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Sept. 24: Barcelona -- Day 1 of conference


Originally, I was supposed to just have a single breakfast meeting with the CTSNet managing editors. It turned out that I also had a meeting at 2, where I was to give a presentation on the CTSNet new features we'd installed this past year plus the progress of journal-based CME. For that, you need an internet connection, and those have been hard to come by.

I got up early and left the boys still sleeping. We met at 7 down in the hotel restaurant and had our meeting. Really, there wasn't all that much to talk about since so much got done last year and we had been meeting every week on CME.

Following that, I returned to the hotel room, and said goodbye to Kurt and Phil, and headed on over to the convention center with Heide. I picked up my badge, and signed up for the cultural event on Monday (a concert at the Palau de Musica Catalan), and headed up to the EJCTS editorial office. There, they had an internet connection, and I spent a couple hours working on my talk. I also prepared a handout of the new features, which Carol was good enough to have copied to hand around.

Carol originally told me that I had 15 minutes to talk about new features and CME. I hadn't really seen an agenda, but when Peter Greene displayed the agenda I found out I only had 10 minutes. Fortunately, I talk fast!

Some of the European editors reporting in had nothing much to say, so I was able to use a little more time. I whipped through the talk, as Carol passed out the handouts. We then had some discussion on the CME. At the end, a number of the CTSNet editorial board approached me to tell me how much they appreciate the collaboration with HighWire.

By now it was 4. Heide, Pam and I went back to the hotel to drop off our stuff, and headed on over to the Barri Gotic to go see the Picasso museum. Heide also wanted to find a place to go to mass, so we walked around to the local church (the Santa Maria), where there was a wedding in process. There they had a list of the churches in the area and what time the masses were. Heide decided she was going to visit the catedral (the biggest church in Barcelona) at 9 the next morning.

We then headed over to the Picasso museum, which was right around the corner. The museums were free today because this was the weekend of the patron saint of Barcelona, a local holiday. As a result, the museums were also very crowded.

We picked up the audio guide for the museum, which was quite useful. We followed Picasso's career from a young boy through his death. There wasn't much cubist work as a result. But there were some very interesting works, and it was interesting to see his evolution as an artist.

After touring the museum, we hit the gift shop (natch). The gift shops in the museums here are all very good.

It was now around 7:30 and we decided to get some dinner. Neither Pam nor Heide wanted to walk much. So we tried to find a place close by in the Barri Gotic, and looked for one of the restaurants recommended by Rick Steves.

The area was really crowded, presumably because of the holiday. This part of the Barri Gotic felt a bit dicey, like you could get mugged at any moment. We found out that the restaurant we were looking for didn't open until 9, so we walked towards La Rambla, and kept our eyes out for other restaurants there. Finally, we made our way up almost to the Placa de la Catalunya, and walked to the place we had found and rejected a couple of days ago, Anime. They weren't open either. Two doors down was a good-looking restaurant, Silenus, which happened to be mentioned in one of my guidebooks. It also wasn't open, but by this time we just wanted to sit down and so we did.

The waitress was very nice, and she came out and served us drinks. At about 9:15 we got our menu and ordered dinner. The dinner was fabulous... the best dinner we'd had to date. It was nouvelle cuisine, and in addition to being delicious was beautifully prepared. The waitress was very good as well, making for a most enjoyable dinner.

During dinner, a parade marched by with music, drums, and people dressed in costumes of very large kings and queens. Quite a spectacle!

We asked about getting a cab, but as the Placa del Catalunya was closed to traffic due to the holiday and as there were a ton of people milling about, we walked back towards the other side of the Rambla, from whence we came, hoping to find a cab. I was walking in the street (it was a small street), and stepped aside to let a car pass, and it turned out to be a cab! We hopped in, and he took us to our hotel. What good fortune!