Visiting Birmingham National Aquarium with the BSAVA International Reception…

Funky Jellyfish at Birmingham Aquarium at BSAVA Congress 2013

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Supreme Science Selective Rabbit Food

This evening as I am studying in Slovakia I was invited to attend the BSAVA International Delegates reception at the Birmingham National Aquarium. Now I’ve been meaning to visit this aquarium for the past two years however have never managed to get around to it so was really looking forward to this evenings event (and hoping it included a chance to look around). On entering I noticed it was not what I expected as instead of being a set of rooms, there is a walkway through what are themed zones based on areas of the world. In addition something else that was really interesting was instead of just having an underwater tunnel with viewing above the tunnel enclosed a walkway allowing the watching of fish underneath so you are completely surrounded by them.

Birmingham National Aquarium Themed Walkthroughs

I liked the way that this was set out, and with diseases of fish this semester I am coming to understand a lot more about the different species, and their adaptations which I find has made previously beautiful creatures also very interesting. Obviously pretty things relax the mind, however I now know for example that flatfish swim on either their left or right side (yes they actually have a preference). It is slightly worrying as when looking at the fish pushing its head out the water I did wonder if its something to do with that species, if its something it has learned to do, or if it is related to the environment?

Vet student looking at fish at Birmingham National AquariumOne of the aims of Birmingham National Aquarium is the conservation of the sea turtles, and this is the first time I’ve come across this and actually seen an alive leatherback sea turtle. In addition to this they have a 4D cinema showing a Turtle conservation film with special effects including wind, water and special moving seats. They recently had success in breeding and hatching 12 new baby sea turtles who are now around a year old…

Breeding Sea Turtles - Birmingham National Aquarium Conservation ProgrammeTo talk now about something else that I find fascinating I want to mention jellyfish, these are amazing animals with the ability to live even without a brain, heart or bones. There were a lot of different jellyfish here so I will follow-up later a diary entry just on jellyfish, for now I will just leave you with this picture…

Funky Jellyfish at Birmingham Aquarium at BSAVA Congress 2013

Travelling to BSAVA Congress 2013 (Day 206)

Todays Diary Entry is Sponsored by Spikes World

Well today’s diary entry is only going be short, I am actually writing this one from the ICC in Birmingham where the BSAVA Congress 2013 is being held! Today I travelled from Cambridge (will publish yesterdays diary entry with my visit to the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology later) up to Birmingham via Peterborough.

To be honest usually I don’t really complain much however I feel that Cross Country trains deserve a mention here. My negative experience with them started when I tried to book tickets with them and they tried charging me a fee to collect them at the train station (most other train operators do this free). I booked with another company to avoid this, however arriving at Peterborough at 9:30 this morning the boards were showing my train had been cancelled. Heading up to information I found this was due to staffing issues so had an hour stuck in Peterborough.

Anyways the worst part of this finally came when boarding the train a wheelchair user was trying to get off, however Cross country staff were too busy loading a refreshment trolley onto the train to assist them or get them a ramp. It is my opinion from my experience that Cross country cares more about making a profit than actually serving its customers. Sometimes things cannot be helped however forcing a wheelchair user to risk tipping over leaving a train because of a lack of common decency is not one of them. I will be doing everything I can to avoid using cross country trains again!

Other than that, once I arrived into Birmingham I had a rather long walk around the city center as I’ve never had time here to explore before! Tomorrow morning is the start of BSAVA Congress 2013 and I am excited as!!!

Planning the move abroad

Well today has been interesting, I’ve done a lot of tidying up work on my dissertation, however I have taken it at a more relaxed pace compared to the past couple of weeks. I actually slept and ate pretty much as a normal person for a change.

I spent a lot of time this morning looking at flights, transfers, and getting to Kosice. The cheapest way is to fly into Budapest in Hungary and then get either a shuttle bus or a taxi for 40 Euros to the UVM Dormatory. Actually I am staying in dorms for the first time ever to save money, this is costing 112 Euros a month (about £90/month) and I’ve been told the rooms are pretty big. I am kinda really excited as it should also help with studying.

The biggest problem for me here is that Gloucester is not great for early trains… And the flights are either 7:50am from Birmingham or 8:15 from Luton. To get to luton in time I have to leave Gloucester at 2am by coach to Heathrow, and then catch a connection from Heathrow to Luton which gets me there for 7am. This is the earliest coach there is and I am slightly concerned about leaving time for checkin and passing security. However the luggage allowance from Luton is so much better.

The Birmingham route is operated by Ryan Air, and we all know what they are like. My flight would be just £28, however they charge £35 for a 20kg bag of lugggage… I do find it amusing that it costs more to transport a bag than a living breathing human that weighs 4 times as much.

In contrast Wizz Air charge the same for the flight from Luton, however only £22 for a bag up to 33kg, seeing as I have a ton of textbooks that I want to take the luggage is important. And also things like wellingtons, overalls, labcoats etc which are light but bulky. Its really starting to get exciting, I just hope I have time to get everything done that I need to do before I go.