Final This Time Last Year

After a relaxing weekend in Barcelona, it was time to jump back into seminar. Day 8 started out at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies (Antoni Tàpies Foundation) which happened to be one street over from my apartment. This visit was a little different since the foundation was closed to the public while they finished a large renovation project. We did a short visit and were supposed to head back to the MNAC to hear Phyllis Hecht, the director of the JHU Museum Studies program, give a lecture, and to test an app for the museum in the afternoon. It was great to get to meet and spend time with Phyllis in person rather than through e-mail or on the message boards in class. I might be wrong here, but I don’t think testing the app ever happened because the app was only available on an iPhone and not everyone had one, or something like that. I think that the afternoon ended up being a make-up of a lecture we had missed earlier from the week before or it was spent researching. Hey, I can’t possibly remember every detail!

Day 9 began at La Pedrera/Casa Milà, a building designed by Gaudi. Again this was one of the stops I remember from my first visit to Spain all those years ago. From the interesting designs through out the building and stone structures on the roof, Gaudi thought of everything. Our next stop was the Museu del Disseny (Design Museum of Barcelona). It was one of my favorite stops mostly because of the fashion exhibit. We had our lecture before we went on a tour of the museum. My cold decided to rear it’s head and I ended up having a coughing attack during the lecture which again killed my anxiety, being loud and having everyone look at you in the room and out in the hallway sucked. This museum is also interesting because they are still working on moving the collection to its new home. Back to the fashion exhibit! It highlighted how different areas of the body were shown off in different eras and how those same areas are shown off in fashion today. I have always loved the history of fashion. It’s definitely one of my top three areas of history after Ancient History and Native American History. In the afternoon on this day, we again had time to work on our projects.

Oh day 10, day 10 was my most favorite day! I have loved Ancient History for as long as I can remember and day 10 just set my heart a flutter. We all met at the museum to take a two hour drive to Figueres where we would visit both the archaeological site of Empúries and the Dalí Theatre and Museum. We started out in Empúries which is along the coast which means we got to go to the beach. Is there anything better than ancient ruins and the beach? Empúries is both a Greek site and a Roman site. The Greek site was there first and has been excavated more completely than the Roman site. They were port cities and were pivotal in playing a role in both the Greek and Roman history in Spain. After Empúries, we had lunch in Figueres and then walked over to the Dalí Theatre and Museum. Okay, I am going to get this out of the way, I am not a huge fan of modern/weird art. That being said, I love Dalí. His work is just the perfect kind weird enough that it clicks in my brain without creeping me out too much or just turning me off to the subject entirely.

Day 11 continued on to be second favorite day and it was also the last day of our visits to other institutions. We met at the MUHBA, Museum of History of Barcelona. We did a lecture like usual and then we toured the ruins of Barcino, the Roman city that would become Barcelona. The ruins are located underneath the museum and we worked our way up through the exhibits. We were then given the option to visit a small museum dedicated to telling the history of the Jewish population or not. I decided not to miss out on getting to see this extra place, especially since it was opened just for us. This museum was also more hands-on than the others and allowed visitors to interact more with the subject via touch-screens, projects, etc. The afternoon was spent finishing up our projects. Day 11 was also when a huge curve ball was thrown into my travel plans thanks to a large winter storm hitting the east coast.

Day 12, I had been up pretty early rearranging my travel plans. I was originally supposed to fly from Barcelona to Newark then Newark to Indianapolis. It was simple. I wanted it to be that simple, but life and the weather had other plans. I had to talk to three different people to get my flight rearranged because the only other option was to transfer to another airline and the first person said it wasn’t possible, the second  person wanted to help and transferred me to the third who got it all sorted. In order to get home, I ended up having to leave early on day 12. I gave my presentation and listened to all of the other Wikipedia presentations before departing from the MNAC and the amazing people I had met there. It was bittersweet to leave because I really did want to stay longer but I had to get home to Tyler, Opie and Percy.

The new flight plan sent me from Barcelona to Frankfurt, Germany to Chicago to Indianapolis. Sounds simple but because of the connecting flight times I had to spend the night in Frankfurt airport. Which also seemed simple, take a nap, read a book, get on my flight and go home. Well it wasn’t, because apparently things just can’t be simple! First they close the terminals so you can’t sleep in the nice comfortable chairs there. You had to go down to different level. It was cold, they were doing construction and I should have just gotten a room. Luckily it wasn’t too creepy as there were a good amount of travelers just like me doing the exact same thing. The good thing about this was that I was one of the first to go through security and one of the first to get on the plane in my section. I had a window seat and the most leg room so as soon as my ass hit that seat I passed out. It was nice to finally get some sleep, I go two hours at best in the airport, and by the time I woke up we were in the air. But thanks to falling asleep, I didn’t realize that we had sat on the runway for an hour or two as they de-iced the plane. When I landed in Chicago I had maybe 30 minutes to get from one flight to the other so I could finally get home. 30 minutes sounds like plenty of time but it wasn’t. When you take an international flight coming into the US that connects to another US flight you have to claim your checked baggage, go through customs, re-check the bag, and get to your new terminal. They handed out express passes so those of us scrambling. I asked the guy who took my bags where I needed to go and he told be exactly where and that I should make it in time. I needed to get to terminal 3, which was several stops away by tram. I ran off the tram through security and arrived at my gate with seconds to spare. Unfortunately it wasn’t my gate…… He gave me directions to a gate that did have a flight leaving to Indianapolis but not for several hours. I was sweating, exhausted mentally and physically, and I didn’t have any shoes on them. I stopped to make some phone calls, put all of my carry-on bags down and re-group. When I got back up, I was still in tears but determined to get home. I decided my best option was to just rent a car and drive instead of waiting another 4 hours. I would get home before the other flight was even ready to take off. It turns out my checked luggage also didn’t make it on my missed flight and would be sent on the next one.

I drove my ass all the way home after traveling for at least 24 hours and was so glad I did. Opie was excited to see me, Tyler was excited to see me and Percy, well he peed himself which either means he was scared because he didn’t remember who I was (this happens sometime or he was just really really excited to see me. I was able to go the airport later that same night and get my bag and drop off the rental car. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized by laptop was missing. It turns out I had pulled it out and left it sitting on the chairs where I had stopped to have my mental breakdown in the O’Hare Airport. Luckily it was easy to claim and mailed directly to me.

Well, that’s it! That is my entire trip to Barcelona! Of course, I left out some details about what did on some days but not everything would seem as exciting to someone reading this blog compared to how exciting it was to me living it.

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