30 October 2018
Last month the team took a trip to Barcelona, two of our interior designers, Sophie and Sarah, have written a blog piece all about what we got up to…
After a tipsy flight from Newcastle, we arrived in Barcelona instantly feeling the temperature difference from not so sunny Newcastle. We checked into the hotel and made our way to a quirky little restaurant not far from the hotel for our first taste of tapas. With everyone in high spirits and a fully packed itinerary, we called it a night to prepare ourselves for a busy day ahead.
Bright and early, Park Guell was the first stop of the trip. The remarkable architecture certainly woke us up, we had a slow walk around the park to admire every bit of detail and the scenic early morning view over Barcelona was one to remember.
The park was originally built as part of an unsuccessful housing development between 1900-1914, where only 2 houses were built – one of which Gaudi bought for himself and his family. This is now known as the Gaudi House Museum and is an historic artistic monument. The park has become a symbol of Gaudi’s organic and natural style, where he practiced the structural solutions that would develop in the creation of the Sagrada Familia, which was our next stop.
We took a walk down to the centre of Barcelona with a quick coffee stop on the way, feeling very inspired. We arrived at the Sagrada Familia, luckily with pre-booked tickets as the queues were huge! Visiting the Sagrada Familia is an absolute must when in Barcelona, the columns of the interior are a unique Gaudi design, the ceiling is so ornate you could spend all day just looking up and admiring the details.
In the afternoon we split into groups for our chosen activity, and it wouldn’t be a Ward Robinson team trip without a tour of the city on some form of electric vehicle. The brave of us chose an e-bike tour, which was made easier by the fact the bike had a turbo setting. We were able to explore the 10 most famous landmarks and monuments in Barcelona which included riding on the roads, along the marina and down the busy Las Ramblas. Others took a walk around the very interesting art nouveau site of Sant Pau, admiring the lovely serene tiled interiors.
Later that afternoon, Brian and Ian organised a top-secret activity with Mark and Sarah from Greenhouse, a company which organises team building activities for businesses. The activity involved splitting into teams and running around the city to find random objects in an hour with a set budget and set rules. This was a challenge as most of the shops were shut and the destination was half an hour away from the starting point. None of us knew what we were going to do with the objects and why we were buying them until we reached our final destination at the beach and were informed that we had to build sandcastles using the objects we bought. It was all good fun, but it is fair to say we all worked really well as a team and that was the objective, to see which role everyone played when working together.
To de-stress we collapsed into the Carpe Diem beach bar lounge to de-brief with a cocktail in our hand and reflect on our day so far.
We made our way back to the hotel to freshen up for our evening. We ate at a tapas restaurant called Sensi Mezzanine Restaurant, they provided us with lots of tasty tapas and copious bottles of wine. Everyone was in high spirits, so we carried on the fun and headed to a selection of bars in the Gothic Quarter.
On Tuesday morning, with a little bit of a headache we all met on the hotel roof top for a group workshop which involved a de-brief to analyse our performances in Monday’s challenge and to gather feedback.
For the afternoon, Katy and Louise had organised a site visit with Nic and Pere from Zaga Architecture, who are part of the Ryder Alliance, to visit the San Antoni Market. It was so interesting getting to hear first-hand from the Architect the process of the restoration of the market and the challenges they faced. Medieval city walls were discovered in the market’s foundations and the building retains these features, it was fascinating to see how they have been restored and kept in such good condition. After taking 9 years to restore, the market is certainly a place to visit in Barcelona and sample lots of traditional food from the market stalls.
The rest of the day we all had free time to explore other parts of Barcelona before heading down to the beach for our final meal at Pez Vela. This was an outstanding meal to celebrate what a great trip it had been and what a fantastic team we all make.
Our time in Barcelona was short but sweet. It was a fantastic opportunity for us all to explore the city, visit some incredible landmarks and eat plenty of tapas, but most importantly allowing the team to bond and have lots of fun. Thank you to those who organised the very successful trip.