Breugel at Bologna

In addition to the excellent exhibition on ancient Egypt, we also had the chance an exhibition on the Netherlandish painter family Breugel while we were in Bologna. As I am not a big fan of art exhibitions, I was a bit skeptic, but my mother managed to convince me. And right she was!

I had seen a few Breughel paintings before, but it was very interesting to see how the craftsmanship and the detail changed through the generations. Also, I think that the exhibition highlighted that painting used to be a “bread job” involving lots of boring, repetitive work.

Sur les épaules de Darwin

Did you ever want to know how burned papyrus scrolls from Pompeji and honey bees are connected? If yes, I would highly recommend you to tune in on to Jean Claude Ameisen on Sur les épaules de Darwin,  a radio show and podcast produced by France Inter.  The show meanders from anthropology to plant evolution, psychology, evolution, paleontology and never misses to connect the dots. I greatly enjoy it and never miss an episode.

Egypt in Bologna

Our trip to Bologna coincided with several interesting exhibitions.  One of them was a joint special exhibition between the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden and Archaeological Museum of Bologna on ancient Egypt.  After a few days of city trips we decided to visit it on Wednesday morning. The composition of pieces was very interesting, and for many pieces the audio guide provided interesting explanations.  I don’t think I actually learned anything new about Egypt  – I would have need to study  the exhibition very closely for that – but Egypt is always interesting.

Afterwards, we visited the other exhibition of the museum. The permanent Egyptian exhibition is still quite good (albeit nowhere as good as the special exhibition), the exhibition on the more local history (Etruscans, Romans, …) were mostly cabinets full of stuff with next to no explanations. It is probably interesting for the expert, but I am neither an archeologist nor an art historian, it was not for me.

Just the right temperature

We really would love to have our lab at 20 °C. Not 19 °C, not 21 °C but 20 °C. As we are nearly decoupled from the outside world you would think that this might be possible. However, when our lab moved, nobody gave air conditioning any thought. The air conditioning that had been installed previously kind of worked, and everybody was happy. But as we (and our neighbours) added more and more equipment, the temperature started to increase, until we hit 28 °C in November 2014. That definitely was too hot, and everybody agreed that action needed to be taken. So right before this Christmas break we got a new air conditioning system. Now, this morning, we had chilly 13 °C. So, we definitely no longer need to worry about over heating ;) Will we ever reach 20 °C?


On the fifth day of our Italian vacation, we visited a city that is worth a vacation on its own: Firenze. Thanks to the excellent Italian railway system, it only takes half an hour to get there by train. The only drawback is, that the whole trip is spent in tunnels.

In Firenze, we visited the Duomo and the Uffizi. One of the sights of the Duomo is an excavation site below it, which are my personal highlight from this trip to Firenze.  The Uffizi, of course, display many famous pictures, but I could not help but wonder whether the pictures are in the Uffizi because they are famous or whether they are famous because they are in the Uffizi…

Happy New Year 2016!

I wish all of you a happy and successful 2016!

Do you have anything special planned for 2016?

I am planning to continue studying Korean and Spanish. In Korean, I have a long list of grammar points I want to tackle. In Spanish, I really need to start speaking Spanish. The latter should be no real problem – I know plenty of Spaniards.



I suspect that many tourists come to Modena to visit the Ferrari Museum, bit we completely ignored it. Instead, Modena became out Monday location because its main sights are the duomo and Piazza Grande, which are open to the public even on Monday. Another church our guides listed as interesting actually was permanently closed to the public. During our stroll through town we discovered a huge mural of a rat. It seems to be quite symbolic, but I am not sure how to interpret it.

A mural of a rat (?)  in Modena


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