But from a personal point of view, I’ve been going to this conference for the last ten years and the last six or seven in Barcelona and this was it was the first time I actually liked the city. I know a lot of people that are delighted each year to go to Barcelona and to be honest I just couldn’t see it, however this year it was different.
Firstly, I stayed in an area of the city that I could actually imagine living in. In previous years we’ve stayed in dodgy apartments in dodgy areas of the city – it’s the downside of going to a show with 70,000 thousand other people. However, this year we stayed in a nice part of town with bars, cafes, supermarkets etc that I could imagine going into in real life.
Secondly, we got there a day early and had time to acclimatise. Normally we arrive the evening before the show and it’s all work. This year we had an extra day. It meant that for a few hours at least that we were visiting Barcelona [almost] out of choice – and that puts a different perspective on it.
But finally, going for a run made a lot of difference. Partly because it felt like a real activity, like I might actually do it in real life; partly because it allowed me to see the city at a different pace; partly because we ran round here; and partly because it meant that I did something more than just work and drink beer (although I did plenty of both of them too).