Sep 12, 2017

Adventures of the Sangria Familia in Barcelona

Two hundred Kiwis, sixty-five days, one fabulous villa.

I was lucky enough to experience the magic of the Spanish summer this year in Barcelona. A week in our villa is just one of many cool perks offered by our travel-obsessed company.

This tradition was started by the Product Team and we’ve since shared the love to all departments. In fact, the best part about the trip was bonding with Kiwis from all walks of life.

Look who paid us a visit from Slack — Michaela Bednarská

What I learnt in Barcelona is that we all strive for the same thing. Whether we write code or rescue passengers from airports, our hearts all pump the same hue of turquoise-indigo-blue.

I was there in the first week when “Mamča” Monica Reichlova took such great care of us. The villa was filled with priceless vases from ancient Chinese dynasties, one-of-a-kind antiques and a couch resembling Marilyn Monroe’s lips. All the expensive stuff went straight under the stairs to prevent disaster.

We got to have roomies for the week and it was just like being back at university. As the last one to arrive, I had to shack up with “Strajk” the giant and share a double bed with him. I was just glad that he’s more of a Frontend Developer.

The heat in Catalonia was so intense that we did all our brainstorming in bikinis and boardshorts. Some of our newly released features were coded from the pool, the beach and the jacuzzi.

We travel-tested the awesome new version of our mobile app and fixed some bugs in the process. I even got to spend some time with one of our founding fathers in the villa. I wondered whether I should ask him for his autograph but I got a selfie instead.

When we weren’t working, we went on some great adventures. We climbed cliffs, rented scooters and pulled off the perfect somersaults. During the weekend, I accidentally ended up on a nude beach — an experience I won’t forget in a hurry.

Las Ramblas rambling

To me, one day in particular stands out. It was when we all went out on the town together. Exploring the wonders of Barcelona is best experienced in a large, loud group of Kiwis.

To be honest, I hadn’t heard of Gaudi until I was standing before one of his bizarre buildings on Las Ramblas, together with a billion other tourists. He must have been very special if people are still working for him — nearly a hundred years since his promotion upstairs.

A skateboarding dad on Las Ramblas — Alan Whitfield

After racking up many miles for our company’s walking competition, we’d worked up an appetite. We found a tapas bar and invested wisely in Spanish cuisine, mojito and sangria. By the time we finally made it to the magical fountains, we were in the right mood to appreciate them. I think the flying fidget spinners were almost as impressive as the fountains themselves.

Someone texted us a photo: we’d been given the gift of a fridge filled with cava. We decided to end the sightseeing right there and head home to help them drink some of it. On the way, we watched the most monumental breakdancing of all time. I was so impressed that I gave the dancers all of my money.

We arrived back at the villa to find the rest of the group in action. They were throwing back those Spanish bubbles at a rapid rate! It was my last night with the Familia and we celebrated in style.

You really get to know each other when you experience something like we did in Barcelona. I’d do anything for my amigos.

The weather’s changing now that we’ve all returned home and the fields of sunflowers are starting to resemble an army of the dead. It’s time to prepare for a new season of mulled wine meetups and the company Christmas party. Winter is coming to the Czech Republic…

¿ Que pasó en España?

As a professional FAQ writer, I know the questions you’re all dying to ask.

What were the strangest moments?

  • Playing Counterstrajk at 3 am with water pistols and sunscreen.
  • The dance-off with Buddha from the fireplace.
  • Using a flame-throwing hair-dryer on the BBQ. Devs…

What were the tastiest beverages?

  • The Kiwijito.
  • Don Simon — we call him 60 Cent.
  • Our small sea of cava.

How many bottles of cava did you all drink?

  • We’d need to write an algorithm to figure that one out.

What was the soundtrack of the trip?

  • Despacito and Enrique: those amigos have us to thank for their 5 billion views this summer.
  • Look at this ‘graph — over and over and over…

Which was the best week to be there?

  • The first week #SangriaFamilia.
Some of the Sangria Familia heading to the supermercado — Alan Whitfield
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