I've got another couple of hours in Philly (I'm currently on a brief break between meetings) before flying back to the UK. So far the trip has been very cool. My friend Brendan (who recently finished his DPhil at Oxford and is now post-doc'ing here) has graciously hosted me in the mansion-like home he's house-sitting. The place is a four floor townhouse in one of Philly's trendiest areas (Rittenhouse Square) and features (among many other things) a huge entry hall with a sweeping grand staircase, a 19th century period banquet hall, an immaculately appointed kitchen big enough to run a medium sized restaurant out of and a two-room master bedroom with walk in closets bigger than my bedroom in Oxford. The owners moved out about 6 months ago and have been looking for a buyer ever since. In the meantime Brendan is house-sitting (there's a fairly autonomous apartment set up on the third floor) for them. All the furniture is gone, so the place is kind of spooky and echo-y, but still it's pretty sweet. I would've taken photos, but alas my camera was destroyed in the carboat adventure.
As far as the actual purpose of my trip, it has gone really well. I've managed to meet some collaborators and make progress on where my portion of the project is headed. My talk was well-received (it's pretty straightforward when you've given it a dozen times) and I've made some additional contacts who have pretty exciting projects starting at Penn and CHoP. A good vacation overall and I'm ready to head back to Oxford.
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