So yesterday, I arrived at my hotel (nice big room, in a strange triangular shape, with exposed brick walls) at around 3:30. After making sure I could find the institute, I wandered the city for a couple of hours. I don't think I've ever been here in winter - just summer and fall. It was actually much warmer than I expected (3oC, but by the water there was a bitter wind). Climbing all the hills made me feel out of shape. It was interesting to see areas of town which overflow with tourists in the summer, empty after about 5 pm. Carnivale is over, so, it's past the winter tourist blitz too. In fact, my friend arrived early at the restaurant and before I could reply to her text, she had found me (since there were so few people around). I had a lovely dinner with my friends and their 5 year old son. It's wonderful to have friends in various cities (especially when one can arrange to meet on short notice). Coincidentally, I knew two of the scientists at the defense today too.
In August, one could barely walk along these streets. It's funny to see them empty.
Today was pretty exhausting; thinking in French, at a high, technical level, all day is really tiring. Not only that, but the scientists spoke different sorts of French (from France, Quebec, Switzerland). They were all very nice and complimented me on my French, but it was sort of funny as people tried to work out how bilingual I am. I was so tired afterwards, that I decided to come to the airport early. It wasn't obvious what I could do with an hour or an hour and a half, with all my bags, and wearing a suit (so I didn't want to tramp through the snow). Then, I left my hat in the cab, but I was able to retrieve it, but finding my cab in line at arrivals. (Luckily for me, this is not a large airport). Also: thumbs up for free wifi at the airport! So I can blog quietly, until they assign my flight a gate.