Tag Archives: spain

The Barcelona crowd-pullers.

Barcelona. It’s been a while since my last visit here, and even longer since I was at the Mobile World Congress – that was back in 2012, or four years ago. Those who view that as a sin, forgive me. And yes, I do consider it a sin. Having said that, it’s rather amusing to read through some of my old travel tales!

But enough nostalgia – let me get back to the present day and continue my story —>

The exhibition has changed a lot over the last four years. It used to be a very important event, albeit mobile/smartphone-centric with a local feel to it. Now it has grown into a global mega-exhibition comparable in scale to CES Las Vegas or the massive CeBIT exhibition in Hannover … or how it used to be. Unfortunately, CeBIT has – for some reason, its international participants have gone elsewhere. The good old mega-CeBIT has stopped speaking in all the languages of the world, and is now a distinctly German-language IT exhibition, which is a pity.

OK, enough pessimism. It’s time for me to turn on my caps lock voice.

The Barcelona show is now something else! There are eight huge pavilions, nearly all jam-packed with booths and crowds of visitors milling around the exhibitions. It feels really hot, in the good sense of the word.

We are also on show here:

Read on: I feel nostalgic…

The eyes of the Earth.

How does Planet Earth look out at, er, the world [sic.]; I mean, where are its eyes?

That’s right – its telescopes!

Telescopes come in different types and shapes and sizes and uses: there are radio/gamma telescopes, assorted space telescopes, and also optical telescopes – which measure more than a meter in diameter. Of the latter there are just several dozen or maybe just over a hundred in the world. However, there are a lot fewer suitable locations for them; in fact – just three. There’s Hawaii (been), Atacama Desert in northern Chile (haven’t been yet), and the Canary Islands (was there just the other week). All three spots have plenty of clean, dry air and stable weather conditions and are well away from the glare of civilization, aka – ideal astro-climatic conditions.

While on Tenerife last week, after the SAS-2016 conference we decided to go have a look at these large telescopes. We reckoned we might as well since we were there, and hopefully have a chat with the astronomers/astrophysicists, have a feel of the kit, and take the usual slew of snaps (where it’s allowed; and it turned out that it was allowed practically everywhere:).

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Read on: Great telescopic plans…

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

Every February several hundred of the world’s top IT security experts gather in a sunny beach resort, be it in the Americas, Europe, Asia, or just off the coast of Western Africa. But they don’t go for the sun, per se. Or the beach. Or the beach-bar cocktails. They go… to fight cyber-swine! At least, that’s what they attempt to tell their loved ones when they disappear for a week in Feb to this year’s chosen idyllic paradise.

And this year’s idyllic paradise was the Canary Islands – chosen for, you guessed it, the Security Analyst Summit (SAS), our annual special pow-wow for IT security gurus. SAS brings together InfoSec big guns from different companies, with different specializations, from all over the globe, to basically just chew the fat, sometimes formally – mostly informally – in air-conditioned basement conference halls – and on sun loungers on the beach (oops, the secret’s out for those loved ones:) – in order to help more folks understand the where and how and why of IT threats by exchanging expert know-how and experience.

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Read on: The world is NOT doomed…

How much per minute? The Spanish parking pricing conundrum.

Still in Spain, after Barca, we headed over to the city of Seville. We needed to park up the motor for a few hours, so drove to the parking lot in the airport. And that’s when we saw it: Absurdity with a capital A. Or so it seemed at first…

On the wall of the parking lot hangs this here price list:

909254_1000Qué?

No folks, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. And no, that hasn’t been Photoshopped. Those figures, though very unreal, are actually for real.

What? How? Why? Anyone have a clue?

Read on: The reality of the matter turned out to be much more prosaic…

Dead season – best season.

I finally get it.

The best time to travel around Europe is November!

All the great-weather tourists have long disappeared, and it’s a month until the Christmas/New year tourists will be back en masse. Yep – November is the perfect time of year for leisurely strolls along European streets and visiting (empty!) cathedrals, palaces and museums. Of course, the weather’s not super fine like in summer, but then Europe – especially southern Europe – doesn’t have a harsh northern climate anyway, so it’s perfectly doable.

Of course, you have to expect some rain, and you need to put a coat on… Big deal. A small price to pay for avoiding throngs of folks everywhere getting in your face, for not having to stand forever in endless lines, and not needing to get out of the way of pictures being taken by a zillion other tourists.

A.B. and I were lucky on this quick trip to Europe: We managed two hours walking gondoliering around Venice and a whole day strolling around Barcelona.

Venice

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Read on: Two hours in Venice and an evening in Barcelona…

The fog in Spain lies mainly in the plain.

Two mega-cars from Scuderia (a Challenge and a GT3) + a completely empty Aragon race track in Alcaniz, Spain + a fog thicker than school-dinner semolina = tragedy.

You drive in an exquisite bit of motorsport kit, but the pedal stays a good way off the metal. Visibility is down to silly meters, and you’re trying to get some decent speed up. Rather, you’d want to. But you’re not as silly as those meters… So, like I say… a tragedy.

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Read on: visibility superciliously silly…

Two weeks, six hotels, several cows, and two red-eyes.

Privyet everyone – from Moscow!

This last fortnight has been non-stop darting about the globe for me. But now I’m back in pleasantly sunny Moscow and the pace has eased off just a little… which has given me some time to put fingers to keyboard and come up with this short summary of the previous two weeks.

In all, six cities were taken in: Washington, D.C., London, Munich, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Barcelona. Six hotels, six flights. Three conferences, seven speeches, dozens of interviews, and loads of very interesting meetings.

The last event was our European Partner Conference in Barcelona – at the stylish and hard-partying W Hotel on the shore of the warm Med with its nice long beach (must say, I’d never experienced the beach in Barca even though I’ve been here an untold number of times). We managed to take a dip in the sea and chill on the beach only after dusk as we had no time during the day. The beach was still in full tourist mode at night though, so the atmosphere was nice and vibrant. Advice: if ever in Barca, don’t miss out the beach.

Barcelona got some gorgeous beachesParty city + party beach = Barca

More: Three curious items…