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Escape to Europe (10 days)

Stan (a workmate) and myself had to visit various locations of the company around Europe (Switzerland and Poland). We took advantage of that to arrange a weekend stay at Barcelona and Mataró.

You can imagine that a “quick” business trip to the other side of the world combined with a leisure weekend at Barcelona is not a simple journey. Let me depict some figures to give you an idea of the magnitude:

  • We left Taipei on Saturday 01/05/2010
  • We were back at Taipei 10 days later, 11/05/2010
  • Total time at Mataró with my family: 18 hores
  • Airports that we visited:  10 –> Taipei, Hong-Kong, München, Geneve, Berlin, Poznan, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Milano (we did not even leave the plane), Singapore
  • Total flights: 9
  • Delayed flights: 0
  • Canceled flights: 1 (from Barcelona to Munich). See details below.
  • Total distance:  +/- 27.000 Km (a little bit less than 3/4 of around the world trip at the Ecuador, this is about 40.o00 Km)
  • Luggage: 0 (only hand luggage. Too risky too lose in any of the flights)
  • Beds: 8 (3 hotels, 2 at Barcelona, 1 at Mataró,  2 planes)
  • Books finished: 2 (one that was already well advanced [Enough] and a short one [A week at the airport]).

I won’t bore you with all the business meetings :). Obviously the most funny bit of the trip was the weekend at Catalunya.

On Friday and Saturday (partially) I left Stan with some friends at Barcelona and I went to Mataró to visit my family. I was carrying green&red tea, coins from the various trips around Asia and  one mosquito racket (I will need to write a post on this tool to kill mosquitoes). As expected, my mum cooked paella!

One of the things we have learned here is that Asian people are really surprised to know what we eat rabbits! For them rabbits are just pets (like Westerners would consider about cats and dogs).  Ups… sorry :)

‘Stan, that had never been to Barcelona before,  carried a camera but it got lost on some of the planes so we could not take pictures :(.  We just made few of them with the mobile phone at Park Güell and at la Barceloneta.  We were really lucky with the weather

Thank you very much to Francesc/Antonio and Carles/Mar to host us at their houses at Barcelona.

Thank you very much also to those who had some time for a quick beer and get mutually up to date. Living abroad for a while (specially in a very different country) modifies your point of view (more than I expected to be honest) and it was important for me to share these thoughts with friends.

Internet is just an incredible tool that really allows to minimize the distances. One of the funny discoveries on this trip is that, even I have already been 5 months away, friends and family knew quite well about my life in Taipei. This blog, videoconferences, Skype calls, Facebook and chats allow to keep a regular, fluent and quite deep communication.

Another surprise was to realize that we eat a lot of bread (in the same way Asian do with rice),  patatas bravas and drink beer (Estrella and Voll-Damm specially). Food, in general, is more salty than in Taiwan. The metro/train felt dirty, confusing and chaotic compared to the service that you get at Taipei or other parts of Asia. Having access to media in my own language was also a new experience. At Taipei we hardly ever watch TV (just TV Catalunya and LaSexta over internet). I also bought a number of newspaper (we read them over internet, but it is not the same). “Local” news (Estatut, corruption, sports events, etc.) are kind of weird when you look at them from a distance.

After the chaos with the flights on Saturday, we called Barcelona airport on Sunday morning to ask about the situation. They said it was OK … so far. After an excellent lunch at Barceloneta we went to Barcelona airport in the evening just to realize that our flight to Munich was cancelled because of the volcanic ashes. You can see the map below, from Saturday at the time that we had to take the plane … with a spot right on top of Munich ;P

After almost 4 queuing  Lufthansa managed to get us an alternative for Monday morning via Singapore. In fact this is exactly the same route that I and also Anna did to reach Taipei on December.

On Tuesday late afternoon, after almost 24 hours on planes (Barcelona-Milano-Singapore-Taipei) my hand luggage contained the following material:

As souvenir I took some food (fuet, spanish ham and cheese. In fact this is illegal to take to Taiwan),  spanish cookies,  a number of newspapers (including Sunday edition specials and one DVD), coins from four countries (euro, swiss  franc, polish zloty and taiwanese dollar), three “do not disturb” from the hotels (as I keep a collection of that) and a little taxi toy from Barcelona.

If things go as expected, it is likely that a similar trip will take place early September… hopefully with Anna and for some more days.

See you soon then!


    Segur que mai havies fet tants kilòmetres per anar a menjar una paella.

    La mare està molt satisfeta en veure la seva paella exposada al blog.

    Per altra banda, queda ben clar que ens agrada menjar conill.

  • la imatge del viage es sens dubte: LA VANGUARDIA I CHINO FOR DUMMIES A LA MATEIXA MALETA.

  • Quasi que em va fer més il·lusió veure la llonganissa i el pernil que a l’Albert! ;)

  • I saw the photo of the rabbit……