ch) which could be an option for local transport where there is no public transport.
- Which is the nearest airport?
Genève (GVA) ~100 km far by car 1h50 by public transportation (train+bus), hourly during the day; Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (EAP) ~160 km far by car 3h by public transportation (airport bus + train + bus), hourly during the day. Zürich (ZRH) ~180 km far by car 3h by public transportation (train + bus), hourly during the day.
- Are there any cheap airlines flying near the chosen city?
Most of the European ones, including EasyJet in GVA and EAP.
- How long does the trip from the airport to the venue take?
GVA and ZRH airports are directly connected to the intercity train network: no super expensive airport trains with changeovers in another station required. Though trains aren't cheap either... Landing in EAP implies ~20 minutes in airport-station bus, then on train network. It takes ~2 hours from GVA, ~3 hours from either ZRH or EAP (Basel), respectively, most of them by train, then a 30-minute bus and finally a 10-minute walk: practical information (fr) from Le Camp website. We are think of organizing a bus shuttle transport from Neuchatel or Yverdon on the main arrival and departure days. Both of these cities have direct train connections from Geneva, Zürich and Basel.
- How friendly is your country towards foreigners?
- Visas: Which/how many countries' citizens require getting a visa? How hard (bureaucratic, probable) is it to get it?
Schengen and EU countries do not require any visa. Basically the same rules apply as in any other Schengen country. A Schengen visa is valid for Switzerland. Visa handling is expected to be quite non bureaucratic (fair and fast processing of the applications) but rules might be quite strict. Not much difference to any other european country expected. Further information: * General Entry and visa regulations (governement website) * Visa requirements per country, Nov. 2011, PDF
- Are there any import regulations, which might affect DebConf? (e.g. a limit to number of notebooks / DVDs / other media you can bring in; hard regulations for money transfers; etc.)
- Language: Do most people talk English? How hard is it for a foreigner to find their way around?
Most swiss citizens speak a basic level of english. Bus drivers and train conductors are used to english speaking foreigners. Vaumarcus is in the french speaking part of the country. But everyone in the french speaking part has learned some german in school and vice versa.
- Smoking: What are the local regulations about smoking?
Smoking is not allowed "inside" public places (like bars restaurants), but it is still allowed outside. Smoking will be prohibited inside the venue.
 Conference Facilities
- How much does it cost to rent these facilities?
Daily price is around 65.- CHF per person per day for full pension (thus sleeping and 3 meals).
- How far away are the locations from each other? (auditoriums, hacklabs, restaurant, sleeping quarters, info desk)
Everything is within a single compound. Walking from one end to the other is 5 min at most.
- What kind of places are available suitable for hacklabs, workshops, BoFs and talks? How many people fit in each of them?
A clickable map of all the buildings, picutures and detailed building plans (PDF) are available on the Website of Le Camp There are really a lot of rooms. All in all each building has about 2 rooms suitable as hacklabs, meeting rooms or small BoF rooms. The whole compound has about such 20 rooms available to us. The biggest room in the main building (bâtiment principal) can be split into two halves, one half will be reserved for the main room (~300 persons) and the other for one part of the dining room (~200 persons). For the most popular talks (opening, closing, possibly the DPL 'state of Debian' talk, ...) we can quite easily join the two rooms to have a big enough auditorium. We plan on having a medium sized talk room and a bigger hacklab in the rotonda building. The upper floor of the rotonda would be ideal for the talk room (~80 persons), with the noisy hacklab on the lower floor. A smaller talk room (~40 persons) could be the chapel. Other "informal" talk rooms and/or hacklabs can be setup in the single houses, e.g. on the terraces. We did not yet make a final plan of how to use all the rooms, but we definitely have enough rooms.
- How flexible can that be handled?
As we plan to rent the whole "Le Camp" we can decide what to do where and move stuff around by ourselves.
- Can smaller auditoriums be merged into a bigger one?
As mentionned above, there is a big room that will probably be split in two for the conference days (one side for the lunches, one side for a big conference room). They can be merged for selected "big" events.
- Are tables/chairs fixed, or can we arrange them to fit more people/give more room to the people that we need?
We can arrange them as we want, we even have to (no personal is hired to do it for us). In no room tables and chairs are fixed.
- Is the venue ready for handicapped people? Note: Keep in mind that it's not only motion-handicapped - Is the area safe for people with any kind of handicap? (There are sight and hearing-impaired people, too.) Bonus: What people is it not good for?
Most of the houses are handicapped-friendly, including bathrooms/toilets and elevators. They have a camp with handicapped people every year.
- Access to all areas with ramps and/or elevators? (Note: carrying somebody over some steps is not usually an acceptable option.)
There are normal or wheelchair-specific elevators in many places, including around all the planned conference room and many of the hosting bungalows. Although not all houses are wheelchair accessible (No 4-6) are not. We'll make sure that there are no conference rooms (talks, official meeting rooms, ...) not accessible by wheelchair.
- Are there people with experience handling handicapped people, who checked that?
As they had camps with handicapped people there we trust them. Seea also [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ85RXJMm3Q | this Youtube video from the site owners]
- Are blueprints with exact distances available to us (to be kept confidential on request)?
Yes. Most of them are available on the website. I'm quite sure they have no problem handing out even more if we need them.
- What kind of audio equipment is already present at the auditoriums?
Nothing besides loudspeakers in one of them.
- Wireless or stationary mics?
- clip-on kind of mics or cary in your hand mics?
- How many of them?
- Will the hacklabs be allowed to stay open 24x7? What time schedule do they offer?
The whole place will be reserved exclusively for DebConf, which means that people are free be wherever they want on the camp.
- What kind of security will be there?
None. To be noted though: the place is geographically isolated from the nearest village (the one with 200 inhabitants), itself not nearby any densely-populated area. This is clearly not a problem.
- Are there any limitations regarding the consumptions of food / alcohol? Where do what limitations apply?
- How far is it to the nearest convenience stores / all-night restaurants?
Vaumarcus is at a 10-minute walk but does not have much to offer in this regard. There are no restaurants, bars or convenience stores in walking distance. We plan to have our own bar and probably a small store on site.
- Please provide pictures of the venue/accommodation.
More pictures and videos are available on pictures/videos.
- How much are the meals per person per day?
There is a single price of 40.- CHF per person per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
- Is the eating place near the talks place / the hacklabs?
Yes. Just beside it.
- What kind of food would be served?
- In what fashion? (service to the table, limited buffet, open buffet, etc.)
No service to the table. Cafeteria style where people have to get their food at a buffet.
- Would food for vegetarian / vegan / lactose-intolerant / gluten-sensitive / religious (of any denomination) people be available?
Yes, they provide all kind of such meals: they have mentionned having had `camps` with all types of alimentation modes: vegetarians, vegans, allergy-specific meals, etc.
- How much meals do we need to order to get those kind of "special" meals?
No minimum for the special kinds of meals. The price is the ordinary price for the meals in small quantities. It does not include any discount yet. We'll try to negotiate a discount.
- Will it cost extra to get those special meals?
Probably not (to be checked).
- In a two week period, how many more or less equal meals can we expect?
We don't expect any duplication and as they will cook for us alone we can discuss and change menus.
 Network connectivity
- Is the area already wired with regular network infrastructure? (much preferrably: 100Mbps or 1Gbps switched)
There is already a basic ADSL connection, they confirmed us that they are already working to get a fibre connection.
The camp itself is not yet wired. Unless this changes until 2013 we'd have to do our own temporary wireing and/or setup wireless bridges. The caretakers specifically told us that this wouldn't be a problem for them.
- How much does it cost and how difficult is it to get a big internet connection? (10/20 Mbits at least)
We already have an offer for sponsored connectivity as soon as the infrastructure is in place.
- How much work does it imply to cover the area with wireless links?
some houses are already equipped with Wi-Fi, but if we want to cover everything with our own material we probably need around 20-25 Wi-Fi APs, at least 1-2 in each houses.
- If we use someone else's infrastructure, how easy / flexible can that be handled, regarding routing / firewall / ip-range /
public access / other stuff?
As we'll mostly use our own infrastructure this shouldn't be a problem.
- Do we have restrictions on allowed ports?
- Are we traffic-shaped? Or can we set a traffic shaper if we need so?
No / Yes
- Would it be possible to set up the network before Debcamp? (a day or two, earlier would be nicer, in order to handle problems gracefully. Additional weeks for wireless.)
Probably, but it depends if there are external non-DebConf occupants.
 Special rooms
Both for server and video rooms:
- General conditions for the rooms / Size / Have they/do they need air conditioning? / What electrical load can they handle?
There are certainly enough rooms. Probably none with special air conditioning. Electrical load shouldn't be aproblem just a few servers. Normals cicuits in Switzerland can handle ~2kW. If this is not enough we could use another room which is separately fused. Another option would be to have some equipment in the datacenter of the upstream provider if we get a fiber link.
- How much does it cost per person per night?
25.-CHF per person per night for 155 "nordic/real" beds (equipped with sheets), 19.-CHF per person per day for 170 "youth hostel" beds (sleeping bags needed).
- Is the place where people are going to sleep near the conference facilities?
- Is it able to handle a varying number from 200 to 500 people?
325 is the maximum number of beds available. There is another facility with 120 places, La Rouvraie, à Bellevue-sur-Bevaix, at a 10-minute-car distance. We also talked about the limited number of beds to the caretaker of the camp and he told us that if we need more beds it would also possible to put up some tents for sleeping.
- Is it able to handle non-native speaking people? (i.e. do the people at the sleeping facilities speak English?)
Basic English. As we'll handle everything ourselves this won't be a problem.
- Will there be a need of a "Debconf" info-desk, or would the local (hotel or such) people be able to handle that themselves? (See InfoDesk for details on duties)
We are responsible for everything.
- Will it be possible for couples to stay in their own rooms?
Sort of, there are no double-beds and the double-rooms are limited (~5-10).
- How many room keys would be available?
No room keys needed.
- Are there other hotels around?
No. Closest hotel is probably a 10min car drive away. There might be some (probably expensive) rooms at the castel of Vaumarcus.
- Are there rooms ready for handicapped people? How many?
Yes (bathrooms/toilets included).
 Fun and Free time
- What activities can be done during the free time?
Hiking, swimming/resting at the Lake Neuchâtel, etc.: suggestions from Le camp website.
- What would be a possible Day Trip?
For example: Paying a visit to the Creux du Van, exceptional natural reserve nearby (including gorgeous trekking possibilities), going to Lausanne, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, Morat, Bern or other typical swiss medieval cities; paying a visit to cheese-making facilities, in Gruyère, or a chocolote-making facility, in Broc; paying a visit to the EPFL Learning Center in Lausanne, etc.
- Is the proposed location ready to receive people with disabilities?
It obviously depends on the chosen location, but there are often infrastructures.
- How expensive would that be?
Don't know yet, depends on what we'll do. But just organising some hiking won't be expensive.
 Local Sponsors
- Do you have a list of prospective sponsors that might be interested in the conference? Money, hardware, connectivity, etc.
- When (and why) would be the best time to host DebConf at your location?
- What is your backup plan if your preferred venue isn't available at that time?