Back from Europe

I have just returned from Sweden and Holland and had an extremely enjoyable trip. I will post on scientific aspects of both visits in subsequent posts, but for now wish first to record my appreciation for the personal hospitality shown to me in Sweden by Fred Goldberg and in Holland by Marcel Crok of NWT.

In addition to the KTH conference on Sept 10-11, Fred Goldberg took me and a couple of other early arrivers on a boat cruise through a lake district in the middle of Stockholm. The boat cruise was on his own medium-sized power boat and took about 5 hours; crayfish were in season and are a local delicacy. The terrain is granite with pine trees like the Muskoka/Georgian Bay terrain in Canada -w hich most Canadians regard as particularly beautiful. The water vista of Stockholm is quite remarkable and one that I recommend to any other visitors. Each night had an excellent dinner in a different venue.

In Holland, I made two presentations – at the meteorological institute (KNMI) in the morning of Sept 14 and at the Free University in the evening. Both sessions were well attended – probably about 50 at KNMI and 120-150 at the Free University (I don’t have experience in estimating crowds and was too busy to make an informed estimate). After the KNMI session, I had lunch and talked for a couple of hours with the scientists interested in reconstructions – Nanne Wber, Rob van Dorland and Jos de Laat. I also had two long newspaper interviews and a meeting with an interested mathematician. Plus again excellent dinners with Marcel Crok and his charming wife. I’ll need to go on a diet. I talked more in 36 hours than I’d talked in the previous month, probably 2 months.

It is impossible to comprehend the number of bicycles in Amsterdam. There are tens of thousands of bicyles parked everywhere in Amsterdam and especially at the rail stations. Most streets have reserved lanes for both bicycles and street cars with cars having third priority in the city center. In Toronto, we’re having disputes over reserving street car lanes and have some limited bicycle lanes but this decision had been affirmed long ago in Amsterdam.

At the Free University, I was amazed to see a sign saying “Lezing McIntyre”, something that I’d never seen before in any language. A photographer from the university newspaper wanted to take my picture so I made sure that one was taken to include the sign. After the presentation, a couple of groups of students came up and wanted to have their picture taken with me. My daughter who’s the same age would have rolled her eyes in disbelief.

Both Stockholm and Amsterdam are extremely pleasant cities to visit and, in different ways, offer excellent models for what modern cities can aspire to. Combined with the personal hospitality shown to me, it made for a great week. Later I’ll chat about scientific issues in Stockholm and Holland.

14 Comments

  1. fFreddy
    Posted Sep 17, 2006 at 7:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Welcome back, Steve. Apologies for my ignorance, but what does Lezing mean ?

  2. TCO
    Posted Sep 17, 2006 at 7:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    lecture. Suspected from context and confirmed by googling.

  3. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 17, 2006 at 7:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    altavista.com has a Dutch-to-English machime translation if you click their BabelFish translation tool.

  4. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 17, 2006 at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There was an article in one of the Toronto newspapers about the forthcoming Swedish elections and a large unpleasant suburb of Stockholm with its own share of domestic politics so I obviously saw the better part of the city.

  5. Jean S
    Posted Sep 17, 2006 at 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re #4: Yes, today is the election day in Sweden. According to the latest polls, there is going to be a shift in power. Which suburb was that?

  6. welikerocks
    Posted Sep 17, 2006 at 7:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Did you ever think that a Hockey Stick could turn into a magic carpet ride?
    Glad you are back safe and sound SteveM!

    I was in Amsterdam almost 20 yrs ago- yikes. It is a neat place and left an impression on me to this day.

    Cheers! :)

  7. Jean S
    Posted Sep 17, 2006 at 7:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It is impossible to comprehend the number of bicycles in Amsterdam. There are tens of thousands of bicyles parked everywhere in Amsterdam and especially at the rail stations

    From my experience, you have to be careful with cyclist over there… they do not have too much respect for people using their own legs ;) The really nice thing about Amsterdam is the thing that the center is only 20 minutes from the airport. I have had several times 3-4 hours time to change planes at Schiphol, which is perfectly enough to go to downtown to have a cup of coffee instead of getting bored to death at airport.

  8. JerryB
    Posted Sep 17, 2006 at 8:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Welcome back Steve!

  9. fFreddy
    Posted Sep 17, 2006 at 8:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #2, #3, thanks

  10. Posted Sep 17, 2006 at 1:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #6:

    Did you ever think that a Hockey Stick could turn into a magic carpet ride?

    Some might think it was a broom stick (… smile!…) rather than a magic carpet — to ride on and to clean with.

  11. per
    Posted Sep 17, 2006 at 5:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    trips all over the world ? You are becoming an academic :)
    enjoy !
    per

  12. Margot Saher
    Posted Sep 18, 2006 at 12:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I happened to be able to attend one of the European lectures; the one at the Free University. It was an interesting and well-argumented talk. A bit at odds with the announcement, that portayed the speaker as “the man who is on a mission to prove that there’s no such thing as anthropogenic climate change”, or something like that. Anyway, that was the way to attract quite a large audience. Including a raving old man who indeed WAS on a mission to prove that there’s no such thing as anthropogenic climate change! Who blamed it all on the Marxist Russians (sic) and who was obviously not open to rational arguments. I hope this man did not spoil it for either the speaker or the rest of the audience.

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 18, 2006 at 5:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Here is a url for the announcement of my visit to the Free University. "The ‘bad boy’ of climate science is visiting the NEtherlands……

  14. Posted Sep 18, 2006 at 6:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    Welcome back! I’ve never been to Stockholm, but was in Amsterdam a few times. In my opinion, there are two countries in the Netherlands: Amsterdam and the rest. We went on a bike trip there 20 years ago, when my wife was pregnant of our first daughter. We chose that country because we were always on bike paths and the terrain is mostly flat, so it was an easy and relaxed trip given her condition. The “rest” of the country was very pleasant, with a surprisingly varied landscape : I imagined it full of tulip fields with windmills in the background, but instead we crossed lake districts, forests, sand dunes, charming countryside, and pleasant cities. Overall one of our most pleasurable trips. We’re thinking of re-doing the same trip next year, as it will be its 20th anniversary. If you ever go back there, make sure you visit the entire country, it’s really worth it.

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