I’ve just been staying in Las Ramblas, Barcelona for a couple of weeks whilst working on the GSM World Mobile Congress…
My first visit to Barcelona and I was more than a little bit gutted that my BMX wouldn’t fit in my suitcase, but going somewhere without a bike for once did give me a chance to trot around the city on foot and therefore actually take in my surroundings a little, for once.
I had heard all the scare stories about muggings, pickpockets, drugs etc around Las Ramblas, and I can’t deny that all were present, but there are police kicking around and leaving the door prepared meant that I didn’t feel particularly intimidated at any time during my stay. The one man that did try to rob me was very polite about it, and he walked into a tree so I had the last laugh anyway.
Don’t walk alone at night, don’t fill your pockets with valuables and don’t talk to the friendly strangers and you can have a very good time indeed exploring the ancient alleyways, shops and bars of this intriguing district of an architecturally fascinating city full of old world wonders and new school fashionistas. The smoking ban has somehow finally reached Spain too so popping into a pub for a look-see no longer dictates a smoke-screen battle and an engraining scent.
Just below our apartment there were two really good bookshops with speakers most nights, several typically Spanish bars where tapas flowed (unfortunately not freely) and the streets sprawled onwards for a seeming eternity. It took me a whole week before I stopped getting lost on my way home everyday.
I’m back to Barcelona in a weeks time to de-construct everything that myself and the 1,500 other contractors just put up for the GSM show, fortunately the firm that I’m working for will be re-using all their materials, but it really shocked me to see how much has gone into the show that will undoubtedly be put to waste come the take-down. I suppose shows like this are happening all over the world all the time, and certainly aid the economic flow and the progression of The Human Brand™. Lets just hope that the people in charge are thinking resourcefully.