Thursday, June 19, 2008

European travels

So I'm back in Barcelona after a week and a half on the road; Frankfurt, London, Swansea, Luxembourg, Brussels, 2500 miles of travelling and five different beds. I'll be honest, I don't really like flying around so much and I'm looking forward to the AVE connection up to the French TGV rail lines, which will make European travel a lot more pleasant. It will be a while yet though, so I'm not holding my breath.

Anyway, despite all the work I had time for a bit of fun. My work mate Marco and I were in Germany on the evening of their first Euro 2008 game, which they won. It's always fun to be in the same country as a winning team in any sport, and Marco really got into the spirit!

Then we were in London where after a different sort of work meeting (different in that it was held in a pub in Soho - that's what I'm talking about!) I played the 'London Guide' to Marco and Sònia, showing them round the main sights.

Then I managed to get up to Gower to see the 'rents, and get some climbing done with Lau. Here I am in the beautiful Gower countryside after a great day's climbing. I look miserable in the pic but I'm smiling, honest!

And then at the start of this week I headed to Luxembourg to present a European research grant proposal. Cross fingers we'll get it. Afterwards there were no flights available out of Luxembourg so we had to catch a train to Brussels, stay a night, then fly out from there. I had never been to Brussels before so was glad for the time to wander around a little bit. It's actually a very nice city. In Britain I think most people think of Brussels as an 'institution' (that represents the EU and all it stands for) rather than a city. This is shame, because whether you are an Europhile or not, Brussels is actually a very pleasant city to wander around; lots of old buildings and history, and plenty going on. My rubbish camera-phone and even rubbisher photography can't do it justice, of course, but there was a very nice sunset view over the Grand Place a couple of evenings ago:

So, anyway. Now I'm back in Barcelona and I'm very happy to say that the summer has finally arrived. With a big high-pressure settled over the Iberian peninsula, temperatures in the high 20s and clear blue skies are predicted for the next week and indeed for the reasonably forecastable future. What with all the recent rain the Catalun countryside is looking absolutely stunning. This weekend Djanira has a weekend off (whoo-hoo!) and so we are headed off up to Pyrannees, to the Parc nacional Aiguestortes i Estany Sant Maurici. Its supposed to be one of the most beautiful areas of the Pyrannees, and only a 3-4 hour drive from Barcelona, so we're looking forward to checking it out, and maybe get a little suntan while we're there!

PS Firefox 3 is out. Go get it.

No comments: