Thursday 3rd July
Left Derby in pouring rain. Arrived in
A bus brought us into the city centre and after walking past the hotel entrance I managed to find the door. A plush modern foyer and a modern clean room with a small window which overlooks the courtyard, no view :<( but it is ‘4 star’so I guess at the price I am paying I can’t expect better – and a front facing room would probably be much noisier.
Friday 4th July
The conference did not start until Friday evening so I was able to have a little look around
I then wandered through the streets, including some very narrow lanes with gloriously coloured bedspreads hanging.
By this time it was very hot (35°C and higher) and I made my way back to the air-conditioned hotel. And slept for some time.
After registering we had to find out own evening meal – a little strange we thought, as at this stage nobody really knew anyone to meet up with, so there may have been some folk who didn’t have anyone to go out with.
We then met back at the hotel to take a bus to the
There we wandered round a limited part of the palace as there was a concert on in one of the large spaces. To be honest it was a bit of a disappointment. I expected lots of gardens and water, but we only saw one or two open courtyards with water. And because the lighting was using spot lights you could not see the colours of the tiling – only revealed when I took a photograph and the flash revealed the colours.
Saturday 5th July
The beginning of the summer school and we had talks and workshops all day and then in the evening we went to the Science Park - a hands on science 'museum' which we had to ourselves, where we were fed tapas - which is basically tasty nibbles.
There was a Foucault pendulum, and a nice model to explain how it happens.
We visited an exhibition about the Antarctic that was originally staged in the Natural History Museum in
We also had a session in the planetarium, and I am beginning to learn how to identify the stars in the sky. We should have had an observing session but they decided everyone (they?) was too tired.
Sunday 6th July
There were more talks and I now have so many activities to do with the position of the Sun in the sky, there can’t be any more? This evening we had our conference dinner. It was at a place belonging to the University with fantastic views across the valley to the
It really is very hot until late into the evening. This is partly because Spain is on Central European Time (the time at 15° E of Greenwich) and its Summer Time but is on about the same longitude as UK (Granada is at 3° E), so is 2 hours ahead of solar time and is hottest mid afternoon. (Can you tell I was at an astronomy conference?) Fortunately we don’t spend too much time out in it. The lecture theatre is air-conditioned, but not the workshop rooms. The hotel is air-conditioned.
Monday 7th July
More workshops and an opportunity to meet the Professor of Applied Physics at the
In the evening we were given 10€ to go and find tapas. With every round of drinks you get a tray of free tapas, so you could feed yourself by drinking your way through the money I guess. However the tapas bars seem not to open before 8.30 to 9.00 and a colleague and I decided to eat earlier and then come back to the hotel and share ideas about teaching physics and astronomy – I know, sad.
Tuesday 8th July
The last day of workshops and an early finish. We then took a coach to Calar Alto an observatory in the mountains about 100 km away. We arrived in the early evening and the all of a sudden, we northerner Europeans felt a whole lot more comfortable. The temperature was around 21 °C and there was a gentle breeze.
We looked at the two largest telescopes – with 2.2 m and 3.5 meter apertures. Access to the larger telescope meant climbing up the outside of the building – which to my amazement I did without difficulty. After a look around two of the telescopes we had an observing session out in the open, trying to put into practice the lessons learned in the workshops.
I had the opportunity to learn how to use my camera to take photos of the stars. A very kind young teacher from
We also visited the control room of the 2.2 meter telescope where the technician astronomer showed us how he spends his nights. The observatory is providing a service for astronomers in
Wednesday 9th July
We were allowed a late start as we did not get back from our observations until after 2.00 am. We went to a different venue today – the
No running but I have walked lots and used the stairs almost every time coming up to my 5th floor room. Not eaten too much I think but drinking litres of water.
Saturday 10th July
Home and time to download the photos and sort the wheat from the chaff. I have some rather cool image processing software image-j which is used to process medical images. I tried it on some of my star photos wow !
And finally a piece of street ironwork that caught my eye!
More pictures will go up on flickr.
Running? I have done a couple of runs since I got back and now have a schedule to take me to Robin Hood, which includes lots of strength stuff at the gym.