Beyond the mathematics, perhaps the most important take-away from my weekend in Strasbourg was the reminder that I am much happier when I am eating good food, prices be damned. Take Saturday night, for example. On the last evening before we were to leave, I went joined two of the speakers (GT from Trieste, BS from Edinburgh; my adviser had intended to join us, but wasn't feeling well) for dinner. In a beautiful square in a beautiful town, we were teased by the waiter for not speaking French and talked politics and travel stories. The waiter is planning on moving to Brisbane to start a restaurant, but since visas are hard to come by, New York will probably be his next home.
GT and BS each had some perfectly-cooked meat and foie gras. I forwent the boeuf in favor of a pan-cooked dorade served with a salsa made with passion fruit. It was quite good. Even better was the first course, une salade de roquette, avec tapenade, balsamic vinaigrette, tomates, et crevette. Beer, wine, and lemon tarte (they did not have tarte tatin!) completed the dinner. And all for what I would normally spend on food for a week.
For tonight, I found a fish store downtown. Dinner will be pan-fried cod, probably served next to pasta with capers and garlic.