Why back to university you might think?
Especially since I stated in my last blog that my PhD project is in Nestlé, which is a multinational food company and nowhere near to a University. Well, I got to spend the last three months at Dundee University as part of my project. In the Pathsense project we are going on a secondment in two different labs within the project. This is done to exchange knowledge, and learn new techniques. My first secondment was in Dundee. Where I arrived on the 31st of April, directly after a conference I went to in Kinsale (Ireland).
What about Dundee?
Dundee is a city in Scotland with a population of almost 150.000 citizens, of which 1 in 7 is student. The name “Dundee” is made up of two parts: the Celtic place-name element dun, meaning fort; and the Gaelic dè, meaning ‘fire’. The city has 2 Universities, the University of Dundee and Albertay University. This helps the slogan of the city: “one city, many discoveries”. The city is located on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, next to the north sea cost of Scotland. This means a seagull is not an unusual visitor in this city, you find them all around the city center hunting for your food. Dundee lies about 58 km north of the more known Scottish city Edinburgh. It doesn’t matter where you stand in the city, it will almost always be possible to see the Dundee Law, which is on a hill of 174 meters high. When you are at Dundee Law you can also oversee the entire city of Dundee, as well as the river Tay which forms the western and eastern boundaries of the city. The oldest building in Dundee is the St Mary’s Tower, which dates back to the late 15th century. Since Dundee is one of the bigger cities located in Scotland, you would expect similar weather as on other places in Scotland. Which means rain and no sun. Since I arrived however I have barely seen rain. There are two occasions where I was out in the rain in 2.5 months. The first time was during the 3 peak challenge while reaching the top of Ben Nevis. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland and is 1345 meters high. Being this high Ben Nevis is also the highest mountain of the whole United Kingdom. The second time was only on the 12th of July when I was cycling to University. Other than this two occasions in Dundee, and the UK in general where I have been has been really sunny and warm. I even got sunburned several times!
But what else Scotland is famous for, except the rainy weather?
I am sure you have heard about the kilts, bag pipes and Loch Ness. The kilts are a traditional dress for men in the Scottish highlands, but nowadays they are mainly worn at formal occasions like weddings and graduations. Bagpipes are a woodwind instrument with a constant reservoir in the form of a bag feeding enclosed reeds. Also this instrument is not played a lot on the streets, but you do see it once in a while. And Loch Ness and its monster. I am sure Loch Ness does exist, but the monster of Loch Ness? I think this remains a mystery for another hundreds of years.