25 July 2011

INQUA conference part I

Leave it to the Swiss to organise something. The venue was very recognisable, registration only cost a few seconds, there was welcome coffee, all information you could wish was available, there were interesting welcoming talks; it was all good! I was quite impressed. I was also impressed by how many people you meet within the first 15 minutes of a conference, and how many kisses that results in. This was going well! And later I would also be impressed with the general level of care you receive. Always something to drink, always salad with the lunch, good coffee at several coffee breaks... and a travel pass for all busses and trams in town!

If I go to a conference I can go to meetings on the topic I work on, of course, but having worked on several other topics in the past I tend to have a wide choice in interesting sessions. The first day flew by in a jiffy! There weren’t many people from Norway, nor people who work on Barents Sea ecology (that goes together well), but there was plenty of work presented on sea level change, and on glacial-interglacial climate variability. And sometimes you can just go to stuff that has nothing to do with your work, but which is fun to listen to anyway. So I sneaked some talks in on historical and archaeological topics...

This is the hall in which they give plenary talks such as this one; from the inside it looks very professional, but from the outside it looks like a hangar. And maybe it even used to be one...
There are also talks on th emilitary compound!

There's even talks in the stadium...

You might have this as your view during your coffee break!

The first day ended with a welcome reception in the national horse centre. This means those allergic to horses must have felt somewhat unwelcome, but I’m not one of these, and I had a good time. There was wine, there was cheese, and there were lots of people. I caught up with lots, and even ensnared a co-author that I thought I’d lost. He claims to be back on track! That will be one good paper. And afterwards I walked off with Roland, Alex (my former office mate! It was good to see him again!), and a bunch of PhD students that were staying on the camp site too. I wanted to be fresh for the next day though, so I left after one beer.

The welcoming reception

 Me, Alex and Marta enjoying the wine and the cheese!

The entertainment at the reception 

Roland and Alex, who have a long record of working together, talk shop over a beer

I was in bed early. I had moved my tent to a darker part of the camping, as initially I had been within reach of some disturbing strip light, but that would turn out to be no improvement. The PhD students, young and frivolous as they were, continued the party on the camp site, in a way that included quite some yelling and screaming. So the next day I even had difficulty staying awake during the one and only plenary talk... I was a bit grumpy, but I had communicated that so well I would get apologies for days afterwards.

After the last talk I went for a pint and a falafel with Alex; good old times! We even did most of the conversation in Dutch. But again I wanted to try to get a good night’s sleep, so we went back to the tents early, where this time indeed the youngsters kept their calm. And the next plenary talk, on palaeoanthropology, I would be wide awake!

 A well-deserved beer on the street. But surprise surprise, it started raining...

A Bernese pub (good to flee into when it rains)

The Saturday was a day with somewhat fewer interesting sessions, which is why I managed to blog about the conference while it was still underway. But after the last talks we would take advantage of the fact that all four of our project’s field team were present, and we would have a project meeting. I only have about four weeks left on this contract, and several of these will be spent in Switzerland and Scotland! And there’s still lots to do...


Heijnis said...

Leuke blog over INQUA...het was zeker een van de best INQUA conferences. Zeg even hallo tegen Roland! en Hugh Smith.

Groet uit Sydney

Margot said...

Bedankt! En zal ik doen!