Feedback from the NSSA President
NSSA team in Antibes, France attending the 7th ICN from 1-7 May 2022
Before arriving in Juan-les-pins, Driekie, MC and myself took a detour and passed by Patrice Cadet in Lespinasse le Forgeaux. He proudly showed us his water mill and some medieval villages in the area. Patrice sends his love and will see us in SA in October for the Soilborne meeting.
Patrice Cadet in his water mill and us site-seeing in Le Crozet.
From Lyon, we took the train to Antibes and Juan-le-Pins, were we arrived in our hotel La Residence, on Saturday 30 April. And we were met by several of our NSSA friends. That evening, twelve of us invaded the village looking for something to eat. We eventually ended up having pizza although it was a struggle to find a place that allowed us to enter. None of the restaurants were keen on having such a big group!
On Sunday we had time to visit the old city of Antibes and do some site seeing, some swimming and of course finding time for an ice-cream.
Antibes, the old city and having fun in Antibes.
The welcoming function on Sunday evening gave us time to meet old friends and colleagues together with delicious food and drinks.
All functions, except for the gala dinner were at the Palais the Congrès and the food was prepared by the same caterer group. The food was ‘new French cuisine’ and this was something to get used to, tiny portions, beautifully presented, exotic taste and very seldom meaty... Many of our South African team were constantly hungry!J
The conference consisted for four full days with paper presentations starting with plenary sessions followed by four concurrent sessions. The facilities at the Palais the Congrès were good with lecture halls being big enough, having good sound, the technical team was quick, effective, and ever present. Time was held in check with green, orange and red lights. Presentations were divided between 20 min, 15 min and short 5 min flash talks while the remainder of the delegates presented posters divided between two sessions. Every one of our South African team gave excellent papers and or posters, and made us very proud.
The program as well as the book of proceedings are available on the website.
The opening session at the 7th ICN and Driekie Fourie chairing a session and some of our presenters doing a great job, Raymond Collet on the left, Francois du Preez in the middle and myself on the right.
Wednesday was our excursion day and the choices were: visit to Monaco, visit to Nice, ‘Roses and Rosé’ agricultural tour and ‘Dive in Cannes Islands’.
Those who had selected the ‘Roses and Rosé’ tour found it very interesting and insightful. They saw beautiful scenery, historic buildings and were introduced into the world of perfumes.
Rose and Rosé tour with Noma inside the winery.
In Monaco, the most important landmarks were shown including the casino and the palace.
Some of us selected the diving tour and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We were forced to dive in the deep blue water and swim! Quite an experience! And for me, I would love to do it again!
Milad, Gerhard and Lesego and Nancy in diving suits.
We had two birthday girls in Antibes. Antoinette Malan turned a young 65 and Anke de Smidt an even younger 31. We celebrated their birthdays with a cake and a birthday song.
In the evenings, we strolled around in small groups in Juan-le-Pins village and had something to eat and drink and meet up with old friends since the entire village was flooded with nematologists. Myself and Driekie even jogged along the beach twice during our stay in this beautiful part of the world!
On Thursday evening, for the gala dinner, we expected a sit-down dinner. But that was a disappointment, because we had to stand in queues and nibble on snacks again! However, the music was good and the young ones danced until closing.
All in all, it was a great conference with 600 delegates, good presentations, interesting workshops, ample time to mingle and ponder about new projects and collaborations. The French, under the auspices of the IFNS and ESN, did an excellent job in organizing this conference under difficult conditions.
And the South African delegation consisting of 23 South Africans made it a memorable experience!