08 November 2012

Architects and designers, wanna go to Spain?


Tile of Spain is running a contest they're calling Passport to Creativity. Four credentialed designers and or architects will be selected to accompany the Tile of Spain team from the US and Spain as well as six journalists on a week-long immersion in all things Spain. The trip will end in Valencia when everyone on the Passport of Creativity tour will attend Cevisama, one of Europe's (and therefor the world's) largest tile and bath trade shows. The four architects and or designers will earn 4 CEUs in addition to winning an all-expense-paid trip to Spain.

Entering takes just a few moments and you can find an entry form here. Hurry though, the deadline's December 3rd, 2012. Be warned, Spain bites deep and you'll come away from a trip like this a different person. I did at any rate.


Nearly two years ago, I boarded a plane in Tampa and I was bound for Madrid. I'd been selected to be a part of the press corps for Tile of Spain's "Reign in Spain" tour. My week in Spain as a guest of the Spanish Ceramics Industry and the Spanish Trade Commission was something I'll never forget. We were treated like royalty and in a country that still has a monarch, that's really saying something.



Though it was a press tour and though I was only there for a week, I came away from that experience with a far deeper understanding of the Spanish people and their culture than I'd had before I arrived. Between factory tours, a massive trade show, and some of the most extravagant meals I've ever eaten, I got to know our hosts from the Spanish embassy. I bonded with my fellow journalists in the press corps and the winners of that year's contest in ways I hadn't expected to. Our shared experiences in Spain more or less cemented us together and I've stayed in touch with most of those folks.



Wandering down the cobblestone streets of Valencia and Zaragoza in the wee hours with new Spanish friends and the conversations we had will stay with me for the rest of my life. The chance to sit and compare notes with people from other countries on their home turf is why I love to travel so much.



Spain's financial woes were just becoming clear while I was there and the truth of the matter was a bit difficult to come by in the US. So I sat in a hotel lobby in Valencia with the Spanish Trade Commissioner and we talked about it until around four in the morning. He explained to me what was really going on and further, he told me the story of modern Spain from the perspective of a man who lived through Spain's transition from Fascism to a Parliamentary Democracy.


Those experiences aren't something you get on a package tour to Barcelona or Málaga.


In that too-short week I saw some incredible sights, gorged myself on Spanish cuisine but more than any of that, I had extended to me Spanish hospitality and kindness.

I hope you enter this contest. Wonders await you on the Iberian Peninsula.

5 comments:

  1. I went on that trip with Paul and I heartily agree with all of his comments. This was a great event, I learned more than I thought I would - about a country, its people and their passions. It may sound cliche to say this trip changed my life - but I would be doing everyone associated with that trip an injustice because that's exactly what happened.

    Think I could enter again??

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  2. Go for it Bob! I'm no stranger to junkets and press tours but that trip stands out for a host of reasons. Not the least of which was the chance to get some hang time with you Bob.

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  3. Thanks, I know someone who would love to go to Spain for this. I was in Europe not too long a go and the Architecture is amazing... there is nothing like Europe for that. My designer was there she has pics here I think http://www.studioboise.com/

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  4. I want to go to Spain now!

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  5. Keep it in mind for next year!

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