I am writing this column in Sofia, Bulgaria, where the IUPAC Bureau met on 17-18 April 2010. Prior to that, there were meetings of division presidents and standing committee chairs, the project and evaluation committees, the International Year of Chemistry Management Committee, and a meeting with presidents of nearby national chemical societies. I can say with certainty that this Bureau meeting was unique, as it coincided with a burst of activity from an Icelandic volcano, whose plumes of ash caused the grounding of flights across Europe, with concomitant disruption across the world. While the majority of Bureau members successfully arrived in Sofia, some failed to depart from other European airports, and one arrived without any baggage (not surprisingly flying via Heathrow). Those of us who did arrive then had the problem of leaving, and readers would be quite impressed with the degree of ingenuity shown. European-based members have resorted to bus and train travel, usually about 36 hours in duration, and some managed to set off for the coast in the hope of picking up boats (So far they have not been heard from!). Members from further afield have had little option but to wait for flights to resume. Several got out of Sofia, only to be seriously delayed in other European airports. The rest of us are slowly trickling out as normal services return.