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Testimonials from participants to IMC 2012 in La Palma

See IMC2012 Photo Galery

Prof. Dr. David Asher, Armagh Observatory, United Kinggdom, IMC2010 organizer:
"Dear Gabriela dn Ovidiu, thank you for making us (and the other participants) so welcome in La Palma. It is indeed a beautiful island, which we saw from the Roque de Los Muchachos during the excellent excursion, and also on the final evening when Gabriela kindly drove us across to the west of the island, through some amazing landscapes. Well done on all your hard work in organising this IMC."

Dr. Miruna Popescu, Northern Ireland, IMC2010 organizer (in Romanian):
"As dori sa alatur si eu multumirile mele pentru conferinta pe care ati organizat-o asa de bine si de profesional in La Palma. Tot ce a fost legat de conferinta a fost super-profesional, iar excursia la telescoape a fost mai mult decat impresionanta. Desi nu am petrecut prea mult timp pe insula, cu siguranta am plecat cu gandul de a reveni. La Palma este ca o mica bijuterie, in care astronomia si frumusetile naturale nu au fost inca (si sper nu or sa fie!) atinse de prea multa dezvoltare. Putine locuri din lume (si mai ales Europa) mai sunt inca asa. Multumim inca o data pentru tot, si pentru neasteptata excursie de marti seara!"

Bernard Kieffer, France (in French):
"Je dois d'abord dire que j'ai passe un sejour formidable. Formidable par la beaute et le caractere terrifiant de l'ile Formidable par le congres pratiquement sans faille, Formidable par le contenu de ce congrès, meme si parfois la barriere de la langue etait pour moi un handicap enfin formidable par les contacts qu'il m'a ete donne de creer."

Shy Halatzi, Israel:
"Just wanted to say I enjoyed the IMC and tourism days very much. I think it was a great success and it seemed to me like you organized it well."

Francisco Rodriguez, Spain (in Spanish):
"Desde Gran Canaria... felicitaciones por la excelente labor en la organizacion del IMC 2012."

Andrew Oakes, Canada (journalist Royal Astronomical Society of Canada): "Hi Ovidiu and Gabriela: Got back to Canada late Saturday. Just catching up on my e-mails... You both did an excellent job providing first-class service... Congratulations again on both excellent customer care and service!! Mary Jo and I feel the trip and costs were worth every penny spent. Your planning with Gabriella made this conference an incredible event!!! "

Peter Gural, United States:
"Glad to have met you in La Palma. I enjoyed my stay in La Palma - it was a pleasant vacation from regular work."

Dr. Anna Kartashova, Rusia:
"Thank you for nice conference and for magical excursion to the Observatory! Weather and ocean were very kindly in that days."

Jeffrey and Annette Brower, Canada:

"Annette and I wanted to say thank you for a wonderful stay on La Plama. We agreed it was the best extended trip we've had in our 36 years of marriage. That is saying a lot as we have traveled to some very nice locations. Despite the high cost of flying from the west coast of Canada to Amsterdam and then down to La Palma, we consider seeing La Palma well worth the cost. We consider the trip a high return value because of many factors such as the wonderful, informative tours prior to the IMC meetings, seeing a new culture, the natural beauty of the island, the tour of the IAC facilities, and meeting new friends.

We I have been to over 30 years of professional conferences and we know the exotic locations were many of are held usually doesn't matter since we are forced to remain inside a conference room during our stay. In fact, I told Annette I wasn't interested in going to the IMC just to hear papers read. That all changed when we saw you were offering tours prior to the IMC meeting; we immediately started planning our trip. That was our motivation to spend the money and take time away from our work.

I'd like to talk a little about the tours. Gabriela, the tours seemed to run themselves flawlessly. We, the tourists, never felt any worry or any doubt about the itinerary, the transportation, or the food so we could concentrate on the scenery, our guide, and our camaraderie. It was faultless! Jonah’s was the best guide we have ever had - in any country. His pride and depth of knowledge of his native island as well as his enthusiasm touched all of us on two of our three trips. He didn't just toss out facts, he gave life to them. He engaged us in questions and answers. Robert was very knowledgeable and we could tell he lived on the island for a long time as he understood it so well. It was nice to hear his presentation at the GTC. He is very knowledgable. On each of our tours we could feel your personal touch on these trips. We saw what you wanted to share with us about your island and we are much richer because of that.

As mentioned above, your choices of points of interest on each tour were excellent! The national park was a truly beautiful place. The walks through it provided our group a chance to mix and talk to each other. That first day we came as strangers and left as friends. In our opinion, it made the whole trip worth it! The second day to the southern tip of the island and the archaeology site, potter artist and wine tasting was simply put, fantastic. To tell the truth I wasn't too excited about the tour of Santa Cruz. As soon as we stepped off the bus with Jonah I saw how wrong I was. It was like no other city I have been in. It's architecture and proud cultural elements amazed us. These days you can go to any continent and it feels like any city USA but not Santa Cruz! Jona even took us into the government building and explained the large mural. The old church with it's beautiful ceiling, the narrow streets, the Nina, leche-leche coffee in the park with Little Napoleon, the city market; they were all new and wonderful experiences for us. Thank you for coming up with this tour!

I would also like to point out what we saw as an important asset to you and the island's tourist's board - it is the excellent bus system. Annette asked me if I've ever been in a more comfortable or clean bus and I had to admit I had not. Every driver we were with was very professional and personable. Being a pilot I always do a walk around or preflight inspection before taking off. I did the same thing on the buses and was pleased to see how well maintained they were. My wife is very nervous if she is not the driver but for the first time that I can remember she felt confident in the driver’s skills and could concentrate on the scenery. The car rental agencies were also very well price, easily accessible and would appeal to many first time tourist to the island.

The tour of the IAC facilities left most of us speechless by the facilities, location, and the multiple science campaigns underway up there. I would guess if you polled IMC people, the trip to the observatories will be one of the most memorable highlights of their trip to La Palma. They guides were excellent and I doubt we could learn in more in the time we were given at each scope. I couldn't get enough so I check the live sky camera at the GTC web site every evening. When I see the Milky Way and Orion slowly moving across the camera's lens I am instantly and virtually, back on the ridge of the IAC. So many good memories!

The one thing we regret about our visit to La Palma was not being able to spend any time with the two of you. I watched Ovidiu from our hotel room and saw the very long hours he put in to make sure we were welcome when we arrived. And he was there everyday to answer our questions or take care of problems. He told us your son was sick and that worried us but you both managed despite that added stress. We watched as both of you worked as a team all through the IMC. We realize you had your hands full and almost every minute scheduled for our benefit. We did want to thank you for your tireless efforts and warm welcome.

Annette and I know that whenever anything as logistically complex as these tours and conference were, seem to "magically and effortlessly" happen it is proof positive that you put in untold hours behind the scenes planning it. Please believe me, we saw that and we benefited from the efforts of your long hours of planning not only the trips, but the planning with the local officials, tourist board, and local merchants as well. Your whole handling of the 31st IMC was highly orchestrated and very professionally executed. Well done Gabriela and Ovidiu and thank you so much for so many wonderful memories of a great time! "

Other impressions, links and press articles about IMC2012:

Jay Anderson, Editor in chief, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada:
IMC 31st 2012 in La Palma

Angel Gomez Roldan, Editor in chief, AstronomiA, Spain:
Conferencia Internacional de Meteores IMC2012 (in Spanish)

From Gran Canaria: The International Meteor Conference 2012 at La Palma a big success!
(Actualidad Astronomica)

Angel Gomez Roldan, Editor in chief, AstronomiA, Spain:
Exito (success), 31 IMC en La Palma (in Spanish)

Roy Keeris, Editor of Zenit magazine (Netherlands):
"Meteorenconferentie op subtropisch eiland" (in Dutch)

Kerem Osman Kubuk, Turkey, in WGN Journal of IMO:
International Meteor Conference 2012 Report

Cristine Smith, United Kingdom:
JODCAST radio interviews with organisers and participants

Kevin Lochun, United Kingdom, production editor Sky at Night:
The Forgotten Skies

Andrew Oakes, Canada, editor Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada:
Spanish Island Haven Serves as Locale for International Meteor Conference

Survey of IMO after IMC 2012

A feedback form of IMO gave the following results regarding Astro Travels services, La Palma site, Las Olas hotel accommodation and Taburiente conference hall. Marks on a scale 1-5 (5 the best) are followed by the number of received answers in paranthesis. We also calculate the median, which is more relevant than the average given the relative small number of received answers and one spurious answer received from one participant.

Communication and information
Communication prior to the IMC with Astro Travels? 5 (7), 4 (2), 1 (1). Median 5/5
Communication during the IMC by Astro Travels? 5 (8), 4 (1), 1 (1). Median 5/5

Selection of the IMC site and host
Accessibility of the IMC location, travelling requirements/costs? 5 (5), 4 (3), 3 (1), 2 (1). Median 4.5/5
The IMC site, environment and suitability for a conference? 5 (7), 4 (2), 3 (1). Median 5/5
Assistance provided by Astro Travels to reach the IMC? 5 (7), 4 (1), 3 (1), 1 (1). Median 5/5
Accommodation and your stay at Hotel Las Olas? 5 (8), 4 (2). Median 5/5
Breakfast, lunches and dinners at Hotel Las Olas? 5 (7), 4 (3). Median 5/5
Accommodation at Taburiente for the IMC Lecture room? 5 (3), 4 (5). Median 4/5

Your first impressions at the 2012 IMC
Reception and administration registration desk? 5 (7), 4 (2), 1 (1). Median 5/5
Contents of the IMC welcomes package? 5 (7), 4 (1), 3 (1). Median 5/5
The opening and welcome reception Thursday? 5 (8), 4 (1). Median 5/5

The IMC lecture program and poster session
Suitability, comfort and safety lecture room Taburiente? 5 (4), 4 (4), 3 (2). Median 4/5
Coffee breaks, duration and quality? 5 (5), 4 (5). Median 4.5/5

The IMC Saturday afternoon excursion
Saturday excursion to Roque de Los Muchachos? 5 (9), 3 (1). Median 5/5
Saturday pick nick lunch at ORM Residencia? 5 (5), 4 (4), 1 (1). Median 4/5
The overall organization of the excursion by Astro Travels? 5 (9), Median 1 (1). 5/5
The explanations provided at each instrument? 5 (7), 4 (3). Median 5/5
The duration of the excursion? 5 (7), 4 (2), 2 (1). Median 5/5

The IMC social aspects
Was the bar at Las Olas suitable to socialize? 5 (6), 4 (3), 3 (1). Median 5/5
Was the excursion favorable for informal socializing? 5 (4), 4 (4), 3 (1), 2 (1). Median 4/5

Your final impressions
Would you recommend friends to come to an IMC? Yes: 5 (10). Median 5/5
Was this IMC a useful experience for you? Yes: 5 (8), 4 (1),. Median 5/5

Final average of all 22 items: 4.7/5 (94% of perfect).

See IMC2012 Photo Galery