13 - My secondment in TRL

Hi crew,

I hope you are doing well!

Have you noticed that I changed a bit the layout of the blog? Do you like the new style?

However, let’s focus now on the topic of this new (and amazing!) post!
Today I want to share with you my experience of the first weeks of secondment that I spent in TRL Ltd… moreover, I would like also to discuss with you a bit about Italian food. Tasty?? Ehm, interesting eh?

But let’s start from the main topic of the post: my secondment in TRL. As you probably know, this is my second experience in secondment (the first one was in Microlise last year) and it is part of my PhD project. This experience will be useful for me and my research, for improving my knowledge about road conditions monitoring, road maintenance strategies, road pavements life-cycle assessment, and for the interpretation of the results of my study so far.

TRL is the acronym of Transportation Research Laboratory. In TRL engineers, consultants and technical specialists collaborate to shape the future of transports and, thanks to them, the company is internationally recognized as one of the center of excellence for research in transports. “Safer, Cleaner, and Easier”, this is their motto and it is the first sentence that you can read visiting their website.
The new logo of TRL Ltd.

TRL is based is in Wokingham (in between Reading and London in England) in a big and nice building with modern design and surrounded by nature.

A view of the main entrance of 'the Crowthorne House', the main venue of TRL Ltd, in Wokingham, Berkshire.

What I mean when I talk about ‘modern’ design, is not only about the design of the building itself, but also about the facilities available around the building. For instance they have some stations to charge electrical cars, and a large parking with some places reserved for people that do car-sharing with colleagues for going to work, and the offices are open-space allowing people to interact easily with colleagues in a more friendly and dynamic environment.

A mini-station for to charge the battery of electrical vehicles in the parking area in TRL.
The parking area reserved to car-sharing in TRL.
A very smart idea which may help in reducing traffic and GHG emissions.

At the ground floor of the building they have also a very nice canteen. However, in this canteen, they serve sometimes what they call ‘Italian’ food. Do you want an example? Here it is a picture from the menu that they served last week:

A menu from the canteen in TRL Ltd.

Yep crew, I don't know what about you, but I am a bit disappointed with that! You do not notice anything strange in this picture? Well, you must know then that this is a picture representing a very very rare case of ‘Carbonara’ served with pasta (if you want), without ‘guanciale’*, without black pepper, without Parmigiano-Reggiano, and without eggs.
Enough? No crew, no, because they put instead mushrooms and chicken in that sauce.
Chicken?? Chicken with pasta?! Are you serious???

No crew, I am not arguing on the fact that the dish may be tasty or not. I do not doubt the that 'Carbonara' was really good. I just want to say that: that thing on the menu is not 'Carbonara'. It is not Italian style.

Pardon?? You are trying to tell me that: in the famous ‘Alfredo Pasta’ there is chicken? Crew… Have you ever tried in typing ‘Alfredo Pasta’ on Google? Please, trust me, although the origins of this recipe are from Italy (and I discovered this last week) only American or British websites reports it. And moreover: it does not contain chicken!!! Here you can check what is in the recipe from Jamie Oliver’s website.

But yes guys, if I think that in Sweden there are people able to sell this:

Spaghetti probably already overcooked in tomato sauce sold by a supermarket in Sweden.
Picture from 'Commenti Memorabili 2.0' group page on Facebook.

If so, we can accept everything… No way to win this battle for us (Italians). You are too many ;)

Yep crew, if you go in an Italian restaurant and you find out that they put chicken in pasta, well, you can be sure that the restaurant is not really Italian. Maybe we can define it ‘Italo-American’.

Do you want to try a very good Carbonara? Here it is the recipe: www.giallozafferano.it
Feeling lazy??? Just visit Italy then. In particular, if your idea is still to have a good Carbonara, I would suggest you to visit Rome. They are experts in cooking Carbonara and the city is simply amazing! ;)
Thanks to www.giallozafferano.com for the picture. Do you see any mushroom or chicken in it??
Maybe I would put just a bit more of ‘guanciale’ or bacon though… ;)

However, ‘Carbonara’ apart, coming back to my secondment in TRL, I have to say that so far I’m having a very nice experience here.
The idea is to spend here couple of months, with the possibility to come back for one more short stay later on next year. At the moment, I already had couple of meetings and exchanged some e-mails with some experts in TRL, and here we go: I am are ready to start and take advantage of this collaboration to make good progress in my research.

O course I’m going to keep you guys up to date on this. Therefore, please, as usual, keep visiting the blog if you want to receive information about the latest progress of my project!

TRL at night. There are still people working in there!

As you can see (picture above) it is quite late now here in TRL. I'm going back home. I wish you a very good weekend crew! Stay tuned!




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