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June 2011

June 17, 2011

The weather has improved much this week, with sunny skies and comfortable walking temperatures. So on Sunday,  I took advantage of the beautiful weather and went north to Mantavo (formally Mantua).

Mantua’s historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the whole country itself. Mantua is noted for its significant role in the history of opera, and the city is known for its several architectural treasures and artifacts, elegant palaces or palazzi, and its medieval and Renaissance cityscape.

On my arrival, I was lucky to stumble upon a lively road march in the streets. I later found out that the celebration was associated with their independence. Lots of musical bands played while the locals cheered them on through the streets.


The Road March:             

I visited the Palazzo del Te, Palazzo Ducale and the San Sebastian museum (which was also once a palace). The palaces were well persevered, most rooms had their own theme, with breathtaking ceilings. The workmanship was impeccable, lots of gold included and the murals were out of this world. Should I even mention the paintings, incredible!


Unfortunately, pictures are not permitted inside the palaces and museums but I managed to snap a few pictures outside. 

Palazzo del Te:

Palazzo Ducale Square:



Museum San Sebastian:


That’s it for this week, Ciao!

Posted by NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education - Ingrid Buckley | 0 comment(s)

June 23, 2011


Well, it seems that I've been posting to my personal blog while I should be posting here!Embarassed To see my previous posts, please go to this link. Also, you can view them from the "View all posts" link above. From now on, I'll post here.Smile


Posted by NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education - Marie Lluberes | 0 comment(s)

June 26, 2011

That’s what’s going on here at Bordeaux. Plenty of fiesta! It is all what this week is been about.

Bordeaux fête le fleuve

Every other year it is celebrated the Bordeaux River Fest, alternating with “Bordeaux fête le vin” (Bordeaux Wine Fest). A variety of theme related activities take place at La Garonne riverbank. There is music, fireworks, expo, etc. The main activities last the weekend, but some activities like expos may stay for a couple of weeks. Although I missed the weekend activities (didn’t find out about it until after it), I was able to attend the expo at La Garonne. The expo is a set of containers, each one with a different topic related to the life of the river: economics, sea life, etc. It’s a simple yet effective way to educate about both biological and economical impact of the river on Bordelaises’ life. Next year it’s the turn for the wine, so for those of you with such taste, save the date!

La Garonne River, the subject of the celebration 

La Garonne


 Pont de pierre, over La Garonne

Pont de pierre


 Miroir d'eau (Mirror of water) at Place de la Bourse

Miroir d'eau


Containers at the Expo "Le bonheur est dans le fleuve" (Happiness is on the river)


Container Expo

Container Expo

Bordeaux fête la musique

June 21st marks the beginning of the summer. This solstice is quite an event, because every year this day the Music Fest takes place around the world. It was initiated here in France a while ago, and many cities have joined the initiative. The event is like a sampler of every musical genre and style on existence. There are different music-related groups spread on the city center, on the streets. So you can literally walk from one genre to the other. This one I missed because something with a higher priority came in at last moment.

Les épicuriales

Every year, a display of the gastronomy of Bordeaux takes place on this sort of “food fair”. For around 2 weeks, one street lodges around 20 locations where chefs of the area offer the best of their cuisine. So in one street you go from seafood to Basque plates to ice cream and bakeries, all of them side by side. I can call this Paradise!

My office mate Hugo at Les Épicuriales

Les Épicuriales

But, Whyyyy?????!!!!!!!

As those of you who have read me before may have notice, I’m on a quest for healthy food. This pursue took me to a far away commercial center where the presence of a big supermarket carried the promise of variety and –maybe- the fulfillment of my request. As this wasn’t really accomplished, I left with 2 moderately heavy bags. When I got to the tram station, I noticed nobody was there. Ah! I remembered on my way there, a banner on the tram said something like the service would be stopped at 8:00 PM. It was 10:00 PM already. So, I walked to the station where I should get the other tram. I thought it was a matter of the connecting tram and no the whole line. As I arrived there, some people were gathered. But I saw the banner again at the stop. I asked somebody if that means the service for this tram is stopped and he said yes. But, why?! Aren’t they supposed to service until 1:00 AM? Yes, they are, but drivers are on strike! I faced two options. Option #1: walk home. I know the tram doesn’t take that long and it is slow, so maybe I can make it. Option #2: take a bike. Most tram stations allow you to take a bike for free if you return it within half an hour, or for 1€/hr. Yeay! I love biking, so this is it. It turns that my credit card wasn’t accepted by the system (you need a credit card to withdraw the bike, and it needs a special local code). So walking it is. It took me 53 minutes under a cold-wind 54° night… without a jacket. A lesson for you, my readers: when abroad, try to stay up to date of the news, it could spare you a bad time. I guess that being buried under papers the whole week didn’t inspire me to read anything else, and I don’t have TV here.

More fun at the job!

Please, PIRE people: don’t you go and think we don’t work here. It just happens there is a lot of fun at workplace these days. Every year, INRIA welcomes the summer with a “pique-nique”. They offer a lunch and the participants are asked to bring their specialties for dessert. The purpose is a social gathering for the institution members to interact in a relaxed way.

Harmonious Coexistance


Nice music

 Plenty of food


Also, every month there is an activity called “Unithé ou café?” (“A tea (united)” or a coffee?). These gatherings have the purpose that all the teams working at INRIA get to know each other and their respective lines of work in a festive yet educative way. This month it was the turn for MAGNOME, the team that I’m working with here. Below is a flyer of the event.

 UNIThé ou café

From left to right: Students Razanne (Syria), Laetitia (France), Nicolás (Chile); MAGNOME team’s Director Dr. David Sherman (USA), students Rodrigo (Chile), me, Natalia (behind me – Russia), MAGNOME team’s assistant Anne-Laure (France), Tiphaine (France).

Posted by NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education - Marie Lluberes | 0 comment(s)