Well it was a very eventful trip to the Netherlands, first I left my wallet on the bus, so I had to make a decision whether to even get on the plane and have no money, or to stay and try to recover it. Luckily I had stashed some Euros in my bag before leaving, something I never usually do but it happened that I had some left over from my last trip in Europe. This was enough to get my on a train to the conference venue where my colleague Lindzai kindly covered my bill. Someone found my wallet though, however not before I had cancelled all my cards! Oh well best to be safe than sorry.
The conference was really good, so many interesting lectures by coral reef legends such as Paul Falkowski father of Aquatic Photosynthesis and Sylvie Tambutte along with her husband Eric make a leading team in the field of coral physiology. I also spoke to a lot of interesting scientists where I could ask questions surrounding their work and mine and gain contacts in relevant fields. On the Thursday of the conference we visited Burgers zoo in Arnhem. It was amazing, the best zoo I have ever been too. If you have ever been to one of those zoos where they have an African exhibit, where elephants, giraffes and rhinos are all together, then this zoo is like that but ten times better. They have these eco-exhibits; the Bush, Desert and Ocean, where loads of animals are all together. The bush for example is actually a functioning rainforest with a big river with Amazonian fauna such as piranha and manatees, none of this glass bottom exhibits, but natural waters where you have to wait for the animals to surface to see them, the exhibit also has numerous tropical birds, reptiles and mammals wondering the enclosure. It was so big once in you can’t see the edges, it has a roof also so it really is like a tropical rainforest, it was snowing outside and 30 degrees inside! If you’re ever in the area I defiantly recommend. Their coral reef tank was outstanding, I could not begin to explain the size of it, it makes London aquarium look like a home fish tank, and the coral growth is fantastic, they actually have to crop tones of the stuff each year, which led me to gain a useful contact for supplies.
The way home lead to more trauma. Due to the snow we needed the wings to be deiced and currently there was a que of planes in front of us, then the deicer vehicle broke down, then Luton closed, even though we were flying to Stansted was apparently an issue as it was our secondary runway, so we had to refuel incase we had to go elsewhere. Our flight was meant to depart at 9.30pm and we finally left at 1.00am. Luckily the taxi driver waited for us. I felt very guilty though as I couldn’t give him a tip due to having no wallet!
And that was my trip… eventful… bring on Germany, France and Mexico over the next month!