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Tuesday July 29, 2008
05:45 PM

European Perl Tour: Barcelona

[ #37049 ]

Now that OSCON is over, I continue working backward through my European Perl Tour. Before I went to the Portuguese Perl Workshop, I was in Barcelona to visit the local Perl Mongers and to give my "Mastering Perl" tutorial.

I didn't know much about Barcelona before I got on the plane to go there; that's when I pulled out the Barcelona book to see what was where. I knew that Barcelona is on the Mediterranean, it is in Spain, and the Olympics were held there. I didn't need to know much more because the Barcelona Perl Mongers, mostly Francesc Guasch, took care of the rest for me. The best part of any visit to a user group is meeting new people, so I wasn't so concerned about the other stuff.

On May 29, my first day in Barcelona, I spoke at the Barcelona.pm meeting. Several of the local Mongers met me at my hotel and we walked to Barcelona University , a beautiful collection of buildings. That was my first taste of Barcelona architecture, and over the next week I'd see a lot more. The Barcelona.pm JAPH even encodes some of that architectural history:

$_=q;Barcelona Perl Mongers;,$/=y,gaudi,,,;map$,+=(split//)*(-1)**$|++ ,(split)[.11_09,1.714];$.=''!~m~erce~;$"=y,catalunya,,,$;=y,rambles,,, $*=$/^$.;$:=$.+length,$@=$***$**$/**$*%$:,$%=$/*$"-$*;print+chr($_<0xA ?$.."$[$_":m:^$.:?$..$_:$_)for($**$**$/*$",$"*$@+$**$/,$**$,,$***$,,$/ *$,,$;,$***$/,$,*$/,$.<<$,,$%-$*,$"+$/,$***$,,(($,*$*)**$*)-$/,$***$/, $@+$/,$:-($/**$*),$.,$:+$"+$*,$.<<$*,$,**$/-$:-$,,exp$:/$,,$",$.,$"*$* ,$***$,,log$.,$.,-$/+$"*$,,$/+$"*$;,$.,++$@,$***($/&=$/+Barcelona_pm))

I think I was supposed to talk about Perl 6, but I had lapsed in keeping up with Perl 6 for a couple of months, so I gave the audience a choice of any of my previous talks. I think I finally gave my MyCPAN talk.

After my talk, I see the real value of Bracelona for programmers: dinner starts at 11pm! It wasn't just the Perl Mongers going out late, either. All of Barcelona is set up for people like me who want to stay up all night. Indeed, try to get a table outdoors at midnight and you'll have to wait because there is still a queue. Sadly, the tapas was so good and available almost anywhere that I had little motivation to try anything else.

After that night, I was mostly on my own until I was going to give my Mastering Perl tutorial later in the week. I had plenty of time to explore. You can't walk down a street in Barcelona without running into something made by Antoni Gaudí. Some people even think George Lucas based the stormtrooper helmet design on some Gaudí chimneys.

Gaudí's La Sagrada Familia church, started in 1882, is still under contstruction. On the tour I heard a quote that any project manager would love to hear, going something like "My Client has plenty of time". Also, when asked why he took such pains to perfect the tops of the spires which no one would be able to see, he said something like "the Angels will see them". The QA department should like that attitude. Oh, and Barcelona.pm has a JAPH in the shape of La Sagrada Familia.

I gave my Mastering Perl tutorial at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. I was sponsored by the university and OasysSoft, and their sponsorship made the whole trip possible. I'd certainly like to visit more places if I could work for my keep.

After the tutorial, Francesc and Alex Muntada took me to a fancy lunch where we sampled plenty of local foods and I learned a lot about the history of each dish. Some of the stuff is certainly worth fighting for, such as the jamón ibérico (I think I got that right; I should have taken notes). I'm not much of a foodie, and even though I had been in France for about a month before coming to Barcelona, I liked the Barcelona food much better.

My next installation, covering my German Perl tour, should finish out my European travels.

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  • I'm very happy that you enjoyed the visit to Barcelona and that we could manage to arrange something for paying costs.

    The thing I value most about Perl people visiting us is that the social gatherings strengthen our community (locally and worldwide), we make new friends and learn cool things about Perl but also about other places.

    Thanks for coming :-)

    • And, if you are ever coming to Chicago, please let me know. We have some architecture here too, although not as pretty.

  • The story about the angels and the spires reminds me of a story about the chapel at my old school [wikipedia.org] - so that his successors couldn't screw up his master plan, the founder insisted that one end of the building be built to its full height while he was alive so that they would have no choice but to build the rest of it at full height too.
  • That chapel ended up being a very beautiful place, indeed.