Madrid, despite being the capital of Spain, is a relatively small but very lively city with lots to see and do. We have an exchange agreement with the UAM (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) which is situated on the edge of the city on a huge, modern campus. It took me as long to walk from the train station on one side of the campus to the Centro de Biologia Molecular on the other side, as it did to get from the centre of Madrid to Cantoblanco. Naturally, I had a brilliant dinner including squid balls cooked in ink at a great restaurant near the Opera.
To many observers, France would seem to be having a crisis of confidence. A deeply unpopular president and a weak economy, high taxes and high youth unemployment would suggest a challenge to the belief of French superiority in a proud and great nation. One of our students spent a year split between Lyon (where she studied at the ENS Lyon) and Paris (where she did research at the Pasteur Institute). Her cultural report describes the difficult relationship between the French ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity and the Western drive to wealth. No images in her report, but here’s a photo I took of some French dudes in Lille.