Picture of the Week

17 April 2019

Week 15: cycling to Villajoyosa, singing in Alicante, working

Filed under: — Administrator @ 10:58

This was a week with some important events we hosted at the office, including one involving our young trainees who were showing off some of the skills they learned during their time with us; with Easter coming up, the choir in which my wife sings gave their customary concert in one of Alicante’s two main churches; and of course I took advantage of the good weather to get out on my bicycle.

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I start with the cycling. On Sunday I did not feel like climbing mountains, so rather than going inland as I usually do, I stayed on the coast and cycled north to Villajoyosa (even this ride is quite hilly, the road is never flat). After about 12-13 km I had to stop to take off my long-sleeved jersey–I had warmed up sufficiently and would continue in short sleeves. The spot was a roadside restaurant parking lot from which there is a nice view of Alicante with its northern seaside suburb El Campello (where I live) in the foreground:
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I stopped for a break on a wonderful, secluded beach called Playa Bol Nou, just north of Villajoyosa. This is a beach used mainly by the people who live in the vicinity, and it was almost empty this Sunday morning. This rock provides a natural barrier between this beach and the more crowded main beaches of Villajoyosa:
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Looking south towards Alicante:
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The main beach of Villajoyosa is about 2-3 km further north:
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On the way out of town, away from the beach, I came across this new bar. It chose to call itself a chiringuito, or “beach bar”, even though it is not on the beach. To compensate, there is a boat in front:
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Another roadside restaurant, this one closed and abandoned every since I first saw it a decade ago. In summer it is used a hangout by local prostitutes who sit on the stair facing the road to solicit business from passing drivers. Now I see that it is up for sale, with a rather optimistic rendition of how it might look again. Definitely a fixer-upper:
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Once home from the ride, I went to the nearby vegetable market to buy some olives and tomatoes:
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And to pick up a grilled chicken for lunch:
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On Sunday night, my wife was going to sing with her choir at the Basílica Santa María in the centre of Alicante. Even though the performance was starting at 8 p.m., she had to be there already around 5:30 so that they could do a bit of rehearsing, and then wait for the mass to finish. Meanwhile, I walked around the city, as always looking out for little details:
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On Plaza Montañeta, I came across a group of Algerians celebrating the resignation of their longtime president Bouteflika:
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Another urban detail, this time on Plaza Séneca. The inscription means “happy thief, son of a bitch”. Quite cryptic:
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Plaza Gabriel Miró is one of Alicante’s nicest squares, known for its huge ficus trees:
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I sat down for a beer at one of the bars lining the squares. The name means “four cans (of beer, presumably)”. The dog belongs to one of the steady customers, apparently:
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I walked back towards the church where my wife was going to sing, passing this funny bar sign on Calle San Fernando:
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On the square in front of the Basílica this spiral pattern has recently been added on the pavement, and my wife insisted on posing on top of it:
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Then it was time to start singing. I got a seat in the front row so that I had a decent close view of my wife and the other singers (much to my surprise, the large church was full). People always make funny faces when they sing, and my wife is no exception:
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Looking at the soloist:
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The choir director is the only professional of the bunch; she directs some other choirs as well, and some of the soloists at this concert were singers from those other choirs:
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The conductor, fuzzy but in full voice:
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All together now:
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Sheet music but no sheet:
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After the performance, I wandered around the church a little. I have visited the square outside many times (one of the most impressive Semana Santa processions starts there), but had never before been inside:
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During the week, we hosted 3 days of important meetings in the office. Part of the proceedings took place in our auditorium. My colleague Alexandra is speaking while our director Paul and a lady from the European Commission look on:
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The people attending came from all 28 EU member states. Among them these three great ladies: Rikka from Finnish customs, Elizabeth from the UK Intellectual Property Office, and my friend Linda from the Latvian Ministry of Culture:
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Lunch during the meetings, with my colleagues Stephanie and Mario as the centre of this image. This kind of standing-up grazing is not my favourite way to eat lunch, but it does facilite mingling and taking pictures:
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On Wednesday, we had a different event in the auditorium, a kind of “show and tell” by our trainees. Each year, our office hosts about 50 trainees from all over Europe, typically graduate law or economics students. They stay with us for a year, and for many of them it is a very rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. I usually have one trainee in my team, and I follow them after their stint with me, trying to help them along in their careers. So, this week they presented various projects they had worked on in the past few months, in areas ranging from artificial intelligence, to IP enforcement, IP in fashion and other topics:
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This is one of four trainees in our department, Dimitra from Greece:
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Discussion fashion and IP:
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Then the weekend arrived, and so I finish with three cycling pictures. This is a bend in the road between Busot and Jijona, a wonderful 10 km stretch, which I have photographed in the past, but this time I had a sufficiently wide lens to really take in the road and the surrounding landscape:
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And finally, some nice afternoon clouds over the sea, as seen from “my” beach, Playa Muchavista:
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