Saturday, June 6, 2009

Barcelona, Day 3 and 4

On Thursday I (Bobby) had the opportunity to deliver a talk to the Music Technology Group at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra --- which was the impetus for our trip. This is a world-renown first-rate research lab in music technology, founded in 1994 by a fellow graduate of Stanford, which has consistently produced excellent work in my field.

Before my talk I met up with my friend Hendrik from Berlin, whom I hadn't seen since 2000. Hendrik works there now, and was excited to show me his work since our research interests overlap. I met with one of his students too, who had several excellent questions. After this, I went to lunch with Hendrik and the director of the lab, and learned much more about life in academia in Barcelona.

Then I was rushed to the classroom, plugged my computer into the overhead, and was told, "Valencia is on-line. You are a go!" The audience numbered about 25, and were exceptionally warm and interested. The talk was very well-received, and I had numerous questions. Afterward I had the chance to meet with several students to discuss their work, and to answer additional questions. One said, "I have downloaded your dissertation, and have a lot of studying to do!"

To celebrate my presentation, Hendrik took us to a very good fresh seafood restaurant. You line up in front of live, or just recently deceased, seafood, point out the things you want, and they fry it up for you. We got mussles, shrimp, a tuna steak, calamari, and little octopi, seen below.

After dinner we joined Hendrik's student and went to a bar to finish with some beers. Below is my friend Hendrik --- whose g/f lives in Paris. So we will be seeing more of him very soon.

Our last day, Carla and I were going to sun at the beach, but the skies were gray and it was a bit cold, so we devoted the entire day to exploring museums in the gothic quarter of the city. During our walk we saw a very obedient and responsible dog.

We first visited the Picasso museum, which is housed in a number of beautiful 14th century houses on Carrer de Montcada --- a street providing the best examples of gothic architecture in Barcelona. The majority of works in the museum was donated by Picasso himself, and those close to him, and its strength is that it contains many of Picasso's early works, and school assignments.

No picture-taking is allowed in the museum, but once outside we were able to take pictures of the courtyards of the houses.

The stonework was very impressive; and the longer we stayed, the more the details became apparent.

Then we visited the museum of Barcelona's history, which took us from prehistoric times tens of thousands of years ago, to the late Dark ages. They did not allow any photos in this museum, so we cannot show you the wonderful tile mosaics unearthed on-site, or the necropolis. You can see some of the museum at the link above.

We also came across this beautiful arch over the Carrer of the Bisbe.

Finally our time in Barcelona was finished, so we packed up our belongings and trudged off the airport to come back home to Paris.

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