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Pam Klabbers | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

Driving

When I came here two years ago I brought my Volkswagen from the states. It was cheaper to bring my German made (one of the last ones) car here than buy a new one. I like my car, it had low miles, was paid for, and was familiar to me, which made adapting to French and Swiss driving habits easier. I also knew I could get it repaired here without any trouble.

When I lived several years ago in Hamburg, Germany, I didn’t need a car. And I wish I could have done the same thing here. There I could get around by public transport or bicycle and not have to worry about insurance, maintenance and repairs. It is a lot cheaper, and if I was in a hurry, I could always take a taxi.

I can’t do that here. I work on 3 different sites at CERN. The experiment is at the red CMS dot on the picture below. Meetings are most often at the main site (next to the red ATLAS dot). CMS is the furthest away from the main CERN site. The other site I visit, Prevessin, is somewhere in between. The LHC ring is 27 km in circumference. In the course of a day, I often have to switch sites. This is a minimum of 8.5 km (I will measure this the next time I do it with my car’s trip computer!). And I take a short cut through the countryside…not the longer truck or bus route! Not that there is a bus.

So some days, when things are not well planned, or something crops up, I make 4 trips. Each one takes about 25 minutes (if I am lucky I make it in 20), unless I get stuck behind a farmer on his or her tractor, or I have to wait for the cows to be moved to the next pasture. Some days, I feel like all I am doing is driving. Those days I have to remind myself what a nice countryside it is, since I am spending about 1.5 hours driving in it, almost always on the same roads, staring at the same cows.

But being the nature loving type, I occasionally get rewarded with a glimpse of something special. Regularly I see grey herons and large birds-of-prey in the fields, an odd fox, and tremendous views of the Alps as I just leave CMS on my way to CERN. Then I am glad I made the drive that day.

A la prochain…

CERN Map

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