November 01, 2012

Spain (in 48 hours)

The past 2 months have been a blur thanks to planes and travel.  In addition to two wonderful vacations (that I'm behind on sharing), I've had work travel like it's well .... my job!  Dallas, Chicago, California ... the normal stops plus a last minute trip to Barcelona have kept me one very busy diva!

Here's a few snaps from my glorious, but short, trip to Barcelona.  Even though I don't speak a lick of Spanish today (working on correcting that with some training), I'd definitely consider some repeat visits!  I was there for meetings but was able to squeeze in a few site seeing stops, more food than my belly could take and the gracious hospitality of the local culture.  It was a great time as far as work goes for sure!

My journey started in Barcelona, where a new found friend and local colleague picked me up from the airport and whisked me north towards France.  We found our home for the next 24 hours in the Pyrenees mountains.  The tiny village was charming and warm.  Home to about 7,000 people, it's also the home of the business partner I was there to meet.  Picture a small, nice ski town in Colorado with far more old world charm.... that's it!

The village is nestled atop a hill and the views are absolutely breath taking, day and evening.  The hosts were oozing with Euro hospitality and we ate ourselves silly with meals that lasted far too long, eating way too much!  Details on those delish dishes later.

After a jet lagged day of meetings, we headed back to Barcelona to meet a few more partners and conduct some interviews.  By this point, I was determined not to return to Spain until I could speak SOME Spanish.  I felt like such an American not knowing anything to say but pointing like a wild woman at what I was trying to say.  Not to mention, my hosts had already told me that I look like what they expect "Americans to look like" for whatever that's worth.  And, then they proceeded to ask me if I was a Prom Queen, to which I laughed and realized that this "American look" must not be too terribly bad!  
Back in Barcelona, work wrapped up and we had a few hours to spare.  My local colleague was kind enough to stay and serve as my tour guide and interpretter for the remainder of the evening.  Sigh of relief for sure! 
Among our many, brief sight seeing stops in the city we ....
Went to the market to see the amazing displays of culinary wonders.  From cheeses, produce, meats of all kinds and sweets ... this market had everything you can imagine (and a few graphic meat related things I wish I could block out!).

We walked the crowded streets, oogling over the old architecture and charm.
We stood in awe (and me with my iphone camera) at the beautiful state buildings and cathedrals.  The architecture is a wonder.  I stand mesmorized every time I think about how difficult it must have been and how long it took to build these beautiful buildings back so long ago.

And this is where my tour guide likely thought I'd lost my mind ... I went from tourist to crazy lady, snapping pictures of the cute Halloween window display.  He could understand the buildings ... but the pumpkins ... a man will just never understand!

After a brief trip, I'm ready to start my language training in prep for a return visit.  Love, love, love it!