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Had a few obligations to tie up last week in the EU, which allowed for a few days rest and relaxation in the south of Spain. The area is one of my favorites, with good food, sunshine and great culture. Revisited the famous Mezquita (mosque) in Cordoba, one of the true architectural delights of the world. At one time the second largest mosque in the world, the mosque was turned into a cathedral with the Christian capture of the city in the 12th century. Although there are numerous naves to various saints, these are all relatively underwhelming when compared to the intoxicating forest of columns, spandrels and arches that immediately confronts the visitor.
Here are a few pictures that don't do it justice:
The wonder of having two teenage daughters is that at the end of the day I'd calculated that we'd spent more time (45 minutes) at the local department store (El Corte Ingles) then at what is widely considered one of the greatest buildings in the world (35 minutes). Oh well, I have my video tapes.
Also took the time to reread James Mitchener's wonderful book Iberia which should be mandatory for all who visit the country. Although written in the 1950's and '60s, it is still a fresh and relevant look at the Spanish psyche, written by a true student and devotee.
During our all too brief time we stayed at a few of the government run hotels, called paradors. They are often in castles, palaces, fortresses, convents, monasteries and other historic buildings. Surprisingly from my last visit, in addition to the often ponderous local fare, which can vary from great to abysmal, there are now special menus for vegetarians and celiac diners, which are what we often chose from.
Although I have family in the north of Spain (near Barcelona) we were not in country long enough to travel the distance necessary to visit them, however hopefully in the fall we'll get a chance to shoot up there.
Returning back to New York's JFK airport we were assaulted by the aftereffects of a rather large ice storm, which blanketed the area with almost a foot of snow, which then compacted down to a blue stone-like ice, so I spent my first day back chiseling out our cars from the snowy depths.
IfHI 2007 has hit the magical 60 day mark, which traditionally ramps up my stress levels a bit. Personally, I feel more comfortable going into this conference that with either of the prior two, having perhaps a surplus of material for the first time.
Enjoying Rex Dwyer's wonderful book about programming bioinformatic computer code Genomic Perl. Not for the fainthearted, but gosh, what a treasure trove!
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