Barcelona (including beautiful horizons)
A week or so ago we had an enquiry that needed someone to travel to Barcelona for the weekend. As there’s one staff member who speaks reasonable Spanish , Alastair seemed the perfect person! We asked him to let us know how he got on….
We often work on projects outside the UK, which sounds glamorous, but rarely is. We might be in Italy or the USA, but one hotel room is much like another, and after a day’s hard work you don’t feel much like exploring a new city. But when Teresa asked me if I was able to install a project in Barcelona over a recent weekend, I leapt at the chance to spend a little time in that city.
Our client was an international event agency working with a major software company. I flew in on Saturday and spent the afternoon setting up a custom LEGO® interactive in something over 30°C heat - the air conditioning was turned off in the exhibition hall. Outside, the evening was pleasant, so I headed to a courtyard of tapas bars in the centre of some large apartments. No one spoke much English, but the food was good, and locals from toddlers to great-grandmothers sat outside chatting long into the night.
The next morning I headed back to the exhibition hall. Had our LEGO survived the air-con switch-on? All was good, until an executive arrived with new ideas about the stand plan. The helpful Spanish joiners arrived at just the right time, and I stayed around to make sure that our LEGO creations survived the rearrangement. Once it was all signed off to our client’s satisfaction, I looked at the time. Just over five hours before my flight back. Did I have time to see anything?
With no time to do justice to any of the main tourist sights, I headed off to explore on foot, and found myself climbing round the hill of Montjuïc. An impressive building slowly came into view – the Palau Nacional – and I soon found cascades at the front – and all the tourists, so I headed off again.
I had read Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s Shadow of the Wind, set in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, with no idea what that neighbourhood looked like, so next I explored some of its locations, from the (fictional) Cemetery of Forgotten Books to Els Quatre Gats café (by Gaudí’s contemporary Puig i Cadafalch). Finally I reached the Plaça de Catalunya – just over two hours until my flight… I should head to the airport, but I’ve not seen anything by Gaudí… After a moment’s hesitation, I hurried several blocks northeast, had a quick look at the Casa Batlló, rushed back, and caught the Aerobus to Terminal 1 with a very pink face.
Our clients and our work are always our first priority, but it’s a great bonus to be inspired by new sights and experiences. I hope to return to Barcelona one day and explore some more – and maybe recreate something in LEGO!