Sunday, May 16, 2010

Welkom – Bem-vindo – Welcome…to my blog!

During the next weeks I will try to keep you updated about my cycling trip from Lisbon to Groningen. The planning, the preparation, the ride, etcetera.
But before we start a few short explanations. As I guess most people who read this blog will know some summary biographic details I will refrain from laying it all out here…

The Plan.
This summer, I’m moving from Lisbon, Portugal, to Groningen, the Netherlands. After working for two years at the Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica in Oeiras, close to Lisbon, I have been offered a position as assistant professor at the University of Groningen. My area of research is molecular microbiology, and if you’d like to know more about it you can find some info here.
Moving from the Netherlands to Lisbon two years ago was hectic and I found myself with little time between jobs, which meant settling in and starting work had to be done at the same time which was not ideal. Therefore I decided to take a bit more time for this move, and I started thinking about combining the move with one of my favorite ways of getting around – ie putting all my stuff on a truck and myself on my bike, with just a backpack, to pedal back to the Netherlands. This blog will follow the outcome of this idea.

The blog’s name.
Naar huis / para casa is Dutch resp Portuguese for going home. As I have spent about eleven years in Groningen, the longest consecutive time I spent in any place, the city is probably the closest to 'home' as I can get, but that’s only part of what the title is referring to. ‘Naar huis’ is also the title of a song by Dutch duo Acda & De Munnik, which popped into my head more than once when I was out riding my first roadbike in the environs of Oxford, UK. As I mostly rode by myself, I found myself humming tunes a lot of the time. The song is catchy and has funny, slightly sad, lyrics about a guy who thinks he has a lot of stuff to deal with and therefore goes on a two-week vacation. Soon (after about two days) he finds out this is not the case and all he wants to do is go back home, but he stays on so as not to lose face to his girlfriend and presumably others. The subtitle of the blog is a slight modification to one of the songs’ lines.

The blog’s language…
will be mostly English, so that everyone who wants to follow the blog is in fact capable of doing so. Nevertheless, this will not exclude the occasional Dutch entry, and entries will definitely include some references that may be difficult to understand for the non-Dutch (the title being a clear example). My Portuguese is simply not good enough…

The charity…
Most people who go on epic bike rides, have themselves sponsored and try to raise lots of money for a charity of their choice. Although I am not planning on very actively raising money I would like to point you to World Bicycle Relief. WBR try to change peoples’ lives by giving them access to a great form of mobility, cycling. Please visit their website to know more about the work of WBR. Given the nature of my trip I could not think of a better goal and the opportunity to actually donate a bike (or more) makes your donation a very tangible one.

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