Published: May 8th 2011February 28th 2011 28/02/2011
The unusual yet stunning Sagrada Familima Church in Barcelona
– When I was given the opportunity to travel to Barcelona through work to attend a Philips product event I took it up straight away. Especially since I was recently trying to find time to visit Barcelona, so I asked Philips to extend my trip for an extra night to take advantage of being out there already. After now having lived in Europe for over 3 years this was the first time I was even visiting Spain. My colleagues and I went straight to Heathrow Airport from work to catch our British Airways flight into Barcelona. We arrived around 7:30PM and were taken to our 5 star hotel, Hesperia Towers by a Philips hostess. Once we checked in I headed to my room on the 23rd floor, it was incredible, a very nice hotel with a spectacular views. I met the team for dinner in one of the restaurants for a fantastic meal, then we headed up to the bar for drinks. It wasn’t until early in the morning I headed back to my room to get some rest before a big day tomorrow. 01/03/2011
– I woke up this morning and got myself ready for a day full
The beautiful small town of Montserrat, an hour from Barcelona.
of product presentations from Philips. After a delicious breakfast we met downstairs for the Philips introduction. Now I’m not going to bore you with the details of our day because to be honest the entire time was spent in product presentations. But as interesting as it was the weather outside was absolutely fantastic and it was hard not to think about being outdoors. That being said it was a great opportunity to get an inside view of the upcoming gadgets coming onto the market, all in all, a very interesting day. We all headed to our rooms to get ready for a night out in Barcelona, on Philips. Shortly after we met downstairs and jumped on a coach which took us into the city centre. We stopped at a large pub and rushed inside to find table’s setup with tapas and ingredients to make various types of Sangria. Each country took a table and since we were honorary Slovakians while here we joined them in trying to create the best tasting Sangria imaginable.
We threw on a plastic apron and chef’s hat, grabbed a recipe and began making Sangria. After throwing all the ingredients together we tasted it and
Incredible view of the valley around Montserrat while standing in the town
weren’t impressed, as was the staff member on our table. So he helped us to improve our Sangria and it was so much better. Each table then handed our creation to the judges who tasted each Sangria to decide which table did the best effort. We all cheered for Slovakia as the judges gave us second, only just beaten by the Czech team. Afterwards we headed downstairs to try out some flamenco dancing. Three Spanish flamenco dancers got up on stage and step by step taught us how to do the basic steps of flamenco, I was horribly bad and gave up shortly after, as did most of our group. We finished our Sangria then headed outside to where the buses were waiting to take us to dinner and a professional flamenco show.
Once we arrived we were the first off the bus and lucky enough to get front row seats at a table right in the middle of the stage. It was a fantastic venue and much larger than I was expecting. Our menus were on the table and I was devastated to see what was for dinner, Seafood Paella, I was so disappointed. The food was awful,
Exploring the tiny town of Montserrat
the only safe bet was my bread roll and plain salad, and of course the wine, thank god there was wine. But eventually the flamenco show was underway and it was absolutely fantastic. I was shocked at how good these dancers were, it was mesmorising and extremely enjoyable. For the reminder of the night, we had the option to either head out to a bar or back to the hotel. So we headed to a bar called Opium for a few drinks and a chat to all out Philips colleagues. The bus took us back to the hotel at 2am, I feel straight asleep. 02/03/2011
– Woke up only a few hours after getting in last night and got myself ready to meet my colleagues for a meeting with our Philips representatives. After an hour we rushed upstairs to get changed as today Philips were taking everyone out on a day trip to Montserrat. It was an hour in the coach before we reached the tiny mountain town of Montserrat, but the drive up the mountain was stunning. We had an hour to explore the town so most of us followed our guide straight to the impressive cathedral. After
A small beachside town called Sitges, famous for it\'s carnivals.
a brief look around and a few photos we were all getting hungry. We decided to grab a small snack before lunch (which turned out to be an incredibly good idea), so I thought pizza would be a safe bet until I sat down and saw tuna on it. Again was hugely disappointed and getting very frustrated with seafood being everywhere. We finished up and slowly headed back to the bus and headed to our next stop.
So we were on our way to a small beachside town called Sitgues, not far from Barcelona. However the drive seemed to go on forever, in fact almost everyone, including myself fell asleep on the way to the coastal town. By the time we reached Sitgues it was around 2PM and we still hadn’t really had lunch, luckily we stopped for that snack earlier. We followed our guide as we walked along the beautiful beach to where we were having lunch. Sitgues seemed like a lovely little coastal town which in the middle of summer would be great for a holiday. We eventually sat down for lunch in a seafood restaurant, I couldn’t believe my luck. Seafood tapas to start but fortunately
The Passion facade entrance to the Sagarada Familia
it was a roast for lunch, finally something I’d eat and enjoy. Again as if a final insult it came out covered in mushrooms, I almost cried, but ate around them and enjoyed what I could, luckily there was loads of wine. Once lunch was finished we walked back through the street of Sitgues to the bus which took us back to Barcelona to our hotel.
My colleagues and I took another hour or so to finish our meeting with Philips from this morning then got ready for this evenings dinner. We all jumped on the coach and headed for a restaurant in central Barcelona, I was praying it wasn’t seafood again. We arrived at a fantastic restaurant which sat atop a mountain overlooking Barcelona, we had views of the entire city. And even better news, the menu for tonight was steak, I was so happy finally a non-seafood meal, and the meal itself was fantastic. Afterwards a few of us decided to head over to the Barcelona casino, however when we got there they would not allow me in because I only had a non-EU drivers license, my passport was in my hotel room. Incredibly frustrated we headed
Fantastic views as I approach the unreal Sagrada Familia
back to the hotel to have a few drinks before heading off to sleep. 03/03/2011
– Today I was able to sleep in a little since the rest of my colleagues were heading back to the UK, I however had an extra day to explore Barcelona. I got ready and packed my bags then checkout out of the 5 star Hesperia Hotel to get a taxi to the 3 star Hesperia Hotel just off Las Ramblas. I checked in at the Hesperia Ramblas then shortly after headed out to explore Barcelona, unfortunately the weather was awful and rained sometimes heavily, pretty much all day. I jumped onto a sightseeing bus as it drove a loop around the entire city of Barcelona, a good way to see as much as I could in just 1 day. The main thing I wanted to see while I was here in Barcelona was the famous Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Once the sightseeing bus was here I jumped off to get a closer look inside and out of this incredible building.
The Sagrada Famila began construction in the late 1800’s and was still being built today, with various cranes and workmen, the cathedral still
Amazing futuristic insides of the Sagrada Familia
looked like a construction site in places. But even so it was a beautiful building and had more detail than any other building I had ever seen. There was a queue to get in which went around the side of the building however thankfully the rain had stopped and the queue went quite fast as well. Once inside I grabbed an audio guide and followed it as it took me around the entrance of this amazing building then inside. The inside was incredible, it felt like something from the future with smooth branching columns reaching to the ceiling and many different colours of tinted windows. Unfortunately though due to the severe weather the lifts up to the spires were not running, a little disappointing but inside was so spectacular it was hard to look away.
After exploring around the beautiful cathedral and museum as well, I left to get some lunch, then jumped back on the sightseeing bus. The weather was still miserable but at least the rain had stopped for now. I decided to jump off to visit Parc Guell, like the Sagrada Familia it was designed by Guadi. I wandered around the unique architecture which at some
The different colours of tinted windows create an amazing atmosphere
areas offered spectacular unobstructed views across Barcelona. Eventually I hopped back on the sightseeing bus and slowly made my way back to the hotel. I had a short rest in my hotel room before heading back out onto Las Ramblas to get some dinner. I ate at what I thought was the Spanish version of Pizza Express, then shortly after returned to the hotel to sleep. 04/03/2011
– My last day in Barcelona was a short one. I woke up and got some breakfast and had a brief look around Catalonia Plaza. Frustratingly it was clear skies and relatively warm as well. By mid morning I was on my way back to the hotel to catch a taxi to Barcelona Airport. My afternoon flight with British Airways was stress free and arrived back into London by mid afternoon. It was a great experience while in Barcelona and I was extremely grateful to be offered the opportunity to visit. Especially since I’d been wanting to go for so long. Accommodation:
Hesperia Towers & Hesperia Las Ramblas
There are more photos below