Now it's over, and we are but a sad remnant of our former selves. Most of us have already left Vienna for one country or another, mostly homeward bound, some off to new adventures in foreign lands. A few, myself included, linger on in the Simmering dormitory. We've been getting together for fairly regular gatherings; breakfast yesterday morning, dinner last night, etc. Each time, a few more of us have vanished. It's really terribly sad. It's amazing to me how much we have bonded in only three months. I actually cried for a while this morning — tears actually running down my face. I am doing a bit better now. It has been a wonderful, amazing group. I am so honored and happy to have been a part of it. It makes me feel very sad to think that I will probably never see some of my friends from the YSSP again. Even when some of us do manage to intersect, it won't be the same without the energy of the whole group and the intensity of this summer. It was a single moment in time, never to be repeated, but forever to be remembered and cherished. It's hard to let go. Deep breaths.
So what am I still doing here? Well, I have a bit more work to do (obviously I'm procrastinating); I meet one final time with my supervisors tomorrow (Monday) to go over plans for writing up my research. This is a good and worthwhile thing to do, although I wish I didn't have it hanging over my head. I need to submit a polished writeup of the summer's research by the end of September, so it's important to keep the ball rolling.
On Tuesday, weather permitting, I'll start a bike ride along the Danube. I plan to take the train to a small town called Krems, and ride to another small town called Melk. This area of the Danube, called the Wachau, is quite famous for its beauty. It should be a wonderful time; hopefully this chilly, rainy weather we've been having will lift by then.
Then I'll come back to Vienna for a single night, just to regroup, and then blast off to Zurich for a couple of days to meet with a professor there to talk about a possible collaboration. I'll give my presentation of my YSSP project to them, and we'll talk about speciation, and it will be a fun little nerd-fest. I should have a bit of time to explore Zurich, too, which will be fun; I've only ever been in the Geneva airport before, I think.
After that, there are two possibilities. If the weather allows, I will take a train to Innsbruck, back in Austria, and go hiking in the Alps for three days. It's a hut-to-hut hike along one of the most famous paths in Austria. I'm very excited about this; I've wanted to do this for many years, ever since doing a hut-to-hut hike in New Zealand (the Kepler track) that was one of the best experiences of my life. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed. If I get rained out, though, as seems increasingly likely, then I will probably go to Munich instead, and meet up with one of my new YSSP friends, Markus, and tour the city, and most likely the beer-gardens as well.
Then back to Vienna for a night, and flying back to Montreal by way of Amsterdam the morning of the 13th. So the end is near. I may not be online much during these travels, that's hard to predict; so the blogging may all be retroactive, from Montreal. In any case, until then, enjoy the rest of your summer!