Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dinner "with" Guti, social engagements and a visit to Bilbao and the Guggenheim Museum

Eladio and I all dressed up in our finery to go to the Dircom Anniversary function. This photo should probably be entitled "Growing old gracefully"!
Hi again,

This week has been full of social engagements which of course always include eating, so all my good intentions to diet went out of the wind.

Last Sunday we went to dinner with Roberto and MariCarmen and tried out De María in Majadahonda. It’s part of a great Argentinian chain and is very popular with the so called beautiful people. So it wasn’t a surprise to see Guti, the famous Real Madrid football player, walk in flanked by at least 5 good looking women. We learned later that he had just scored Real Madrid’s goal number 5.000 so maybe dinner at De María was part of the celebration. The food was great as was the décor and location so we shall be going back.

Monday, apart from a quick visit to the office for a press interview amongst other things, brought with it an appointment and lunch with Jorge López. Jorge who used to be my account executive in Motorola and in Nokia when he was with the PR Agency, Perception and Image – my all time agency – has gone up the ladder professionally speaking and is now a Vice President of Lewis PR, a British PR agency specializing in technology accounts. I visited his new offices and was amazed to see how Lewis PR Madrid had grown so quickly since I last met them. I talked Jorge into inviting me to lunch, of course and we went to a lovely little French place called El Comité round the corner from his office.

Jorge was a Father for the third time last Wednesday, just two days after our encounter. The baby is a little girl called Livia, who is now the youngest sister of Leonor (named so before the Spanish Crown Prince had his little girl Leonor!) and Hugo. Congratulations Jorge and Vanessa from these pages!

On Tuesday I had lunch with another Jorge, this time from a magazine called Telefonía y Comunicaciones. Pilar, his partner joined us and we had a good old chat around a table at one of my favourite places, Aspen in La Moraleja.

On Wednesday I was invited to attend the 15th anniversary dinner of Dircom, the Spanish Association of Communications Directors, and I took Eladio along.
It was to be a very smart occasion so we had to go in our best finery which meant of course taking out Eladio’s “wedding and funeral suit” from his wardrobe!

My expectations for this association have always been quite low but recently they have gone up in my estimation due mainly to the outing organised to La Rioja, the letter sent to the Financial Times on the “PIGs” issue and actually also by the event on Wednesday evening. To demonstrate their pull they were able to garner the presence of people like Emilio Botín, the President of Banco Santander, as well as the Mayoress of Valencia, Rita Barbera; event if the speeches were a little too long.
The Dircom party Invitation
It was held at the gardens of the Canal de Isabel II Water Company Foundation just off Plaza Castilla. The night was starlit and the temperature perfect so the event gained strength of course. Everybody and anybody from the media world was there and it was great to say hello to old friends like Rose de la Pascua. It was organised by my PR Agency, Ketchum who are not that well known for doing great events but they made quite a good job of Wednesday. I recognised 2 of my own trademarks there which were the Mojitos cocktail bar and also the photo call with printed photos to take home.

And on Thursday we took off to Bilbao by car. I had to be there for the opening of our first shop in Bilbao which actually coincided with our announcement of 100 Yoigo shops all over Spain in less than 3 months. We actually took the wrong road after Burgos and managed somehow to go over a mountain pass over the N640 in fog and only just get to our hotel on time for my event. We booked in to the Hotel López de Haro and were given, what turned out to be, a rather disappointing room and the only one that hadn’t been renovated.

At our event I was to be reunited with Carlos Zahumenszky, a journalist friend from my Nokia days. He works for El Correo Español, for their blog and for the radio station, Punto Radio.
The shop opening in Bilbao.
I took Friday off to explore Bilbao. We hadn’t actually planned to visit Bilbao’s main attraction, the Guggenheim Museum as we are not very much into modern art and I am no Frank Gehry fan. However as it rained that was really the only option. As it turned out I was very pleasantly surprised.
Me outside the Guggenheim Museum
"Puppy" the giant flower statue outside the Guggenheim museum which has become a symbol of Bilbao.
I actually thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition, laughed at the solid white or black paintings with nothing else on them, walked in between Juan Muñoz’s statues in his “Many Times” exhibit and walked out smiling thoroughly infected by all the same smiling men in it.
Many Times by Juan Muñoz
Chased away by the rain, we left Bilbao and stopped for lunch at a place we found in the Campsa Guide called Bideko which is sort of near Llodio. It was great place but full of people and we ended up finishing lunch at about 16.30!! How Spanish that is!
The Bideko restaurant, a typical Basque country house.
You can see all the photos of that visit on the album I have posted in Facebook

As usual coming home feels like returning to the best place on earth. The weekend has been quiet. My Father is having trouble with his feet and can hardly walk which of course worries us. Suzy who is in post re-sit exam mode has been missing most of the weekend thanks to heavy socialising. I woke her up today at 14.45 for lunch and she is sleeping again now as I write at 18.30!!

Oli has been busy at work. Yesterday Spanish TV broadcast the documentary on the infamous Spanish prison Carabanchel she had been working on and Eladio, my Father and I had big smiles on our faces as we saw her name up with the credits at the end. She was at work all day yesterday, Saturday, editing the documentary and stayed on with her team to witness its broadcasting during the Informe Semanal programme.

It is poor Aunty Masha's birthday today and as I cannot forget her last words of "don't forget me" when we saw her in August, I sent her a lovely bunch of flowers through Interflora. She was very very grateful and called me a "good girl" which actually made me feel even more guilty.

Next week will be Eladio’s birthday too which we will be celebrating at home in our usual manner. He and Oli are preparing a trip abroad the following week. Oli has some time off at the end of September and needs a break. It looks like the destination maybe Istanbul.

What else will next week bring I wonder? Well we will all have to wait and see in next week’s post.

Cheers till then,


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