Monday, March 10, 2014

Hindsgavl Slot

'Slot' means castle in Danish. 'Gavl' means gable. I haven't been able to figure out what 'hinds' means, but use some common sense and fill in the blank.

Hindsgavl, on the west edge of Funen is not really a castle. There used to be a castle there 1000 years ago, but when it was destroyed several centuries ago, what was built on the ruins was a manor house. However, it still retained it's title as 'castle'. It is the largest private estate in Denmark, though no longer owned by a family. Instead, it's a hotel and conference centre. And it's very grand.

Really, really, grand.

This is the front view, that faces the conference centre across the courtyard. The other side, that faces the water, is equally as grand.

The place includes enough grounds that I didn't get even half way around them in my hour walk, a massive conference hall that seats 600 people and room for more than 100 people at the hotel attached. The main house is mostly small meeting rooms and the various dinning rooms for guests. 

Every quarter, DREAM meets here to exchange updates on their research projects, which means that they host a group of about 20 people at this place. Doesn't sound like much, but this 2-day event includes some of the best food I have ever eaten, lovely hotel rooms, beautiful scenery and meeting spaces and staff to wait upon your every whim. This is how the other half of academic departments live, apparently. I'm a little bit jealous, but equally as thrilled to have been invited to the meeting this year, since half of it was in Danish and therefore I could not participate. It meant two long walks along the edge of the sound (despite March, the two days were okay weather-wise), a lot of food and conversation and only a little bit of research. It made for a nice holiday.

It is a blessing in academia when you have an extended amount of time to get to know other academics who study other subjects. You can't really do this at the average conference, unless they are extended multi-day events with lots of social activities, and you certainly can't do it in your own department. But this quarterly event allows DREAM to do exactly that. We spent a lot of time talking about What TV Shows to Watch when we are finished our PhDs. And also What Museums to Visit in Denmark. And a lot of, Isn't This the Best Thing You've Ever Eaten? Basically, everything a research gathering amongst culturally inclined people should be. And I caught up with a few old friends too.

Unfortunately, it hasn't inspired me to write.

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