Tuesday, February 21, 2006
I was really lucky this trip. I barely made it out of Nashville before the heaviest snow hit. The trip from Nashville to Atlanta was really bland and fortunately only 35 minutes. However, I totally lucked out that my flight from Atlanta to London was upgrade to business class. Can you see how much leg room there is in the photo on the left?
Day One in Barcelona, Spain - I'm taking this trip primarily to participate in a board of directors meeting for PASS, the Professional Association for SQL Server (www.sqlpass.org). I'm currently serving as the president of the organization. The PASS board of directors are staying at the Hotel Fira Palace (http://www.fira-palace.com/barcelonahotels/ing/index.htm). It's a very nice hotel with lots of marble all over the place and just a couple blocks from the beautiful National Palace of Catalonia.
We spent all day in deep discussions about key strategy for the organization. And the last two days of the week, we'll be hosting our European conference.
The meetings are productive, but tough due to jet lag. Everyone was tired and struggling through the day. After finally wrapping up the first day of meetings, we met again for dinner. Now, you have to remember that in Spanish culture, dinner doesn't happen before 9:00 pm.
The Spaniards are still very zealous about siesta. That means that everything shuts down between about 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Heaven forbid that you should need a MaxiPad, because there won't be anyplace open to sell it to you. That also means that no one is ready for dinner until late, except for tourists. Dinner on our first full night kicked off around 8:30 pm at a great portside seafood restaurant called La Fonda. You can see some pictures of La Fonda at http://www.lafondadelport.com/principalin.htm.
Spanish dinners are slow and languid. The Spaniards don't believe in "turning tables" like at US restaurants. We even got to celebrate Wayne Snyder's "33" birthday. Go Wayne! (Yes, it was his birthday. No, he's not really 33.)
Night life in Barcelona is non-stop. Everything is open very late. Families with small kids were coming into the restaurant at 11:00 or 11:30 at night! Almost every restaurant is open until at least 1:00 am. The bars don't really even kick into high gear until at least 2:00 am. Lots of tourist attractions, like the Catedral at left are, if not open, at least well lit for you to take pictures.
The last thing to mention about my first two days at Barcelona is the gorgeous fountains at the base of Montjuic, where the palace is located. They must've been the inspiration for the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. They have beautiful light and music shows most of the night.
sportbook for any evil genius, hero, sidekick, henchman, or innocent bystander.
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