It has been a long month after my previous post on this blog. As we achieved an RTM (Release-To-Manufacturing) milestone with the Parallel Studio I decided to take some break and we spent a few days in Spain with my family. This was a first time for me to be there and I would definitively like to return. We could not see everything we hoped to – swine flu had adjusted our plans as we arrived there :-(.
In Europe, Spain is known to be affected largely enough by the developing financial crisis. Though I deem the crisis is for good overall, I am very sympathetic to people who might be affected by it. Unlike many optimists out there I believe that much worse is still ahead of us.
What was good to see is that Spain does a lot of things that are a right answer for this downturn. This started with relatively low trip prices which did not seem believable a year ago. To retain tourist traffic the consulate opens a multi-entry Shengen visa valid for 180 days. For a reasonable trip price we got an excellent 3* hotel near Barcelona, one block from the sea, which exceeded some Egyptian 5* hotels. Upon arrival we were given a full boarding though we only paid for HB, and the food was spectacular. As it's not yet a high season (and we normally try to take advantages of this) and preparing for the worse, sellers are very open to offer discounts. As an example, Port Aventura, an entertainment park was offering 50% discount giving 2 days ticket for the price of 1. My daughter was happy to enjoy this.
Consequences of a recent boom are still observed. Like many other countries, Spain fell a victim of a real estate bubble. In a main street of a tourist town where we stayed real estate agencies were met every 100m or even more frequently. More than a half did not show signs of life for all our stay. Some have just been left abandoned. Stopped constructions, even in lovely locations, even almost completed, were frequent. Sales ads on every (!) multi-apartment house along the entire beach, sometimes up to 10+ on each. Natural consequences of craziness. It's good that Spain started it earlier, this is yet to come in Russia.
Regarding sight seeing, we spent most of the days in Barcelona. Of course, (almost) all "must see" locations – The Gothic Castle, Sagrada de Familia, Gaudi buildings, Guel park, Rambla and many other things. We were impressed with St. Maria del Mar church which appeared so small from outside and that monumental inside with a big Rose above the entrance. We could not make the Picasso museum twice, so this remains at least one reason to return. We went another day to Figueres, the home town of Salvador Dali, where he established a museum in the building of a once burnt out theater. What a special man ! His will was to get buried between two lavatory pans and it was fulfilled – his grave is under two working toilets in the museum. As we were walking through the museum I could not say it was too impressive (of course, tiredness added to that) but returning back home I re-thought and concluded that you can't assess a big thing when you are near it, you have to step back to realize it better.
So overall it was a great trip! If there are Spanish readers of this blog – you live in a great country, full of glory history and you have all the rights to be proud of it !
As for me, I returned back to work and we are now full steam ahead for new challenges and projects. I try to find some time to keep on developing CAD Exchanger. There are some interesting findings in that development so I hope to post some of them here.
Take care everyone.