This post is a bit delayed, but Spain was quite the adventure! Somehow I was fortunate enough to get to travel to Barcelona for work this past month and it was a complete success. My business development guy out of the UK, named JW, and my engineer out of Japan, named J, all met up in Spain for Mobile World Congress, one of the largest international trade shows of its kind. IT was epic and took about 30 hours of travel time. The city itself is incredible and the conference was a slam dunk, but I won’t be going back. Partly because I got pickpocketed immediately. Partly because I didn’t connect with the locals and felt threatened the whole trip. partly because it’s expensive as shit. And partly because I got in trouble with the law a bit (apparently slugging beer in public is frowned upon)…regardless I will only be sharing a few of these complaints on this forum. Anyways, it was a great time overall and am so thankful my company had the opportunity to visit such a beautiful country.
My grammar was so on point in this google search…
It all started from SD to Chicago, check out this airport, it’s the tits:
Then it was time to commence the longggg flight to Frankfurt!
This is some random raspberry treat they left on my pillow, I had the whole damn row to myself! Thanks United!
Once landed, I went straight to Hotel California (planned it!), a two start hotel next to Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Although my review of the hotel is mediocre at best, the location couldn’t have been better. Las Ramblas is a landmark in this area and known to attract thousands of tourists. Since I had never been to this country, I took the liberty to chuck my bags into my hotel and go straight to La Boqueria, an unbelievably awesome market located in the heart of Las Ramblas. Within minutes of entering the market I was targeted by a flock of pickpocketers (which literally everyone warned me about). It was overwhelming, and since I was traveling alone for the first two days it was very nerve racking. I think part of the reason I stood out so much was that I was the only blonde in an ocean of humans and definitely one of the tallest people around. Or maybe just because I’m a chick…either way roaming around alone is not recommended, I was frightened even during the day. Not only was I uncomfortable, but all of the local men and women hated me for absolutely no reason. Maybe I was being sensitive, but I did not like it. The men were very aggressive and the women were eye-balling the fuck out of me and didn’t welcome my small Spanish speaking skillz – words of wisdom: don’t expect ANYONE speaks English, as the majority do not…But regardless the market itself is amazing, lots of local fare and really unique and foreign trinkets everywhere!
After fighting through the crowds (still worth it) I went to the pub to catch up on some emails where I ended up meeting some seriously awesome travelers. One great thing about traveling alone is the uncomfortable reality that you MUST MAKE NEW FRIENDS. Jean Paul and Ray were two people I met from France that had such a heart warming story. Apparently Jean P’s girlfriend had passed recently, and it was her dream to travel to Barcelona. So his buddy Ray ceased the opportunity and surprised Jean P with a trip of a lifetime, traveling all over Europe and visiting all the places his girlfriend would have wished to. They were so sweet and bought me a couple rounds of beers while we laughed and shared some inappropriate stories.
I also had these delicious fucking snacks that I COULD NOT FIND ANYWHERE except the pub. They are unbelievable, I am highly considering finding them on EBAY and paying some absurd shipping fee.
The next day my sales guy ‘JW’ from the UK flew in and it was so great to finally meet him! We had been working together for a while but had never actually met, we ended up getting along just swimmingly! That night, we went to the W Hotel and JW brought his son with him..The W Hotel turned out to be our fave, So much so that it was dubbed our meeting spot every night after the conference. It’s an absolutely beautiful hotel and the people were incredible there. Here’s the beach…
My camera is obviously a piece of shit, but the hotel is situated right on the water and it is where the rich reside.
These are like $18 cocktails but totallllly bangin. Since we ended up coming here almost every night, the bartenders HOOKED us up with free drinks and snacks the whole week. Props to great customer service! That night we checked out a restaurant right below the W and had some local Paella which is apparently a huge fucking deal here. To me, I’d rather pound a bunch of seafood without the rice, but it was still fantastic nonetheless.
I taught JW how to snapchat which was hilarious. His two sons came and met up with us during this trip to go out and party a bit – I bet they are not pleased I taught their Dad how to Snap, he’s been going HAM lately…
Another night we ended up stumbling upon a hidden gem called La Crema, located in the Gothic Quarter. This place reminded me of sitting down in a nice lil Nana’s house, so warm and friendly with tables extremely close together.
Here are some of our magnificent dishes..
It’s no wonder this place has five starts on Yelp.
The ENTIRE trip we had to rely on Taxis everywhere we went and every damn time we got in the cab our engineer J would go, “Is this Toyota or Nissan” to the driver. Typically the driver would say Toyota, in which J would respond utterly disgusted! It was soooo funny and definitely something you had to be there to fully appreciated how hilarious it was to watch a small Japanese man yell at these Spaniards for driving a Toyota. J is on the right while the cabbie is on the left, you can’t tell by this picture but there is a heated debate regarding car branding going on right now…
At some point in our trip, we went to a place called Ikabana with J and it was such a fun experience. Since he is from Japan, he set us up with a very traditional, Japanese experience. Didn’t want to be rude so kept the pix to the minimum.
After the conference one day we cruised over to a 5 star hotel called Ohla and stopped at the sweet bar inside.
Apparently Barcelona has a big scene for the Jamón, which is dried ham. It was alllll the fuck over the place, every window you looked in someone was carving a pig. It’s pretty decent, but veryyyy rich and incredibly chewy. But I would eat it again.
There was definitely no shortage of drinks and good food on the trip tho…
I bought myself a new leather jacket which was substantially cheaper than leather in America.
The scenery was fantastic! Some very historical shit going on here…
This is Falmenco, the most famous Spanish style dance. I had to sneak this pic as cameras are banned during performance but it was BADASS.
The structure above is actually a grave yard, it’s crazy. It is built into the hills, with each window representing a buried person. It’s intense. The below pic was the awkward building outside of the conference. It’s like a massive, furry, red…something.
I couldn’t stop staring at it. Our first day, we had realized that we did not come equipped with furniture for the sit down meetings with distributors that I had arranged. So we hit Ikea. Here’s my biz dev and engineer unpacking our chairs and tables. Super ghetto and brilliant at the same time.
All in all, the conference was a complete success. The beaches are beautiful, the food is vibrant, and the party scene is nothing short but impressive (people go out at 2am and stay out until 7am). But although a beautiful place, I won’t be returning. It was a sick experience but I felt very on edge and uncomfortable and wouldn’t recommend traveling alone. Plus too many other new EU countries to explore!
More pix to come!