I have landed

November 20, 2011 • 6:05 am

After several fun-filled days in Valencia, marred somewhat by a pretty dreadful throat virus that forced me to croak rather than speak when I gave my scientific talk, I have arrived in Madrid for the Spanish evolution meetings.  These start tomorrow, and I give the first talk at 12:30. My voice is still weak but I’ll muddle through.

I have tales to tell and many pictures to show, but that must wait until I return to America (I didn’t bring my connector to upload pictures).  Rest assured, though, that you’ll see a picture of the best paella Valenciana in Valencia , and many other comestibles as well.

I took the fast train from Valencia to Madrid, which reaches speeds of 300 km per hour and goes halfway across Spain in just an hour and a half.  I am now installed in the Residencia de Estudiantes near the Natural History Museum and the site of the talks: the campus of the Spanish foundation that funds science (the equivalent of America’s NSF).

Below is a stock photo of the Residencia, a cultural center with a famous history. It’s been on this site since 1915. Here’s part of the Wikipedia entry:

The Residence’s influence was particularly strong from its foundation in 1910 until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. During this time, many Spanish artists and writers, members of the Generation of ’98 and Generation of ’27, visited, studied and lectured at the Residence, including Federico García Lorca, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí, José Ortega y Gasset, Rafael Alberti, Dámaso Alonso, Luis Cernuda, Miguel de Unamuno, Antonio Machado and Ramón del Valle-Inclán, and other innovative thinkers such as Einstein, Howard Carter, Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Paul Valéry, Marie Curie, Igor Stravinski, Paul Claudel, Louis de Broglie, Herbert George Wells, Max Jacob, Le Corbusier, Keynes, etc. The biopic Little Ashes (2009) depicts the Residencia in the 1920s, and the relationship of Lorca, Dalí, and Buñuel who were there at the time. [JAC: note that Rotten Tomatoes gives this film a low rating, as it should since it stars Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dali.]

I wish I knew if any of these folks had stayed in my room.

13 thoughts on “I have landed

  1. Residencia de estudiantes, shit! A great place in the emotional memory and history of leftist, progresive people of spain, and in general, those interested in our high culture.

  2. Your throat thing is “going around”, as they say. Several of my friends have had it. Soothed by the usual lozenges, etc. Self-limiting. Doesn’t appear to be accompanied by usual flu symptoms — just laryngitis. Causative agent — who knows?

    If you think speaking with it is tough, try singing! A buddy of mine had it during a singing competition…not fun for him.

  3. Yep, I sometimes wonder who’s stayed in a hotel room, but it surely helps when the list of past residents is so luminous.

    If you like Georgia O’Keeffe you can stay in the room at the Sagebrush Inn where she lived in for several months in the ’30s. It’s easy to request – it’s the only third-floor room.

  4. (I didn’t bring my connector to upload pictures)

    Try the hotel’s lost-and-found department. They might have a compatible cable that someone left behind.

  5. The blue whale skeleton in the museum is impressive and the exhibit that shows the museum 100 years ago, complete with Adam & Eve and the snake, is something different. Bring a dictionary or be fluent in spanish – the plaques were in spanish only at least still in july.

  6. “I wish I knew if any of these folks had stayed in my room” – Let us just hope that Gilbert Keith Chesterton was not one!

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