Earlier this month I was lucky enough to be invited to Strasbourg to begin work on the first assemblage of my PhD. I was extremely excited to go to finally have some of my own data to work with, and the venture offered the opportunity to test my methodology in a safe environment. So the day after my birthday I set off, via Amsterdam, to Strasbourg!
My work in Strasbourg went extremely well. I analysed 3000 bones in about 5 days, completing the site that I went there to do (Rosheim) and even managing to sample another (Bischoffsheim) because hey, I was there, my plane didn’t leave until the afternoon! I’m getting some interesting results already, feeding excel my data and making it produce countless pie charts. I think I worked harder on this bone assemblage than I ever have before, due to the close time frame, to the point at which I was physically shaking at the end of the day! Time to get a glass of wine…
The city of Strasbourg can be described in two words – ‘green’, and ‘stone’. Oh, and maybe ‘clean’. Oooh and ‘pretty’! And sunny! Hmm there are lots of words actually. It is an absolutely beautiful city with fantastic architecture and a huge, quite frankly showing-off, cathedral. The Cathedral also has an astronomical clock because why not? Everything’s symmetrical, all the trees are the same, the rivers and canals are beautiful and the houses all have that medievally wooden face thing that I always do to any house I make in the Sims. There are three ways to get around in Strasbourg – walking, cycling, or by tram. There are cyclists EVERYWHERE, with bikes attached to every surface. Riding the trams to and from the museum every day was really good fun too, they’re so satisfying, just snaking around. You can never get lost in Strasbourg (although we gave it our best) because all you need to do is find one of the many tram rails and follow it until you get to a station, which all helpfully have maps on them of where you are.
Once the day was over we quite often explored the city and sometimes went for some food. Through the cobbled streets and tall buildings we roamed in search of deliciousness, and we always found it. Alsatian food specialises in pork (I think) and they cook it to perfection. It’s all about big portions and eating and drinking well in Alsace; people are friendly and calm (even the cyclists and the cars get along!). It’s a really fantastic city and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Had we had more time there we could have gone for bike rides in the surrounding countryside, but we were confined to the city for the most part and didn’t mind one bit.
I’m back in Exeter for less than two weeks as on Friday I go on a different kind of excursion – a week’s holiday to Fuerteventura! Taking out the bone manuals and replacing them with my bikini and sun hat is very satisfying. By the time I’ve finished my PhD I’m going to be a very seasoned traveller! Those who know me (and those who were there when I was gearing up to get my flight back from Strasbourg alone, for the first time) will know that I’m a
pretty really nervous traveler and in general like to stay in my comfort zone (i.e. Britain). I cannot express how good an experience these three years will be and how much more confident I’m already feeling about foreign travels. It’s all good 🙂 watch this space for more excitement.
See you when I get back!