In a few days, I’m heading to Barcelona for Integrated Systems Europe (ISE 2024), and I’m beyond excited. Despite the grueling four days of walking miles on end on a concrete floor, I love our industry shows. After meeting with manufacturers (every 30 minutes, every day), learning about new technologies, gaining a better understanding of company roadmaps, networking, and seeing industry friends, I return entirely energized.
I have decided that I will always stay in Barcelona through Sunday and enjoy the city. I hope you get some extra time, too.
Below are some bits of information based on my experience.
Download the official show app for ISE 2024. It comes in handy.
Download and print your badge before you leave. That’s not a tip. You need to print your own badge.
Fair warning! Leave your hotel room well ahead of your first meeting. You might be in line for an hour to get into the Fira Barcelona, Gran Vía Venue, and they’re expecting an even larger attendance this year. Click here for the location and opening hours.
Tip of the day! The layout of the Fira Barcelona, Gran Vía Venue is nicely organized but still enormous. It’s certainly a welcomed departure from that rabbit warren at the RAI in Amsterdam. Look at the show floorplan and locate the escalators to the second floor. It’s not too crowded up there, and people movers can quickly deliver you between most halls.
Now, if you have some free time to explore this wonderful city, here are a few of my favorites.
As they say, "When in Barcelona …"
If you only have time to visit one of Antoni Gaudí’s eclectic buildings or installations, for many reasons, I highly recommend Casa Batlló. The amazing architecture and design notwithstanding, Casa Batlló is an AV persons candy store. Augmented reality adds an engaging layer to the tour, artful projections and lighting add intrigue, and you end the tour in The House of Magic, a spectacular immersive experience with LEDs covering every surface.
La Boqueria Market (Las Ramblas Market) is a feast for the eyes and stomach. I wouldn’t miss this vibrant and bustling experience.
Around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, you’ll find me at El Quim de La Boqueria. I’ll be ordering the same epicurean delights I’ve had two years in a row. I’ll let the photos tell the story.
If you could only go to one architectural marvel, I’d recommend the Sagrada Família. Skip the line and buy tickets online. At every turn, every detail of the nave, the way the stained-glass paints color on the cement arches, the stairs, absolutely everything about this structure is awe-inspiring. Plan on spending at least a couple of hours, and you’ll still need to return. A fun AV tidbit: the perfectly integrated column speakers are Bose Professional.
The Gothic Quarter and just north. Yes, it’s a tourist area, but that’s for good reason. Here you’ll see medieval streets, cool restaurants and shops. Continue walking north; you’ll find the Picasso Museum. It’s small but worth 45 minutes. There are many interesting shops and winding neighborhoods in that area that are worth the stroll.
Be aware. I don’t mean to end this on a bummer, but Barcelona earned the top spot from several travel sites as the worst pickpocket location in Europe. A waiter at a restaurant quickly approached me when I placed my phone on the table and told me not ever to let my phone out of my hand. Barcelona is a fantastic city worth exploring. Just be smart.
I look forward to seeing you next week!