Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Back from the Tour
1) In May, I was back in Oz for a month, visiting UQ for work, and visiting Jacqui, my family, her family and all my mates. When trying to see everyone, catch up, get some serious work done and spend time with Jacqui, a month is not a very long time at all! I was a quite a full month. One my brother sends me the photos, I'll post some pictures from a night at the Finn's with the boys before I left. It was good to see everyone, though it was harder to leave this time.
2) Following my Australian tour, I went directly to Europe, for a three week workshop on quantum magnetism. This was held in the research centre above the town of Les Houches, France. Les Houches is near Chamonix (near the Italian and Swiss borders), which sits at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe (that's some of it behind me - photo taken from a hike up to 2000m above sea level, Mont Blanc is 4800m).
All I can say is WOW - what a location! Really, it's indescribable; I'll need a whole post to show a fraction of the photos from all the hiking. During the winter it's skiing and summer it's hiking and mountain biking. Here's a photo of me on top of La Prarion, ~2000m above sea level.
Also the view from the balcony of my own room. Not a bad view, eh?
Then there's me a with a bit more altitude: around 3800m, on top of Aguille du Midi. Talk about thin air, after an hour and a half I was starting to see stars. Then a blizzard hit and we got stuck in an elevator (more about that in a later post)
Finally, there's the result of hiking up a couple of mountains and two glaciers!
3) One day after I gor back from France, Jacqui arrived in Vancouver for a 2 and half week holiday. This time we went over to Victoria, on Vancouver Island for a night, which included a day on scooters and high tea at the Empress hotel (expensive tea and scones). We also did the Grouse Grind - a ridiculously steep hike up to the top of Grouse mountains, where we saw a pair of Grizzly bears. and went whale watching, and saw some magnificent Orcas, including 2 babies, right up close - one jumped out of the water about 3 m from the back of the boat, awesome. On top of all this, we experienced Canada day, complete with fake maple leaf tattoos!
4) WORK - seriously I've been working.
This Friday I'm back on the road again. I'm giving a seminar at a conference being held in Banff, which is another absolutely beautiful location for a physics conference! We sure know how to pick them.