13 August 2010

Conferences and cathedrals

I spent most of last week in Salamanca, Spain, attending the Ninth International Congress of Neuroethology. Here’s a photo set of my favourite pictures that I took around Salamanca. Salamanca has been designated a world heritage site, and it’s easy to see why. As you walk around, you constantly are confronted with views like this:

This is the sort of place where the “new” cathedral was finished in the 1600s or something. It drove home to me the truth of an old joke:

In Europe, 100 miles is a long way. In America, 100 years is a long time.

On Thursday, it occurred to me that the experience of attending a scientific conference is much like walking around in Salamanca, through the cathedrals, the university, and Plaza Mayor.

That picture above, of the facade of one of the buildings of the University of Salamanca, has a very famous feature. Can you spot it? Click here for the answer!

I’ll make it easier for you.

That targeted point on that massive, carved sandstone facade is an is one of three skulls. But only one of the three skulls has a frog carved on top of it.

(This is as good an image as I was able to get from ground level with my point and click camera. Better resolution than I thought, actually.)

Now, out of all that other wonderful carving around it, this one feature has become famous. Frogs are very much a “thing” in Salamanca. They’re a recurring motif around the tourist shops:

So how is looking at these baroque buildings like going to a scientific conference?

You can’t take it all in.

And it’s all too easy to overlook something incredibly interesting.

1 comment:

Michael Bok said...

Nice shots,

Heres a couple I threw op on Flickr: