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Barcelona - Madrid







Sept. 27: Barcelona -- Travel to Madrid


Today I finish up at the conference and join Kurt and Phil in Madrid.

I woke up at 4 AM, paranoid that I'd miss my 6 AM wake up calls (having set my cell phone alarm, my Treo alarm, and ordered a hotel wakeup call, it was unlikely I'd do so, but you know how the mind plays tricks!). I quickly went back to sleep and woke up with the first of my three alarms. By the time of the third alarm, I actually got out of bed, took a quick shower, put on my suit and walked on over to the conference center.

It was very dark, being 6:45 in the AM, and I was a little nervous as it's a long walk to the conference center and this is near where Tina was mugged. Fortunately, there were three women ahead of me, so I quickly caught up to them and then walked near them for the rest of the way.

I was the first to arrive at the meeting room. We had an hour scheduled to talk about MMCTS, and I was to be last. Ian, Thomas and Marko joined us shortly, and we transferred my presentation to the laptop and quickly went through it to make sure everything was okay.

People started trickling in a few moments before 7:30. At the peak, the room was about half full (maybe 50 people), primarily with surgeons, but also with several CTSNet folks. Marko introduced the session, then Ian spoke about the organization of the manual. Thomas talked about video, and then I spoke on searching and alerting. There was much discussion, some about the idea of providing the journals free to developing countries, others about the manual itself. It was a good session, and we left at around 9:15 or so after quite a bit of discussion.

I went back to my hotel, where Heide was finishing up breakfast. I had a little more to eat, and then went up to my room to finish packing and change into more comfortable clothing. I stashed my stuff in Heide's room, and we took off for the Miro' museum.

We decided to catch a cab, as I had to be back at the conference center at 3 for some more discussions with Turina and Ian. A cab came right away (for a change), and the cabbie took us right to the Miro' which is in Montjuic, a hilly area fairly far from our hotel.

We arrived at the museum at around 10:30, bought our tickets and picked up our audioguides and toured the museum. Miro's work is quite interesting and different from the other artists we've seen. Very abstract and simple in ways, but with lots of symbolism and metaphor in his paintings. He makes very good use of vibrant colors coupled with simple line drawings. Having the audio guide was indispensible, as his paintings are a bit difficult to figure out without some explanation (as symbolic as they are). We both really enjoyed the exhibit, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

It struck me that on this trip, the only art we've seen is modern art (Dali', Picasso, Miro'). It has been a refreshing change from seeing the old masters and religious art that we've seen on previous trips.

After paying a quick visit to the gift shop, we walked down to a funicular which takes you down the mountain to the Metro. It was a long metro trip to the stop near our hotel, with one change of trains in between. We walked back to our hotel so I could pick up my trusty laptop (this time I didn't lug it with me), and headed back on over to the conference center. We're definitely getting our walking in this trip!

We had a quick conference lunch at the conference center, and I had a few more meetings with various people, and then I was done by 5! For the rest of the trip I'm officially on vacation.

Heide and I said our goodbyes (we really did have a good time pal'ing around together), and I got a cab in front of the hotel. (Tip: it never pays to have the hotel call a cab here... you just wind up waiting longer. Much easier to hail one on the street.)

I was rather early to the airport, and had to wait in a fairly long line to check in. Unfortunately, the gate agent didn't speak English very well and didn't understand that I wanted to get an earlier flight. So I was resigned to a long wait, as my plane takes off at 8:30.

Sadly (for me), I couldn't use the Star Alliance club (Spanair), because I was flying on Iberia. I couldn't use the Iberia club because I wasn't flying business. So I just window shopped for a while (Barcelona airport has good shopping), and ordered an espresso and worked on the web site a bit.

In my quest to find an internet connection, I'm flaming out. All the wireless networks here are secured. So I have to content myself with being out of touch, except by Treo'. It feels somewhat ridiculous having all these devices with so much connectivity, but then not being able to use their capabilities!