Monthly Archives: June 2013

Our last days in Rotterdam and Europe … heading home

Oliver and I fly home to Sydney tomorrow. We are packed and ready to check out in the morning. Once we check out, we catch a metro train from our hotel to Rotterdam Central, then an express train to Amsterdam Schiphol airport, then a 3 hour or so wait for our first flight, then a 6.5 hour flight to Dubai, then a 2 hour lay over in Dubai, then a 14 hour flight to Sydney, then immigration, customs, a taxi and home to our beds!

We will spend the better part of 30 hours travelling door to door. I'm not looking forward to it because I caught a cold somewhere on our travels and feel pretty ordinary today. A man at the conference, who also has a cold, told me tonight that 25% of people develop a cold within a couple of days of flying!

Although Oliver and I have been busy at the conference — Oliver has made a lot of friends amongst the conference delegates — we squeezed in a few final fun things together.

Yesterday (Friday) afternoon, Oliver took a swim in the very fancy hotel pool. The pool deck has amazing views of the Rotterdam skyline.

Our hotel pool


On Friday Oliver also visited The New Institute (or Het Nieuwe Instituut in Dutch) with Nina, Doris and John. Oliver was keen to take me there this morning and navigated us back past Rotterdam landmarks without any trouble. Rotterdam has many wonderful museums and art galleries. Het Nieuwe Instituut “celebrates the innovative power of architecture, design and e-culture”. Right now it is staging an exhibition called “The Ruins”. Architecture seems to play a very important part in the history and life of the Netherlands. Rotterdam is considered the architectural capital of the Netherlands with a daring and impressive skyline. You can read more about Rotterdam architecture here.

It struck me as we walked to Het Nieuwe Instituut that old and new co-exist easily side by side in Rotterdam; a testament to the success of rebuilding following the devastation of World War II.

Sights on our way to Het Nieuwe Instituut


The displays at Het Nieuwe Instituut were fantastic and strange. They rather defy description. I think they aimed to express what architecture means to peope in the Netherlands, but i wasn't entirely sure (I guess like all great art?) Better to see (below) than to have me try to tell.






Whatever they meant, Oliver loved them, running from one display to the next, pointing things out. At the end he played for ages in a large building space. Here he used giant foam blocks to create his own architecture.


This afternoon Oliver and I sat in the hotel lobby and said goodbye to our conference friends. Some we will see at home, some we will be in touch with, some we won't see again until the next SARMAC conference (in Canada in 2015; Oliver is already planning to attend).

Tonight we had a final, quiet dinner with Rochelle — my wonderful, long term conference companion — and ran into still more conference friends starting to make their own way home.

Rochelle and Oliver at our last dinner in Rotterdam


Oliver is asleep now. And I will be soon. The last day and night of a wonderful trip together.

Thanks for reading about our adventures. We will see you soon in Sydney.

Amanda and Oliver

My favourite image of Oliver from our visit to Het Nieuwe Instituut


Rotterdam: A city rebuilt

On Wednesday morning Oliver and I packed our bags yet again and walked to Amsterdam Central Railway Station where we bought tickets to Rotterdam. I wish I had the knack of packing light because our bags have grown heavier with each stop; they now are full of solders, knights, books, soccer gear, Crumpler bags etc etc.

Waiting on the platform at Amsterdam Central Station


We arrived in Rotterdam after a slower than expected train journey then a race to the conference hotel in a pricey cab. My first conference session had already started, but I arrived just in time to give my 5 minute talk.

After the talk, we checked into our hotel. For reasons unexplained we were upgraded to a room in a 5 star hotel next to the conference hotel (at no extra cost). So our room easily is the biggest and fanciest we have had on this trip. The room is spacious. We have a spa bath (after no baths only showers everywhere else) and a TV embedded in the bathroom mirror! This morning Oliver enjoyed a bubbly spa bath while watching TV. We are on the top floor of the hotel with a wonderful view over the port of Rotterdam. Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and the 5th largest port in the world.

Our room at the Mainport Hotel, Rotterdam


So Rotterdam very much is a working harbour, like Sydney, and we have wonderful views day and night of many different vessels.


Today I've been at the Biennial Conference of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition: giving two talks (one for myself and one for Penny Van Bergen; both went well), tossing around ideas, and lining up new connections for our team. Five other members of our team — Adam Congleton, Aline Cordonnier, Doris McIlwain, Amanda Selwood, and John Sutton — also gave talks today, which were very well received. Tomorrow and Saturday Rochelle Cox and Misia Temler, also from our group, will present their talks. So, busy.

Oliver went out and about today with the lovely Nina McIlwain, Doris and John's daughter. Oliver has loved being part of the conference scene, talking to people in the team and to researchers from all around the world. I think he is enjoying the limelight as the only kid at the conference. Nina was that kid once, as the daughter of two academics who have travelled far and wide to conferences. She is incredibly smart, articulate and warm and I hope Oliver turns out just like her!

This evening we went to a reception at the Rotterdam City Hall, called Stadhuis. The City Hall, completed in 1915, is one of only two buildings that survived bombing by the Germans on 14th May 1940. On that day, German bombers razed to the ground almost the entire old city, much of it dating from medieval times. Here is what Wikipedia says about the Rotterdam Blitz:

In total, 1,150 50-kilogram and 158 250-kilogram bombs were dropped, mainly in the residential areas of Kralingen and the medieval city centre. Most of these hit and ignited buildings, resulting in uncontrollable fires that worsened the following days when the wind grew fiercer and the fires emerged into a firestorm … Although exact numbers are not known, nearly 1,000 people were killed and 85,000 made homeless. Around 2.6 square kilometres of the city was almost levelled. 24,978 homes, 24 churches, 2,320 stores, 775 warehouses and 62 schools were destroyed.

Below is a painting of Rotterdam sometime between 1890 and 1905, before World War II and the German bombing. You can see the Tower of St. Lawrence' Church, built around 1660, in the background:


Now here is a photo of Rotterdam after the German bombing. Again you can see the Tower of St. Lawrence' Church, this time in ruins:


This photo reminded me of the destruction in Christchurch, New Zealand, still very evident two years after their devastating earthquakes (including the February 2011 earthquake). Here is a photo I took with my brother Gary in April this year. Like Rotterdam, almost all of Christchurch's buildings were destroyed and/or need to be pulled down. An entire city centre gone for all time.

The Christchurch Cathedral after the February 2011 earthquake


Will Christchurch be able to rebuild as Rotterdam has done so successfully? Circumstances are, of course, very different but it was inspiring to visit the beautiful Rotterdam Stadhuis — almost the lone survivor of an earlier age — and then walk outside and around their new Rotterdam.

Inside Rotterdam City Hall or Stadhuis

Inside Rotterdam City Hall or Stadhuis

Outside Rotterdam City Hall or Stadhuis

Modern Rotterdam


Tomorrow is more conferencing while Oliver and Nina seek out some fun. Then later in the day I hope to see more of Rotterdam with Oliver before final conferencing on Saturday and then we fly home from Amsterdam on Sunday. We will let you know what we discover!


Legoland! Part 4: Star Wars

In this final post in our series on Legoland Denmark, we share photos of the Star Wars display in MiniLand.

Being an “old school” Star Wars fan (B.J.J.B; that is, I liked it before JarJar Binks appeared), I recognised the scenes from Episodes IV to VI (Star Wars: A New Hope; The Empire Strikes Back; Return of the Jedi). Oliver knew the others and hopefully I have put the photos roughly in the right order. Perhaps in the comments you can identify the scene and the movie for each picture? Just type in the picture number and what movie it is from and what is happening and I will add it to the caption for each photo plus a credit to you!



















Pretty amazing! My only regret: no Death Star!! Oliver has the Death Star Lego kit at home, but wouldn't it be cool if they made one to the scale of these other scenes? Time for some friendly customer feedback!

So! What do you think? Where are these scenes from? Over to you!

That's it from Legoland. We are off to Rotterdam in a few hours and now up to date on this blog. Catch you soon.

Amanda and Oliver.


Legoland! Part 3: Miniland

At Legoland Denmark, Miniland has models of cities and towns from across Denmark, Europe and the world. The level of detail is amazing. Most models have working parts, such as airplanes, cars, buses, trucks, or boats driving around each scene.

You can ride on a Lego train around Miniland …

Riding the Lego train around Miniland


Or you can walk around the huge area. There are scenes of airports …

The Lego Miniland Airport


Scenes of towns …

Fantastic models, beautifully landscaped


More towns …

Notice Gamera the radioactive duck come to wreck havoc!


Towns by the sea …

So much detail!


Castles, famous buildings and movie sets …

The Danish Palace in Copenhagen (top), Mann's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles (middle), and a film set (bottom)


And scenes of hikers high up mountains (one of Oliver's favourites) …

High on a hill is a lonely goat ...


There is lots more including Lego models of the wonders of the ancient and modern world and life size Lego models of animals on a safari.

It was all so amazing you couldn't help but just sit and stare in wonder …


Amsterdam, bikes, feeling at home and Crumpler

We interrupt our Legoland posts for a quick travel update!

Today Oliver and I travelled from Aarhus to Amsterdam via Copenhagen. This involved one bus ride, two flights and one train ride. It took about 6.5 hours. Oliver is becoming quite the seasoned traveller and, so long as I tell him each of the travel elements to expect for the day, he does not complain (although he is not looking forward to the long flights back to Sydney on Sunday).

Amsterdam seems crazy busy after the peaceful lane ways of Aarhus. The streets here are a profusion of trams and cars and motorbikes and bikes and pedestrians. So. Many. Bikes!!! I thought Aarhus had a lot of bike riders but Amsterdam is Aarhus X 1000. Bikes going everywhere. It makes total sense for the environment but it makes walking the streets precarious. And no one wears helmets. Not even little kids biked around by their parents. I love bike riding but I suspect riding here in Amsterdam would give me a heart attack! No photos unfortunately because I feared being run over if we stopped to click.

Oliver and I emerged this afternoon from our comfy hotel room (check out tomorrow is at noon; bliss!) for a quick scout around. Amsterdam reminds me of London during my first one or two visits; when I didn't know or understand the city; couldn't find my way around; didn't know its secrets. I think it takes a local to help you feel comfortable in cities like London, Amsterdam and perhaps Sydney. I really love London. I'm not intimidated by it. But Amsterdam felt intimidating this afternoon, not knowing where to go or what to see. And so crowded. We needed a local or a visiting “old hand”.

Instead we followed a map on my iPhone to the Amsterdam Crumpler Store. I planned this visit before we left Sydney! As some of you know, I love Crumpler bags and they sell entirely different ones here in Europe. I found out this afternoon that this is because Australian Crumpler sold their European business to a German company. The German company has kept the same logo, general styling and design philosophy but produced a different range of bags. Awesome!

The man in the store was super friendly and gave me a couple of sample cases (apparently they've been celebrating their birthday) and some Crumpler shopping bags. I picked up a few gifts for friends, a cool silver carry on bag for me (since Oliver and my bags are pretty full) and a funky little Crumpler man key ring. The store had so many wonderful bags, cases, notebooks and other stuff to chose from.

If you get the chance, go visit:

Crumpler Shop Amsterdam

Haarlemmerdijk 31

1031 KA Amsterdam

Telephone: +31 (0)20 620 24 54

Amsterdam Crumpler Store


Or read their blog:

Tomorrow we catch the train to Rotterdam for the start of three and a half intensive days of conferencing, starting at 2.30pm with one of my three remaining spoken talks (the 5 minute one). Onwards!!

My new Crumpler bag!


Legoland! Part 2: Around the Park

Legoland Billund Resort in Denmark is laid out in themed areas.

The Legoland Park Map


When you enter, you first walk into Miniland, a huge collection of city scenes and famous buildings from around the world all built out of Lego and landscaped beautifully. We will post pictures in Parts 3 and 4 of our Legoland Blog Extravaganza!

We next visited Pirate Lagoon. The main feature here is a huge lagoon with pirate ships you can ride in. There are water cannons both on the ships and “on land”, beside the Lagoon. So people riding the pirate ships and people standing around the Lagoon can have water battles. Lots of fun, but you end up very wet. Luckily they have drying machines; put in 30 DK and stand in a booth while hot air blasts you and your wet clothes.

Legoland Pirate Lagoon


Getting dry and hanging with pirates at Legoland Pirate Lagoon


Our next stop was Knights Kingdom, with its giant castle and Dragen roller coaster. The roller coaster winds through the bottom of the castle, past huge Lego tableaux from the Knights of the Round Table and an enormous Lego dragon guarding piles of treasure. Then it climbs to the top of the castle and flings you down and around for a while. Lots of fun. We rode this 3 or 4 times.

Dragen roller coaster at Legoland Knights Kingdom


We also visited Legoredo Town, a Western town with cowboys and Indians. There were giant Lego replicas of some American icons and an Indian village …

Legoland's Legoredo Town


We rode a Lego log ride around Legoredo and a Danish woman who sat beside us said it must be strange for us to find a Western town in Denmark. “I guess”, I replied, but then we worked out she thought our accents were American not Australian! By the way, I have no idea how to pronounce Legoredo!

My favourite part of the park was The Temple; an Egyptian themed area with a “Raiders of the Lost Ark” style of ride. You climb into cars and use laser guns to shoot at coloured treasure through a maze inside a pyramid. We rode this one maybe 8 times as Oliver perfected his shooting style and got more points each time.

Legoland's The Temple


One embarrassing part of the park is that during each ride they take photos of you with strategically positioned cameras. Then they try to sell you your “action shot” after you get off. Our photos inevitably were a fright, with hair and mouths going in all directions!

These are just a few snapshots of a very busy day. We also saw a new 4D Chima movie at Lego Studios; the 4D means they throw water over you, for instance, when the characters on screen fly through a waterfall! We also visited Polar Land, Adventure Land, and Duplo Land. And we wandered past a pretty cool mock up of the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. This was part of Miniland, which we will cover in detail in Part 3 of our blog on Legoland. But I just want to say how cool these models are. Many of them have cars and trucks and boats tootling around. The Space one had the rocket counting down and then igniting. It was really amazing!


Oliver's favourite parts of Legoland were:

1. Legoredo Town

2. Pirate Lagoon

3. Dragen roller coaster


Mine were:

1. The Temple

2. Lego shops

3. Miniland


More on Miniland in Part 3 of our Lego Adventure!


Legoland! Part 1: Billund Resort, Denmark

This morning we caught intercity train 18 from Aarhus to Vejle. This train went on to Copehangen but we got off at Vejle after 45 mins.

We then caught bus no 143 from Vejle train station to Billund and a stop right outside Legoland. This ride took 35 mins. So the whole journey from Aarhus to Legoland took about 1.5 hours (and about the same time returning, although a little slower because of a wait between the bus and the train).

On the train to Legoland


We booked our tickets at Aarhus train station yesterday and the guides helpfully gave us details of train and bus numbers and connections, as well as calculated the best train and bus times so we arrived around 10am when Legoland opened and returned to Aarhus around 8pm for a reasonable bed time. Very helpful!

For Oliver and I, our all-in-one train and bus fare was 316 kroner (DK), although I think Ollie was free (up to 12 years). This is about $60 AUS. Not cheap but then I don't think much in Denmark is cheap. But the train and bus were cheaper and easier than hiring a car and driving ourselves (they drive on the “wrong” side of the road here in Denmark!!).

As an aside, I suspect we've spent way too much money in Denmark because the exchange rate is tricky. 1 DK is about AUS 20 cents. And AUS $1 is 5 DK. This seems harder maths when out and about (e.g., converting 359 DK to Australian dollars) than converting pounds to dollars (I usually just multiple pounds by about 1.5, but actually that underestimates the cost in Australia dollars, so I'm clearly not doing very well budget wise). I also wasn't able to put DK onto my Travelex cash passport. I found the cash passport super helpful in London for managing our spending and didn't use my credit card much. But for Denmark, I underestimated how much DK we would need when I exchanged money at Heathrow, and so have charged more expenses to my credit card, which means extra fees. I'll be back using the cash passport when we get to the Netherlands and euros tomorrow.

Tickets into Legoland cost 578 DK or AUS $110 for 1 adult and 1 child. I think this compares favorably with the cost of the Gold Coast theme parks. Entry into Legoland would have been 20% cheaper if we booked a week or more ahead but we didn't know which day we were going.

The entrance to Legoland Billund Resort, Denmark


So AUS $170 for transport and park entry. But once in, almost all rides and attractions are free (apart from two or three things we skipped).

We rode lots of rides in the 6-7 hours we were there; probably 12 different rides, some a few times. The wait in line never was more than 5-10 minutes. In comparison, I read on Trip Advisor that the wait for rides at Legoland Windsor typically is 40-60+ minutes! We skipped a few rides that looked busy and I also avoided most of the rides where you get soaked.

At Billund, most of the lines are under cover, which is great for the changeable weather (it showered on and off most days we were in Denmark, including our day at Legoland). And many of the areas set aside for queues are decorated with Lego displays to occupy you while waiting.

One of the Lego displays along the queue into the Dragen roller coaster


Legoland is super impressive. Apparently 60 million Lego bricks are used throughout the resort. The resort itself is immaculately clean and beautifully maintained. Even the garbage bins are shaped like Lego. The food is okay but very expensive, so I would recommend packing your own.

Lego garbage!


The resort is set out in themed areas, much like Seaworld or Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, but everywhere there are life size Lego figures, which make it especially charming and fun. We will post separately about the different areas, but for now, here are some photos of the figures around the park.



As you'd expect, there are many, many Lego outlets throughout the park, with Lego stuff not available in Australia. We enjoyed browsing and picked up a few small things.

Lego mini figure key rings. 3 for 99.95 DK!


In Part 2 we will write about and post pictures from different parts of the park. In Part 3 we will post pictures from Miniland, a huge highlight of our visit. And in Part 4 we will post pictures for Star Wars fans!


Sunday in Aarhus: Our Wimbledon rest day

The Wimbledon Championships at the All England Club, which start tomorrow, run over two weeks in June and July each year. Two weeks. Almost exactly the same length as our trip. At Wimbledon, the middle Sunday — the Sunday after the first full week of play — traditionally is a rest day. So too for us. Today we are having an easy day. Resting our legs and feet and preparing for our busy second week of travelling.


Tomorrow we are booked for a full day at Legoland Denmark. We need to be on a train just after 8am and then won't return to our hotel until after 8pm. On Tuesday we have two flights: Aarhus to Copenhagen and Copenhagen to Amsterdam. So another long day of travelling. On Wednesday we are catching a train to Rotterdam and launching straight into three and a half days of conferencing. My first talk is Wednesday afternoon. Then we fly home next Sunday.


So today is our Wimbledon rest day. It is quieter here in Aarhus than yesterday, Saturday. Perhaps everyone else is resting as well?

Oliver slept late this morning and we took our time heading to breakfast and then out and about. We considered visiting the ARoS Art Museum (ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum in Danish) or the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisk Museum in Danish) at the University of Aarhus. But instead we agreed on a slow day.

We crossed the street to browse Salling, a department store much like Myers in Sydney. Oliver bought some “Lone Ranger” Lego and I bought Louisa a cool, purple winter jacket (on sale since it is summer here). We then walked to the train station to buy our train tickets to Legoland for tomorrow.

Salling Department Store and Louisa's new jacket


Right now we are set up in a cosy corner of the lobby of our hotel (since our room is pretty compact). Oliver is building his Lego in between playing on a hotel computer and the foosball table. We have drinks and snacks and books and iPads and a plan to chill out until it's time for an early dinner.

Cozy in the hotel lobby


There is so much in Aarhus we could be seeing, but like the tennis players who make it through the first week at Wimbledon, we need to regroup and recharge. I think we will enjoy the days and sights to come if we stop rushing for one day and just breathe in and out for a while.

So more soon from us. Meanwhile, enjoy the tennis!


Out and about in Aarhus

My first conference finished yesterday. Oliver patiently sat through two long days of conference talks so his reward is free time together for the next few days until we head to Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Last night, after the conference, Oliver ate pizza with members of my team, including Misia and Rochelle. I had dinner with our hosts from Con Amore and the other keynotes at a famous Aarhus restaurant called Det Glade Vanvid. It means “the happy madness”. The restaurant is right next to the harbour with lovely views. There is only one sitting per night and everyone is served a set menu of the fanciest, finest little dishes. I can hardly describe the food because it was so intricate, complex and beautiful. Before each course, a waiter “presents” each dish, which involves describing all the ingredients and how it is made. Licorice seemed a dominant flavour. It reminded me of the food you see on Masterchef, but 1000 times more edible I am sure!

This morning Oliver and I strolled the streets of Aarhus. We stopped by a toy shop, which had bubble blowers covering the street in bubbles. Oliver enjoyed that; jumping around in a way that seemed to amuse, maybe shock, more well behaved passersby.

A visit to a toy shop in Aarhus


We then strolled on, down to the Aarhus Cathedral (Aarhus Domkirke in Danish), which dates from the 12th century, and the Art Nouveau Aarhus Theatre (Aarhus Teater in Danish), built in the late 19th century. Beautiful old buildings in a large square. The streets are made of cobblestones and apart from slightly treacherous walking, very picturesque.

Looking to the Åarhus Domkirke (top left), a statue of King Christian X (who reigned through two World Wars) outside the Cathedral (top right), restaurants along the canal (bottom left), and the Aarhus Teater (bottom right)


Although the summer solstice passed yesterday, and it stays light here until very late, it is cool and showery. About 15 or 16 degrees this morning. I am glad that Oliver and I packed warm clothes for this trip.

On the streets of Aarhus: beautiful flowers and some spontaneous folk dancing


This afternoon we caught a bus to Tivoli Friheden amusement park, a cross between Sydney's Luna Park and Botanical Gardens, which is just outside the city centre. Apparently locals have been picnicing in the woods here since 1903 and so over the decades formal gardens, pavilions, rides and other attractions were added.

Views of Tivoli Friheden in Aarhus


Oliver set the itinerary for the afternoon and we “rode” two “5D” games/rides: a Western/robot themed one and a haunted house/zombie themed one. The idea is to ride through either a virtual world or a physical (haunted house) world and shoot at things with laser guns. Sort of like souped up XBox games. Oliver loved them.

Waiting to ride Friheden's 5D Haunted House ride


We also played a game of laser tag, rode dodgem cars, ran through an adventure course, had fun with water play, and strolled through the gardens. The park was not at all crowded, perhaps because of some light, intermittent showers. The Danes remind me of the English in their acceptance of rain and outdoor activities. Just carry on and wait for the rain to let up. Australians, I think, would wait for a sunny day knowing that one would come soon enough.

Oliver running the Friheden obstacle course


Oliver and I walked back to our hotel from Friheden and came across yet another beautiful church: the Neo-Romanesque Saint Paul's Church (or Sankt Pauls Kirke in Danish), completed in 1887. Church bells toll day and night in Aarhus. Oliver at first thought he could still hear Big Ben from London!

Sankt Pauls Kirke in Aarhus


Aarhus is a beautiful city and its inhabitants strike me as very content, quite affluent, well dressed and very healthy. Bikes are everywhere and lots of people seem to ride. But Oliver and I noticed that lots of people smoke. Many more than you seem to come across in Sydney. This seems slightly inconsistent with the healthy vibe but perhaps is a European thing.

Tomorrow or Monday we are aiming to visit Legoland. We will when our legs and feet stop hurting from all the walking.

Until then …

Amanda and Oliver


Social Perspectives on Autobiographical Memory

It is Thursday here in Aarhus, Denmark, and today Oliver and I attended an academic conference called “Social Perspectives on Autobiographical Memory”.

About 115 people from around the world have gathered to hear lectures on autobiographical memory and to present their research.

This morning there were three keynote talks: one on memory errors and distortions, one on social influences on children’s memory, and one on memory and identity. All fascinating!

After lunch we had a “poster session”. This is where people pin up posters that describe their research. It’s the same idea as a poster for a school project, except the posters are usually bigger and printed on fancy material.

You hang your poster on a board and then stand beside it for 1-2 hours while people at the conference walk around, read the posters and talk to the owners of the posters. This afternoon five people from my department and research team at Macquarie presented posters: Adam Congleton (top left photo below), Aline Cordonnier (top right), Rochelle Cox (bottom left), Amanda Selwood (bottom right) and Misia Temler (who escaped my camera). They got lots of comments and questions.


Adam Congleton (top left), Aline Cordonnier (top right), Rochelle Cox (bottom left), Amanda Selwood (bottom right)

I presented a poster for Penny Van Bergen (bottom right photo below), which also got lots of useful comments and questions (which I will email to you Penny!). Finally, we saw many of our colleagues and friends from around the world presenting their work, including Charlie Stone (bottom left photo below) who did a PhD with us at Macquarie, is now finishing up a postdoctoral fellowship in Belgium, and soon will be on his way to a new job in New York.


Sitting in the first keynote lecture (top left), Aline discussing her poster (top right), Charlie Stone presenting his poster (bottom left), Penny Van Bergen’s poster (bottom right)

Oliver was very happy to make a friend today. A nine year old boy from Turkey, Selim Tekcan (right photo below) who attended the conference with his father, academic Ali Tekcan.

Oliver and Selim kept each other company throughout the day, swapping suggestions for iPad games, playing Minecraft together and generally hanging out. This meant that they spent what could have been quite a boring day in good spirits and very well behaved during the formal talks. Everyone at the conference thought they did brilliantly and enjoyed talking with them.


Oliver outside the Aarhus Town Hall (left) and Oliver and Selim (right)

This afternoon we went to a reception at the Aarhus Town Hall – a very beautiful and quite famous building (left photo above). Then we went to the conference dinner, where Oliver sat next to Charlie and had a grand time. He’s hoping to see Charlie again tomorrow and then in Rotterdam when we all head to our next conference.

Everyone at the conference made Oliver feel extremely welcome and he made me proud with his excellent behaviour. In fact, I think he enjoyed being the centre of so much adult attention, especially in his fancy conference dinner jacket!


Oliver in his fancy jacket at the Conference Dinner (left) and Oliver with Charlie (right)

In the morning I give my keynote talk, which I hope will go well. So I better get some sleep!