Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Belgian adventures

Last weekend we were in the Belgian city of Ghent for the annual conference of the Palaeontological Association. As always, we saw all the people we hadn’t seen since the last annual meeting, met new ones, got to know about the latest in palaeontological research. Since this is a palaeontological meeting, copious amounts of alcohol were also involved. (Naturally, our imbibing was moderate, and I would say that even if my mother weren’t reading this blog.)

Architecturally Ghent is very interesting, at least those bits I managed to see of it in the short intervals going to and coming from the conference hall. I don’t know what this building is, but it looks impressive.

This is one of three cathedrals. I didn’t find out why they needed so many, and all on the same street.

There was a bit of snow while we were there, as you can see.

Getting back was interesting, which is of course in this context a euphemism for unpleasant. We waited in Brussels for 5 hours, two hours of which were turning up early, and one and a half the gap between our train (cancelled) and the next. That train finally left another 90 minutes late. Still, we were a lot better off than the people at Heathrow, or even St Pancras – at least we knew that we would eventually get on a train, and we had a warm waiting room and moderately comfortable seats. The leg from London to Leeds went smoothly, with just long enough to get something to eat. Since it was 9.30 p.m. by this point, the train wasn’t crowded. The really unpleasant part of the journey was the two and a half hour wait in Leeds, between our train arriving around midnight and the sole Huddersfield train leaving.

This post is getting quite long enough, and I don’t want it to turn into a whinge, so I won’t mention that we both acquired a nasty cold while abroad and aren’t fit for anything but drinking hot drinks and surfing the internet.

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