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July 29: departure from Barcelona

And just like that, the six-month adventure was rapidly coming to a close.

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Soft morning sun atop the lightwell.

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Time to pack away the good ol' desk setup.

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The sun just emerging over the block across the street.

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The very comfy living room couch luxuriating in the morning sun.

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The classy and cozy living room.

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One last crisp, clear gaze out the back window.

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And away we go.

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Bye, Barcelona.

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But there was still a lot more to see. Here, not too far west of the city, the beetle-shaped mountain village of Ordal.

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Order within (apparent) chaos.

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Well who can it be but Montserrat, looking very serrated indeed.

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These fields look like immiscible films of liquid swirling around each other.

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Judging by their rockiness, these must be the Pyrenees.

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Check out how both the sky and ground become lighter toward the horizon.

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A particularly venous network of waterways.

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Mmmm, mackerel.

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#Swag.

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Suddenly, it's like the planet is missing underneath the clouds.

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A cumulus sandwich on stratus bread.

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A small gap in the cumulus field reveals mysterious geometric patterns in the land.

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These undulating fields look a bit like a prone The Scream-type rubbery personage.

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A very English-looking landscape as we approached Heathrow; this would be my second time ever in the UK.

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In the early stages of the transatlantic flight: a peninsula somewhere in the far west of the British Isles. It seems very close in shape to the end of Cornwall, but just a bit off, and that wouldn't make much sense in terms of flight path — I think it must be much further north.

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There wasn't quite enough room on the immigration form to fit the names of the nine countries I'd been to over the course of this six months — only two of which I had ever previously visited.

What an incredible time. The landscapes and buildings I encountered, and everything I learned during this half-year from my teachers, classmates, tour guides, etc., have had a profound and lasting effect on my understanding of the world, and particularly on how we shape our surroundings. I hope that, if you've just completed the Herculean task of reading through this entire gallery, some of the wonderment and expansion of perspective that I experienced along the way has been apparent.

It's May 15, 2013 as I write this, the day I depart for Europe on my first trip there since this one. It's been an intense few months racing to complete nearly the entire second half of the gallery, after many months-long stretches of procrastination, in time to close this chapter and begin the next one with a clean slate.

Another note, July 28: The only piece still incomplete at that point was adding the photo links to the nature journal page, which is now finished as of July 20. So now, just before the fourth anniversary of the return trip you've just seen, the site is complete. And now... stay tuned.