Today was a day of preparation for the European Association for Archaeologists 19th annual conference in Pilsen, Czech Republic. It was a day of travel via many modes of transport in this order – bike, walking, train, plane, bus and taxi.
The flights were obviously the stand-out bit for me. I don’t like flying much but I got great views out of the right-hand-side of the plane heading south from Manchester to Paris. I got amazing views westwards along the south coast of England. We flew directly over Worthing Pier and I could see along the coast heading away from the plane through Littlehampton and Bognor Regis to Selsey Bill, Hayling Island and the whole of the Isle of Wight!
Then, across the Channel, I think we struck land somewhere above St-Valery-en-Caux and on the right I could see the River Seine make its sinuous course towards the sea through Rouen. We got great views of Paris as well coming in but I missed most of it. The kindly staff of Air France moved me into business class so I could be first off the plane – they realised my connection was short. They didn’t assure me though by saying ‘good luck’ repeatedly and I lost my window seat. Still, I just about made my connection. Vive la Air France!
The flight out of Paris east to Prague also had some amazing views. The Western European countryside was laid out for me to see. Most striking was going over the Rhine, somewhere around Ludwigshafen and then I think the River Neckar just north of Heidelberg. At least that is where I think we were – the amazing oxbows of the former river course of the Rhine were plain to see.
So I am now in Pilsen and more news of the EAA, including all things deathly will come. I am staying at the Hotel Ibis, which is fresh and new and clean. Also, rather close to the venue. I hadn’t eaten since I left Manchester so I was starving and ordered from room service. I got a Pilsener beer (seemed only right, although I hate lager) and a ‘chicken nugget baguette’, which was almost as good as eating my kid’s cold leftovers. Dreadful. Still, the room is nice!
I am very excited: a veritable Bohemian Rhapsody of archaeodeath awaits! I am speaking tomorrow morning in a session on the biographies of monuments – looking at the Pillar of Eliseg as a case study.
Then, on Saturday, I am co-organising my own session on ‘chains of citation’, looking at the recontextualisation of things, monuments an landscapes in the Viking Age.
Anyway the wind blows… After those chicken nuggets, almost anywhere is possible.