We went on our staff night out last weekend – to Barcelona! I went with eight colleagues, 2 men and 6 women. It was nice to go away with different people, who I otherwise only usually see in my office. I didn’t take OJ, as he doesn’t have a passport, it wouldn’t be very accessible and I didn’t need him anyway. I had eight other human guide dogs for the weekend who did a great job. He followed me to the door when I was leaving and didn’t seem too impressed, but he had a relaxing weekend without me.
We flew from Belfast to Barcelona at 3 PM. The flight was almost 2 and a half hours long and they are an hour ahead of Irish time. Our hotel was a 30 minute bus journey and 2 short trips on the metro from the airport. The hotel was small and compact but exactly what we needed.
We had two lovely dinners, followed by drinks in a few bars each night. On Saturday some of us did the bus tour around the city, passing lots of cathedrals and the huge football stadium. Everybody wore headphones on the bus, so it meant that somebody didn’t have to explain everything to me. It rained a lot so we spent most of the time on the bus. It was very cold too.
On Sunday morning some people went to an art gallery, but I was more interested in getting a chocolate woffle, which was very sickening but very nice! The coffee was always very strong and the tea was disgusting. I bought Jack a Barcelona football but that was the only thing I bought. The shops were great but I didn’t have much space to bring things back and I wasn’t in the mood for clothes shopping.
I didn’t find the people very pleasant there. They weren’t all rude, but some seemed to be unsure how to act around blind people. When I was paying for the football in a Barca suveneer shop the man (who could obviously see me holding my money towards him) called one of the girls to help me. She then had to take the money out of my hand and give it to him, and he passed the change to her as well. A similar thing happened in the airport when I had to give them my boarding card or passport. The girl taking me through security almost lifted me into a chair to sit and wait for the others. I’m glad I didn’t take OJ, as God knows what confusion that would have caused.
We got back to Derry at around 9 on Sunday night. The flights and buses were all on time which was nice. I really enjoyed the weekend. We had great fun and everybody got on well. The whole group seemed to have no problems taking me around, and a different person seemed to be guiding me every few hours. One of the main reasons that I love my job is because the staff are very sound.
It was back to business as usual on monday morning, and thankfully I wasn’t the only tired one in the office.


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