My three best friends from Cambridge were Luca, an Italian student, Sanja, from Kosovo and then Sarajevo university and Judith, who is Danish. Judith used to invite us all for tea and sit there making us laugh as she knitted socks. I have a pair that were made from wool from a sheep that I met when I went on a trip to Copenhagen with her. He was called Mowens - an approximation, as I can't put in text with the right accent. It was from Judith that I learned about the Danish concept of Hygge - very roughly translated as cosiness but just as much to do with being invitational and creating a lovely ambience. Luca worked for a Japanese research scientist, Kiyoshi, who was great fun (if you didn't work for him or if you did and had met all the seemingly impossible challenges) and used to invite us whenever there was a visiting speaker. He solemnly referred to all of us with the Japanese suffix -san that shows respect, so Luca became Luca-San, I was Rachel-San. We adopted this for all our friends, so Judith was Judith-San. He is in the video above, talking about Max for a Guardian video project.
This very much was the culture of the lab too. Max Perutz designed the new LMB to replace the one in the centre of Cambridge where Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA (which was full of mercury from old experiments) and was very particular about building a tea room right at the top of the building, where students, lab techs and any of the staff could sit down, with complete freedom and equality, next to any of the scientists. So we got to have tea (and cakes made fresh every day in the tea room) with Nobel Prize winners. I'm sure this approach helped and still helps develop some of the most innovative research projects in the world. Although we all went through hard times, particularly those in another country and particularly when one of our home countries was embroiled in a war that was ripping it bloodily apart, they were also the best of times and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Copenhagen is wonderful. It's my favourite city in the world except for Belgrade, which has a special place in my heart. Because of these great friends of mine, I got to know and love both and learned songs of revolution from Luca.