Benvenuti in Italia

Adieu, France — Peter and I have arrived in Turin, Italy, where I’ve been lucky enough to get a fellowship to attend the Euroscience Open Forum — basically an all-you-can-eat (and then some) week of science-related talks and events. I’m hoping I can do a liveblogging event, a la New York Times, of one of the lectures — but for the moment I’m writing quickly from the Press Center before meeting up with Peter for a talk about nanofood. Don’t know what that is? Me neither.

Our departure from Paris was none too soon — while most of our time there was great (especially our adventures with Hannah — details to follow) during the last few days it got hot, really hot. Thanks to the unairconditioned state of the apartment we were staying in, I earned a new, unwanted appreciation for my ability to sweat out of pretty much every piece of skin on my body. Who knew one could perspire through the knee?

I kept practicing this skill right up to the moment we got on the train to Turin, a process that involved a lot of running and carrying heavy bags up and down metro stairs. Devoted readers (or at least those who have read the preceding entry) know the process it took to get tickets for the Artesia #9299 to Turin. But once I had them, it never occurred to me that the train ride itself would be anything but pleasant. Imagine my dismay, then, when we found car 8, seats 65 and 66 and discovered that a. they were in the least airconditioned car on the train, b. they were smack in the middle, which meant that we were facing the people across from us, separated by a folding table — giving the impression that we were on a 5.5-hour long forced picnic with strangers — and c. said strangers had such strong body and foot odor that I could actually taste it in my mouth. (Sound gross? It was.)

Luckily our bodies eventually adjusted to the temperature — which, while hot, was nothing on Paris. The same could not be said for the various odors, which lasted — one might even say became stronger — on our way to Turin. But the scenery itself was beautiful, we arrived safe and sound, and we are now ensconced in the world of European science. More to follow.

ps: I am writing this via a browser called “Ice Weasel.” Is this the Italian Fire Fox?

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