Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Travel Schlepp "does" Aix-en-Provence

Well, it's been a busy, busy month -- first Buenos Aires, then Karl's dad, and then France.  The conference was in Aix-en-Provence, so getting there was a little longer than usual.  First there was the little hop over to Houston; then the looong flight to Paris.  Once we cleared customs, we worked our way from Terminal 1 to the railroad station in the middle of Terminal 2.  After a wait, we caught a comfortable TGV (high speed) train to the south.

The next day we set out to explore and came across a lovely outside cafe.  Here I finish off a bowl of penne with pesto.  (It also had sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and prosciutto, but I finished that stuff off straight away before Karl could photograph it.)

A while later we stopped by the carrousel on the other side of the central traffic rotory by La Fontaine de la Rotonde. As almost always is the case, the horses were quite friendly. 

On Monday evening after a full day at the conference, we went out with Karl's colleague, George Baldwin, and had a nice meal, again outside.  The weather was a little cool after dark, but that doesn't bother us bears.  After dinner I had a cup of the famous French coffee, which I must admit is very good. 

On the way home we passed by several fountains for which Aix-en-Provence is famous.  I think this is Fontaine d'Eau Chaude, a thermal fountain whose warm waters nourish a healthy ecosystem of moss and ferns.

Along the way back to the hotel on Tuesday evening, we met this French bear.  Very friendly, of course.

Later on we came across the Fontaine du Roi René.  Of course, down at bear height you can't see Good King René standing on the pedestal at the center of the fountain. 

With the conference over by noon Thursday, we took a stroll to the north side of town and another nice restaurant.  As with almost all our meals in Provence, we had the local rosé, always excellent.   

Later on as we roamed farther north, we came across an unusual stuffed critter--a lama, I believe, but possibly an alpaca.  Either way, it gave me a lift on the way to the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur, an amazing church. 

Here's an interior photograph looking up into the marvelous cupola of the cathedral.  The rest of it was a magnificent mixture of ancient and medieval.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll upload some photos to Picasa.

Next stop, Paris....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Came Ye o'er frae France?

Just back from Buenos Aires in time for a rough week with Dad passing on. Karl's brother Paul was here to help out and he's staying on in Albuquerque to take care of Mom.

That means Caro, Karl, and a certain teddy bear can go to the ESARDA-INMM meetings in France. The trip was planned months ago, but with Henry's health so fragile, we weren't sure who if anyone would be able to go.

So tomorrow bright and early, it's off to Houston for a connection to the trans-Atlantic flight. Once at CDG Saturday morning, we'll catch the bullet train from the airport to Aix-en-Provence. Once there we'll settle in at the Hotel Roi René and enjoy the French cuisine and fine wines.

Expect updates in the week ahead.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Southern Cross

I'm writing this from the Southern Hemisphere. In fact it 's the first time Karl and I have been below the equator. We're in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Karl is presenting at The Materials Research Society symposium on The Scientific Basis for Radiological Waste Management.

That was finished late this afternoon and tomorrow we fly home. It's been a long trip for such a short presentation. Right now we've finished off all the e-mails and the last of Karl's single malt Scotch.

"Now fill to me the posting glass. Goodnight and joy be with you all."