Barcelona y Madrid

The past two weeks have been intense and exhausting and exciting and filled with way too much stuff in the best way.

My colleague, Pam Kocke, and I set out for Spain to help promote our new Happiness Engineer (ES) position at Automattic. (As always, we’re hiring!) We started out in Barcelona where we spoke with the WooCommerce Barcelona meetup on our first night and learned that jet lag makes you fearless. The next day, we had a chance to chat with the folks from the Barcelona WordPress meetup to talk some more about customer support. (Can you tell we like customer support?!)

Of course, we managed to fit a bit of sight seeing into our trip, too. On our first day, we dropped our bags in a rental locker – a thing I didn’t know existed – because we couldn’t check into our Airbnb until the late afternoon. We walked over to the beach, had a lovely lunch, and took in a bit of the Spanish sun. Later on, we walked some more, had some more food, and pastry, and beer, and then ate a lovely and super, super late dinner at around 10pm since my body apparently remembered how Spain works from last year.

The next day, we capped off our second speaking event with a trip to Sagrada Familia, one of Gaudí’s ongoing masterpieces. It’s unlike any church I’ve ever seen. All of the structures are so round, so organic looking, and it’s so colorful. I love how it seems to play with the architecture around it and the capacity for growth and change inherent in the style.

The stairs were terrifying though.

The next day, we hopped on the train to Madrid, which looked something like this.

#Barcelona 🚊 #Madrid

A post shared by Erica (@ericavarlese) on

We ordered lunch on the train in the adorable cafe car. The funny thing is that the windows were about shoulder height, but there weren’t any seats to eat at, just standing, so we were all hunched over trying to take in the view while munching away.

Right away, we went over to the Centro de Arte de Reina Sofia because I knew I couldn’t leave Madrid without seeing Guernica first. My absolute favorite time period for art is around WWI and WWII during the Dadaist and surrealist heyday. (I have a framed photograph of a bunch of dadaists in weird hats performing abstract poetry I used to keep on my bedside table. I’m committed.) I loved this museum and, given the opportunity, could totally spend days in here.

The next day, we worked from Google Campus Madrid with two of our coworkers. The best part of working for a remote company is that there’s almost always someone nearby, wherever you travel. It was a great, free space with fast internet and very friendly people. If I lived in Madrid, I’d totally be there most days.

Later on, we met up with some folks from Roam.co for dinner. I booked a stay at Roam Ubud which I’m super excited about, so it was great to have the opportunity to meet some of the Roamies who are staying in the new Madrid location. The building was gorgeous, and everyone was so friendly. After, we made a pit stop at San Ginés which was, randomly, suggested to me by one of the guys at my local Apple store when he asked why I was buying a new adapter kit. I don’t remember his name, but THANK YOU.

(^ Just look at that happy traveler face! ^ )

We finished up our stay in Madrid with far too many kilometers walked, far too much food eaten, and lots and lots of tapas. And Pam got a ham cone, for which I’m very happy for her even though I’m vegetarian. I knew that Vienna would have me covered on the pastry front for our next stop. Plus, can I just say olives? Cheese? Bread? Tomatoes? CHURROS?

You got my back, Spain, I know you do.

Now that I’ve been to three cities in Spain and can actually make comparisons, I think Madrid won my heart. I’m sorry that this is going to sound like a back-handed compliment, but it reminded me of Naples, if Naples were, well, clean and a little more organized. And Naples is one of my favorite cities (I don’t care what anyone else says) so basically if you throw a whole bunch of chaos and romanticism and good food together, I’ll probably want to live in your city. Good job, Madrid. Good job.

Author: Erica V.

Always seriously joking and rambunctiously soft-spoken.

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