Wow! It has been already one year since I started this new stage of my life. Travelling to a new continent, full of dreams and expectations to realize now that it has been just what I expected and even more!
Everything started with my first trip to the north – Tampere, Finland. It was the first meeting of the FibreNet consortium - new friends and supervisors to meet, while everything was harmonized by the promise of a taste of the traditional Finnish sauna. The cold waters of the Näsi Lake showed me the real character of Finnish people; I stayed in the lake for less than 1 minute. In overall, the event was a success and put us on the way to start our research projects and warm me for the first Christmas away from home. After a couple of months, Christmas arrived with its joy and markets full of lights that made feel just like home.
My next stop was in Graz, Austria where the fun continued with some traditional Austrian cuisine and some “kegel” to make our meeting even more comfortable. It was our first opportunity to show the consortium our progress within the project through a poster session that personally, it was a great opportunity to know more about the others ESR’s projects. And we couldn’t leave Austria without having a taste of Graz history with our visit to the Styrian armory museum “Landeszeughaus”, one of the oldest armory in the world.
After a very intense and interesting summer, my destination was Maribor, Slovenia. The meeting was set by delicious food, an engaging public science event and some social activities that have become a tradition in our meetings. Our trip to Bled showed us some traditional gastronomy such as the famous Kremna Rezinna and the island where people get married (Tip: Men need strong legs because the tradition says you must carry your fiancé up the 99 steps – yeah, we tried).
In conclusion, it has been a great adventure with lots of fun and amazing people. All the shared moments with ESRs, supervisors, partners and all members of the consortium have made my life in Europe a complete new experience. I cannot longer wait for the next FibreNet meetings and as Rupert Kargl mentioned in his previous post – Keep the culinary challenge alive!
Carlos Andrés García-Velásquez
ESR5 - Maastricht University