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SPAIN: The Residencia de Estudiantes
John Heelan reports on this stay at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid:
"La Resi" still has a magic about it!. I stayed there a couple of years ago while I was doing some research work in the library of the Fundación García Lorca just around the corner. Although some of the buildings had just been renovated, the place still exuded an aura of academe and scholarship, with many nations present at the dining tables. For impoverished research students, "La Resi" still offers excellent (if monastic) accommodation and food for very reasonable prices.
I would love to have been able to visit it during the period it housed Lorca, Buñuel, Dalí, Bello and others as well as entertaining some of the best international speakers of the day."
My comment: John is referring to the time I lived there: I am far from as enthusiastic as he is about the people he names. In contrast with these show-offs, credit should be given to the scientists who were quietly doing their important work. I agree that the program of lectures by international figures of the day was excellent. I say "figures" rather than speakers, since especially noteworthy was the performance of Bach's concerto for four pianos.
As for "monastic" accommodations, they are certainly not as austere as they were when I lived there. During the Franco period they were greatly improved. Of course, it depends on what you mean by "monastic"; some monks lives well. "Spartan" would be less ambiguous and would avoid the religious connotations. Certainly the Residencia was and is a great place to meet Hispanists from around the world.
Ronald Hilton - 12/29/01