• John
  • Felde
  • University of Maryland
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • USLHC
  • USLHC
  • USA

  • James
  • Doherty
  • Open University
  • United Kingdom

Latest Posts

  • Andrea
  • Signori
  • Nikhef
  • Netherlands

Latest Posts

  • CERN
  • Geneva
  • Switzerland

Latest Posts

  • Aidan
  • Randle-Conde
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Belgium

Latest Posts

  • TRIUMF
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Canada

Latest Posts

  • Laura
  • Gladstone
  • MIT
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Steven
  • Goldfarb
  • University of Michigan

Latest Posts

  • Fermilab
  • Batavia, IL
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Seth
  • Zenz
  • Imperial College London
  • UK

Latest Posts

  • Nhan
  • Tran
  • Fermilab
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Alex
  • Millar
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australia

Latest Posts

  • Ken
  • Bloom
  • USLHC
  • USA

Latest Posts

Chris Ruiz | TRIUMF | Canada

View Blog | Read Bio

Weekend Musings

Echoing something I’ve read on a few of the other blogs in Quantum Diaries, I want to expand on the sentiment that ‘physicists need to relax too’, because…well, relaxing is a subject close to my heart! 

The walk to work

The walk to work

 I’ve just spent the weekend on the beautiful Vancouver Island, in its main city of Victoria, which is, incidentally, the capital of the Province of British Columbia and the seat of the parliament here.
An old colonial town, full of very British architecture and some great seafood joints, Victoria is not considered as trendy and modern as Vancouver, something that has led it to be given the moniker ‘Home of the newly-wed and the nearly-dead’!. Nevertheless, I find Victoria an extremely tranquil, relaxing, and rejuvenating place to visit. The weather this past Sunday was gorgeous – the bright spring sunshine warm enough for a leisurely cycle along one of Victoria’s many hidden cycle routes passing through farmers fields, vegetated and rocky walled embankments and protected marshland over extensive boardwalks.
Despite having the luxury of a job that drives me and instills passion in me, I am a true believer in leaving work behind at the weekends. I consider myself very lucky to be able to practice physics in one of the best laboratories in the world, which resides in such a beautiful part of the world in terms of geography and standard of living.
Vancouver, and the ‘lower mainland’ of British Columbia, suffer from a delectably mild climate. I say suffer only because I am quite fond every now and then of a great storm, crashing waves, beating hail, a ten-day blizzard, gale-force winds etc, which Vancouver has none of, but I say delectable because the predictability and beauty of Vancouver’s winter and summer weather allows a steady calendar of extra-curricular activities to be planned. In the winter, there is skiing and snowboarding; either on the local mountains (Cypress, Seymour and Grouse) or up in the famous resort of Whistler. On a clear sunny day on top of Cypress mountain, only 40 minutes from my door, you can be up to your knees in fine powder snow while the sprawling view below you of the city, its beaches, and the Straight of Georgia takes your breath away.

 

The vista from Whistler Peak

The vista from Whistler Peak

In the spring, it rains. That’s about it. It can rain for 20 days at a stretch, and basically you’d better own some good rain gear because it is the most annoying kind of rain that I have encountered: the kind that is so fine that it permeates everything and you can find yourself soaked within minutes. At least it is not as bad a trying to walk in Edinburgh Scotland, my hometown, on a windy, rainy day. I think it was Billy Connolly who said something along the lines that in Scotland the rain and the wind combine so as to appear that the rain comes up at you from the ground, so that bending over won’t do you any good.
The summers in Vancouver are gorgeous. It doesn’t get hot like in the Mediterranean, but it is usually hot enough that every day requires the wearing of shorts and t-shirts, and Vancouver residents are quite hardy – only abandoning such gear when the weather really deteriorates. The beaches are a great place to find people playing drums, strumming guitar, and illegally drinking beer and having barbecues – yes, I know, it is so barbaric that two of the most basic signs of civilization, alcohol and fire, are banned in public here!

 
The climate in Vancouver is officially cast as an oceanic climate I believe, and the coast is covered in most places by a thick coniferous rainforest, apart from some of the warmer Gulf Islands where beautiful Arbutus trees can be found hugging the water’s edge, their boughs evocative of the feminine form and showcasing their beautiful, multi-hued peeling bark. Some of the most primal and gigantic old-growth rainforest can be found here, and I would recommend anyone who travels to this region to explore the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, which certainly left me with a great impression.
TRIUMF has the lovely advantage of being stuck whack on the edge of the Pacific Spirit Regional Park – a protected area home to a myriad of wildlife and an absolutely beautiful way to walk to work early on a summers morning when the sun is just beginning to stream through the thick canopy. Although surrounded by major roads on all sides, and a busy University Campus (UBC), the silence afforded by the trees is uncanny – I really do love walking to work that way – if only my 17” laptop weren’t so heavy! Next time I’ll buy one of those miniature ones I think ☺

 

ISAC II Entrance, TRIUMF

ISAC II Entrance, TRIUMF

I have included some pictures from Vancouver in this post. Of the mountains in winter (view from Whistler peak looking towards Vancouver) and the forest near TRIUMF in summer.
Please come and visit this beautiful place if you ever get the chance.

Kits Beach - Vancouver

Kits Beach - Vancouver

Share