Friday, October 28, 2016


that's 16km south of Dubrovnik
Sure, it was a whole week, and there were day trips away from the hotel and all, and classes on defense, and bridge tournaments in the evening. Lots of stuff to keep me occupied, and company at every turn.
So I was duly occupied and distracted and managed not to play too terribly badly most of the time. The weather was often nice, the scenery interesting.
But it was just sad to be on my own on a trip anticipated for so long as an experience to share.
No further comment, just pix.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Going to Croatia

Had to cut short the workshop in Warsaw in order to get home, change luggage, and go off for a week in Croatia.
9 am departure, so the group should be at the airport by 7. Yeah, sure!
There on time, and it's hurry up & wait. Our charter flight was coming in from Paris, and the airport decided it didn't have the ground crew necessary for an 'extra' arrival. So it refused to let the plane come in, and the Paris people sat around in Paris, and the Clermont people sat around in Clermont for an extra two hours, until the Clermont airport decided, well, maybe after all we'll let you fly.
I wouldn't mind waiting around if only the Card Player was with me.
Started some knitting.
Strange how people are so impressed by knitting.
Our tour operator did wrangle coffee and pastries for us, and also managed to change our lunch plans on arrival in Cavtat - we gave her a workout early and often over the week.

The view from my room.
Seems like too big a room for just one person.
Though I might have been imagining the echo.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Warsaw in color

Just one more comment about the trip to Warsaw. On the train to & from the airport you get a look at some rather promising graffiti. Got to go back someday and wander around the edges of town, in the sun, and see what they've got.

A few shots from the speeding train -

Gives a bit of color to a drab day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Ah, so I didn’t tell you about Warsaw, or Dubrovnik, did I ?

Well, since I have nothing in particular to do tonight, there being no bridge class or bridge playing or Russian practice or Rotary dinner or even a low-key comfortable evening with my sweetie in sight (what ? sweetie, did you say ? ah, er, that too), there’s time for blogging.

Warsaw, for the latest in a series of clinical workshops on ataxia-telangiectasia. Mireille invited me, and I do like to keep up, even though I don’t work on this rare disease any more.  M reserved for me the earliest possible flight for the day before the workshop, to satisfy my penchant for walking around and seeing any new town I’m in. It’s too lame to go somewhere for a workshop and not see anything but the hotel and the airport.

Alas, the weather reports 4 months in advance were not accurate enough to tell me it was going to be cold and rainy on just my walking around day. Not one of those clear & mild fall days, no. One of the dreary & damp kind.

On the good side, it did not rain until after I found my hotel. I felt ridiculous finding my hotel. I had a lame map that I started out just off the edge of, and furthermore was convinced that I was looking for a place on the wrong segment of a discontinuous street. I like walking around, so it should be a good thing to spend 90 minutes charging up one avenue and down another trying to figure out where the heck was I on the map and was I even going in the right direction.

Oh, yes, go discover curious statuary and little-known parks and the real Polish-people-live-there avenues. Just do it without the soggy wind and the miraculous bag that spontaneously gains a pound every half mile. And do it after lunch. Enough with thinking you can have lunch when you get there, if you’re not getting there until 3pm.

Finally got turned around right and found the hotel, just a hundred yards from the train station where I started out. You just have to go the other way from the beginning. It’s right there on the other side of the shopping mall.

Ah, the shopping mall. Food, now all the proper lunch restaurants are not serving. Thing with the shopping mall, like the hotel, is that it’s exchangable with any other shopping mall in the western world. There is not a shop or eatery that I have not seen in France, and often in the US. Chains, every one. Aside from the language, it’s all the same. Even the prices are similar to what I’d pay locally. Feh.

A bit later, I meet up with a couple of colleagues arrived for the workshop, and we decide to trust in a break in the rain and hop a bus to the old town. It’s our only chance to see anything, because there’s no break in the workshop schedule and we’re all leaving right at or even before the end. We get there about 5:30, in the rapidly falling dusk.

It was too late to visit the insides of any of the historical sights, but the outsides were nice, and we were able to eavesdrop on a guided tour in English as it passed through the main square. Only two of the surrounding buildings were left standing at the end of WW2; the rest are all reconstructions. Some of the shops were open, and we appreciated that amber is a big local deal - anything you can make out of amber you can get here in Warsaw. The bigger the creation, the better. There was even an evening dress laden with several pounds of the stuff.

Then it was dark, and more importantly, colder and wetter than before, so we decided to go for wine and a snack at the hotel, and to check out our colleagues as they arrived.

The workshop continued over the next three days, and it was good though I had to leave halfway through. A shame - the présentations that do connect with my current work were all scheduled for after my departure. I'll get the notes from someone later.