Mon Oct 15
This year I had the opportunity to attend VMworld Europe for the first time in Barcelona. Being that I was quite uninitiated for VMworld Europe I figured I would supplement my VMworld for the Uninitiated post. Original post Here
1. Language: The primary language of Barcelona is Catalan but Spanish can serve you quite well. I have some passable language skills that proved EXTREMELY helpful when navigating Barcelona. I HIGHLY recommend learning some conversational Spanish/Catalan. It will make for an easier trip and most of the people I interacted with were very thankful for the effort. Please and thank you go a long way in any language!
2. Property: There were quite a few people at VMworld who were victims of pick pockets. Robbery isn’t uncommon in large cities so here are a few points of note. Be mindful when in “tourist” areas. These areas are prime targets for pick pockets. Keep your stuff in your front pockets and avoid people “bumping” into you.
2.1 Property: There were a few people who were robbed as a result of unexpected attention from people of the opposite sex. These events often occurred outside of restaurants and bars/clubs. Ladies might get real close, ask where you’re from, and pick your pockets. Rule of Thumb: If strange ladies don’t normally crawl all over you when you’re out in public then be confident they won’t likely start doing it just because you left home. Sorry guys. Here’s one Tale from my buddy Nick
3. Cash vs Credit: Carrying cash (Euros) is a very good idea especially when it comes to transportation. Not all of the cabs allowed credit cards and those that did generally only took Visa and Mastercard. Make sure you do your exchange prior to needing a cab.
4. Food: One of the cool things about visiting another country is the new foods. One of the sad things about attending a conference in another country is the conference foods. Note: They did serve hot foods and those meals were considerably better than eating the little salads and sandwiches. Still conference food.
5. Transportation: As mentioned before best to carry cash. Here are some “sub” tips
5.1: Know the Street name that your hotel (destination) is on. It really helps. Region as well if possible.
5.2: If cab driver doesn’t know Fira Gran Via you can get them close by telling them “Gran Via Dos” or near “Hotel Fira Congress”
5.3: The Metro (Subway) is doable but may require making train swaps. This can be a bit confusing for those not comfortable with a map. Plan accordingly.
5.4: It seems that the cabs charge fare surcharges for trips to and from the Airport, Fira Gran Via, etc. They also charge more in the early hours of the AM 00:00-06:00 for instance. Note: Not sure why the cab drivers know to charge the surcharge for Fira Gran Via as posted in their cabs but can’t seem to sort out where the hell it is located. Go figure :-/
5.5: Some cab drivers may not have change for a 50 euro. I found it useful to get those broken up.
5.6: Be careful if you realize you don’t have enough cash for your fare. I was told that a cab driver at one point took his fare to a couple of different bogus ATMs and they ended up getting robbed quite a bit.
6. Tourist it Up: I highly recommend taking advantage of the fact that you’re traveling abroad and give yourself at least an afternoon to do some touristy things.
7. Cellular Coverage: Make sure you check with your carrier for plans and availability to use your phone abroad. Being an AT&T customer on an iPhone 4S I didn’t have any trouble getting connected. I did end up getting a data roaming plan but it’s still TBD how much it’s still going to cost me
These are only a few things that I thought were pertinent to my travel to VMworld in Barcelona. It’s a different experience and I really enjoyed my time there. I hope you get an opportunity to attend for future events. If so I hope you find these suggestions useful. I’m always open to your suggestions as well so please leave some in the comments. Thanks for reading!