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July 14th 2014
Published: August 2nd 2014
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Hamburg - Paris - Hamburg - Singapore

From Hamburg to Paris and back and then, after three weeks in Europe altogether, via Dubai back to Singapore

Sacre CoeurSacre CoeurSacre Coeur

... on Montmartre.
After returning from the conference in San Sebastián, I spent one Monday in the office and right the Monday after that I flew to the 28th International Congress of Applied Psychology in Paris with my colleague Nina. We arrived there in the early afternoon of the 8th of July, quickly checked into our hotel, grabbed a sandwich on the way to the conference venue, registered, and attended the opening ceremony in the Palais des Congrès. The congress is huge. Apparently there had been over 6,000 submissions, of which around 5,500 were accepted, and there were several thousand delegates. The congress programme alone was a book, and it did not even contain all the abstracts. There were about 30 sessions running in parallel at each time of the day, on various topics. Of course there was work and organisational psychology and assessment, the area we were actually there for. But there were many other tracks, such as traffic, environmental, clinical, educational, sports, or health psychology. It was just amazing. The congress takes place every four years and the last one had taken place in Melbourne in 2010. I had liked this one and I was happy to be there again. The organisers had done a fantastic job
Arc de TriompheArc de TriompheArc de Triomphe

Stuck in a traffic jam on the Champs Elysées during our hop on hop off bus tour.
in making registration quick and easy and also in making speakers’ presentations available on the laptops in the rooms they would be presenting in. I – once more – delivered my two presentations just in time, that is, the day before the presentation (as required by the organisers) because not until then my power point presentations were ready.

I gave two oral presentations. One was on an instrument we designed at cut-e. It assesses how likely someone is to show counterproductive work behaviour. It is an instrument we have already done quite a bit of research on and one that a lot of people seem to be interested in, so that’s good. The other talk was on how the quality of 360 degree feedback data can be enhanced by selecting different groups of feedback providers and by using a different way of scoring the ratings. Nina presented a poster on her bachelor thesis that she wrote with cut-e. She looked at whether it was possible to cheat on an online short term memory test. It was her first presentation of this type and she did a great job. The congress was super interesting and Nina and I attended quite
Eiffel TowerEiffel TowerEiffel Tower

View from the Trocadéro
a number of insightful presentations. Of course we also met a lot of people I know. As already mentioned, our I-O psych world is a small one and it is nice to catch up with colleagues.

Unfortunately the weather was, similar to San Sebastián the previous week, very bad. It was raining and cold most of the time. However, there were some sunny or at least non-rainy moments that we used for doing a little bit of sightseeing. On our first evening, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe, which was only a 15 minute walk from our hotel. It was nice to walk around the beautifully illuminated monument. The next evening it was raining really hard and we were desperate just to find some place to eat where I would be able to find some vegetarian food (not the easiest thing in Paris, I have to say). So we ended up in Les Gourmets des Ternes. The place did not look too special and we were so sick of the rain that we were determined to eat there no matter what. The guy that turned out to be the owner later on was surprised that we did not have a reservation,
Hôpital des InvalidesHôpital des InvalidesHôpital des Invalides

A splendid gold roof for a military hospital.
but he found a table for us. When we started talking to him he was really surprised that we had not come to the restaurant on purpose because apparently it is one of the most famous restaurants in Paris that serves the best pepper steak in the city and that celebrities like Sharon Stone or Nicolas Sarkozy have been to before. The funny thing was that it really seemed to bother and upset the owner that we had never heard of him before. So he kept bringing us letter of gratefulness celebrities had written to him, showed us walls full of pictures showing him with all kinds of more or less famous people, and asking us to please visit his website so that we would be convinced of having ended up in one of the most famous restaurants of the city. The more he engaged in trying to prove what a great restaurant he owned the more I started enjoying this little game and telling him over and over again that we really had not heard of him before. It was such a funny evening. Besides, I have to say that the food in fact WAS very good. Nina had
La Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame de ParisLa Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame de ParisLa Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame de Paris

... on the Ile de la Cité.
the famous pepper steak and I had chicory au gratin with cheese. For dessert we had some fantastic homemade cake. So the food was nice, but the show was even better 😉.

Fortunately there were also a few hours in which it did not rain. So on Thursday night we had a very nice walk from the Arc de Triomphe down the fancy shopping street Champs Elysées to the Place de la Concorde that has the great L’Obelisque in its centre. Then we walked along the river Seine towards the Eiffel Tower and were just in time to see it glitter in the night sky. Last time I had been in Paris I had still been a girl and I had totally forgotten how splendid this city is. Buildings are huge and richly decorated and covered in gold. For example, there is the Hôpital des Invalides which has a dome that is entirely covered in gold. And this used to be a military hospital! There is the Grand Palais that is covered by a roof made of glass and steel and the roof contains more steel than the entire Eiffel Tower. And these are just a few examples of
Place de la ConcordePlace de la ConcordePlace de la Concorde

... with L'Obelisque in the centre of the square and Les Invalides in the background.
the city’s splendour!

So the next afternoon we went for a hop on hop off bus tour (a map of the tour can be found here. It started at the Arc de Triomphe and went down the Champs Elysées. Then we passed Grand Palais and Petit Palais, both museums, and then went on to the Trocadéro. From there one has a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower on the other side of the river Seine. Then the tour went down to the Eiffel Tower and passed the Champs de Mars, the gardens named after the Roman god of war. Next we passed behind the Hôtel des Invalides, then crossed the river Seine and passed the Grand and Petit Palais once more and went across the Place de la Concorde. There our bus broke down and Nina and I decided to look at the nearby Eglise de la Madeleine, which turned out to be a good idea because there was a choir singing in there. It was nice to just sit down and listen for a while. Then we went on to the beautiful Opéra. There we boarded the bus again and the tour took us past the famous Louvre
OpéraOpéraOpéra

... with people playing music in front of it.
and we got off again at the Ile de la Cité and went into the cathedral of Nôtre Dame. It has these beautiful round glass windows and it just huge. And I guess all of you know Victor Hugo’s famous novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. We learned that for Hugo it was not so much the love story between the humpbacked bell ringer and the fair Esmeralda that was the centre of his interest, but rather the cathedral itself. After visiting the cathedral we hopped back on the bus and hopped off again at the Eiffel Tower because we wanted to go up – as you would when you are in Paris. However, we would have had to queue for maybe two hours and decided that we did not want that, so we had dinner in a nearby restaurant and then walked back to our hotel.

On Saturday evening we went to the Montmartre, the hill on which Sacre Coeur is located. I could not believe how crowded the place was. We went into the church and took some time to walk all the way round, with lots of people around us. However, as soon as we walked behind the church a little bit there were hardly any people and it was nice and quiet. We came across a Dalí museum and of course I was eager to see it. You might recall that I am a great Dalí fan. We only had half an hour, way too short when you could look at his pictures for hours and still discover something new. But it was better than nothing. We also had a very nice dinner in a little court surrounded by walls overgrown with ivy. Nice atmosphere and it was nice and quiet there as well. After dinner we spent a few hours just sitting on the stairs in front of Sacre Coeur, listening to the music that some people were playing on the stairs and enjoying the view of the city by night.

On Sunday morning it was raining cats and dogs again. However, we had bought tickets for the Louvre and we went there in spite of the heavy rain. We only had two hours, not a lot considering that you can easily spend a few days in this huge museum. But we got to see the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, and we had enough time to just walk through a few wings of the palace and get an impression of all the old and partly very famous paintings in the museum.

Too soon our time was over and we had to go back to the hotel, pick up our luggage, and catch a taxi back to the airport. We got there on time, but our flight was delayed by almost an hour. However, finally we arrived in Hamburg and Nina’s partner Axel came to pick us up and dropped me off at Mizzi’s place. Mizzi had cooked some lovely dinner for us and we drank the nice bottle of wine my Norwegian colleague Espen had given me last year after I had presented at their client event. I had always saved it for a special occasion. The next morning I went back to the office and in the evening had dinner with Mizzi in our favourite restaurant before catching the evening flight to Singapore via Dubai. I could not believe three weeks in Europe were already over. Dear colleagues, it was great to see you and spend time with you, thank you for making me feel so welcome and at home. And special thanks to my dear friend Mizzi for having me stay at her place and looking after me very well!

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