Of course, the plan originally wasn't to overnight in Barcelona. Instead, thanks to our genius planning skills, we'd booked a room in Terragona. On the surface, it seemed a smart move. Terragona was conveniently located halfway between where we'd been touring -- Terres de l'Ebre -- and where we were were departing -- Barcelona. It would give us another chance to explore (albeit briefly) another coastal Catalonian town, as our flight out wasn't until mid-afternoon. Good theory.
Trouble started with an email from the property management company wanting to know when to expect us the next night. Astute readers will notice "property management company" and not "hotel" in the previous sentence. As it turns out, we'd managed to book an apartment. For a night. Huh. Guess that's a thing in Spain. And it's not the kind of an apartment with an onsite office. So they'd need to send someone to the management company with keys to let us in.
No worries, as we knew what time the bus would be getting into Barcelona the next day. We'd just need to work backwards from there, as we'd ask the bus driver to drop us off. This was a private tour, so it shouldn't be an issue as the bus drove right by Terragona on our way in.
Guess what it wouldn't be driving by on the way back? That's right. Tarragona. Tarragona was on the scenic coastal route, which we'd taken out when we were fresh and excited about our trip. They'd rightly assumed that a dozen tired, dirty, and well-fed travel bloggers had seen enough of coastal drive-bys and would want to get back to Barcelona quickly. True enough. Sucks for us.
OK then, we'd just hop a train at Barcelona back to Terragona, only about 75km away. There was a train stop just a few minutes walk from the apartment. Only... the train from Barcelona doesn't stop at Terragona. To get there we'd need to go an extra 75km, and then catch another train back that did stop. Which would put us in Terragona sometime around 1:00am. Suddenly, staying in Terragona seemed like a bad idea.
Not to worry. We'd call in reinforcements, having The Amazing Gemma (yes, that's her official name...now) from the Costa Brava tourism council nab us a room in Barcelona instead. Good plan, except there was a major football game in Barcelona. And everyone else from TBEX was overnighting there. And a big F1 race was in town. Guess what they were out of? You guessed it -- rooms.
But hey, are we not The Opportunistic Travelers? And are we not on a bus with other nice and friendly travel bloggers also staying in Barcelona? Surely we can bunk up and swap stories. Much to our chagrin, only one couple was staying in Barcelona that night. They called to see if we could get a room in their hotel. No, it was full. And there wasn't a pull-out in their room.
Luckily, The Amazing Gemma doesn't give up easily, calling in a favor from a friend of hers from the Hesperia Tower hotel, a convention-focused hotel near the airport. I'm not sure what favors were promised, but I'm pretty sure we were the first ever travel bloggers Hesperia Tower hotel has ever hosted.
Julia and her staff couldn't have been nicer. Our room on the 18th floor had an amazing view of the city. Tired and a little stiff from three days bus riding, we took full advantage of the hot tub and sauna at the Metropolitan Sports Club attached to the hotel. And after sleeping soundly in our cavernous, fully-apportioned room (the cake pops were fantastic!), we grabbed a light breakfast in the Tower Club and toured the property with Julia. The 360º views from the EVO (no, not kidding) lounge on top are simply stunning. The convention halls are huge with 18' ceilings I would have killed for a few decades ago when I was doing A/V work. And the 500+ theater is screaming for an Ignite Barcelona event!
A huge thanks to Julia for providing us more than just a place to sleep. The Hesperia Tower hotel was the perfect capstone to our first TBEX experience!