A quick trip with my parents and brother to the home of the Beatles revealed Liverpool to be a surprisingly pretty British city. Cruising around in a bright yellow Fiat 500L rental car on the wrong side of the road all day, made me feel like steering a yellow submarine through an octopus’s garden, no LSD needed. Although we were definitely not the only Fab Four groupies in town, I’m pretty sure my dad enjoyed his birthday present!
After my weekend in London, I spent a couple of days in Guildford, which is like 30 min south of London. I was visiting Mark Gieles and Justin Read, who both recently took up their professorships at the University of Surrey. The two are the initiators of the Gaia Challenge workshop, which happened last August in Guildford. This year, there will be a second edition of the workshop in Heidelberg, where I’m very much looking forward to as I will be leading the stream group together with Andreea Font. In preparation for that, and as a recapitulation of the first Gaia Challenge, we started writing a collaborative paper with our stream group. The paper is going to be written publicly on Authorea, which is – like the workshop – very experimental and novel in its design and approach. On my last night in Guildford, the Surrey people took me and visiting astronomer Andrea Maccìo out for dinner to one of Jaime Oliver’s Italian restaurants. A delicious last night with British lamb, fresh mint, and great wine. As you can see in the picture, the astronomy group of Surrey University is a young and fun mix of people. They gave me good reason to come back!
I just started my Euro trip 2014 with a weekend in London. Surprisingly, this was pure leisure and not at all work-related. The weather couldn’t have been better, not a single drop of rain, and so I’ve seen this incredible city from a completely new perspective. Most of the time I spent walking through the gorgeous parks, having snackies and drinks in the sun, watching the sunset from Primrose Hill, or strolling over the weekend markets. I decided that I should make stop-overs in awesome places more often. It’s worth every penny.