Off to Brussels – can anyone recommend any good cafes or pubs?

This evening I’m taking the train to Brussels for a day of meetings on Tomorrow. I don’t suppose that anyone can recommend any good cafes, pubs or restaurants? I’m going to be staying in a hotel near the museum of natural sciences. Unfortunately I’ll be in town for less than 24 hours so there isn’t a lot of time to explore…

I’m really hoping that while I’m there I manage to get to the Australian embassy to vote, and that I also manage to down a Chimay!


So long and thanks for all the chips!

It’s been a really long time since I last posted here. Mostly, that’s because in the last few months I’ve been leading a rather nutzoid existence.

Some time back I posted that my contract in Bristol was ending and I was looking for work. Well, I went grant and postdoc hunting and eventually I decided to take an offer of a postdoc in Hannover in Reinhard Werner’s group.

Even since I made that decision I’ve been applying for visas, packing, throwing away loads of stuff, re-packing, throwing away more stuff, finding homes for various pieces of furniture and sending big boxes of stuff to various places. Oh, and there’s been leaving drinks like 15 billion times (or at least it feels like it).

Now I’m on my way to Germany (I’m actually writing this on the plane, I guess I’ll post it later) and it’s all suddenly much less about organizing and much more about doing. Doing is always a lot more exciting.

Somewhat weirdly the Lufthansa in-flight magazine has a feature on Bristol in it! They describe it as a "crazy, laid back" city. I think that somewhat paradoxical description fits pretty well. I doubt this needs to be said, most people that know me know that I’m going to really miss Bristol. I’ve made loads of really great friends and done so many wonderful things. I’ve been trying to think what I’ll miss most: Maybe bugging the guys in the office all the time with my incessant prattling? Having drinks with friends in ultra-hip or ultra-un-hip surrounds? The music and art? Good pie (and ale)?

Now, away from the reflective and back to the exciting. I’m (hopefully if the paperwork is sorted) starting my new job next week! It’s going to be interesting to adjust to another group’s style of working, hopefully I manage to do it quickly! I’m a little concerned that my skill set is very different to that of a lot of the people in the group, but I guess that just means that I’m gonna have to learn more (and hopefully I can teach the others some new tricks as well). Oh, and I’m gonna have to get a lot better at German!

In any case, the next few months are going to be very interesting. There’s going to be loads of challenges but there are also going to be heaps of opportunity to experience new things.

Oh, and at some point I might have to change the name of this blog. I need to think more about that.

It’s been a while: know your travel rights edition

Well, it’s been a really long while since I posted. I guess a lot of that has to do with travel. I don’t know what it’s like for others, but doing the whole travel thing throws my rhythm totally off. This is both a blessing, especially when it comes to cranking out the theories, and a curse, as in the case of regular blogage goodness.

Anyway, seeing as travel is on my mind but mostly because it’s 5:30 AM and my girlfriend is stuck at the airport due to a canceled flight I thought I’d point people to a VERY USEFUL little EU regulation, EC 261/2004 (wiki version). Basically, EC 261/2004 is a kick-ass little regulation that was designed to discourage airlines from screwing over passengers. Some of the handy things in this regulation include:

  • If your flight is cancelled for a reason that has been caused by the airline then they owe you a flight.
  • On top of that, if they haven’t given you enough notice (14 days) or your travel plans get screwed about they owe you €. What’s more the amount they must pay you, in some circumstances, be much more than the cost of the ticket.
  • This holds for all carriers operating in the EU. That is, even if the airline is some bodgy budget thing they still have to abide by the regulation.
  • The airline is supposed to offer the compensation to you and make you aware of your rights.
  • They can’t opt out by offering you flight vouchers etc. If they owe you, they owe you money in € as this is compensation and it is not a gift from the airline (as some airlines will try to tell you).
  • Oh, and if you are delayed by more than a few hours they owe you food and accommodation on top of the € and the flight that you’ve already paid for.

Essentially, if you are traveling in an EU country and your flight is unexpectedly delayed (by more than a couple of hours), cancelled, or overbooked because of something within the airline’s control then you should always enquire about compensation under EC 261/2004!

Escaping the cold

Geez, sorry everyone I really dropped the ball on the Weakly Abstract this week. Frankly with Easter and everything I just didn’t get the time to crank out a post.

I should mention that there probably won’t be a Weakly Abstract next Monday either as I’ll be on the road. Hopefully I’ll manage to squeeze in a post later in the week as there have been some very good papers in the last couple of weeks.

Anyway, from today onwards I’ll be on the road for about the next 6 weeks!

From Monday next week I’ll be visiting the Quantum Information and Technology group at the National University of Singapore for a couple of weeks. After that I’m going back home to Brisbane for a week, then I’ll be in Sydney for a couple of weeks visting the Quantum Information Science and Security group at Macquarie Uni. Finally I’ll be heading to Brissie for another week before my journey back to Brizzle.

Now, back to getting my packing finished…