I just returned from four days in Barcelona, Spain, with these lovely people. With virtually no internet connectivity, I missed posting yesterday and the day before. (Sorry!) I still have some things to say about logistics, but this trip is so fresh on my mind that I’m going to share just a little thought tonight.

Background:  this was a work trip for Bill and some of his executives, the European trade show. All the wives but one (happily, eight months pregnant, but also sad because she couldn’t travel) tagged along, and we arrived a couple of days before the show for sight-seeing and fun. Completely unrelated to travel, we couldn’t have planned a better team-building exercise.

Barcelona is an utterly charming city. I’d been there before but had kind of forgotten how completely lovely she is. We were able to have so much more fun by doing this one thing:

We adopted the local customs of rising, meals and bedtime.

We rose late, by American standards, eating breakfast from 9:30-10:30. We would visit a cathedral or take a tour, and not have lunch until 1:30, 2 or even 3 p.m. We might duck in somewhere for a light snack around 6 p.m., but dinner was never before 8:30, and one night our reservations were for 10!  This meant strolling home on crowded streets at midnight or even later.

We didn’t “fight” with the local routines that mean closed restaurants at noon and we enjoyed being part of the lively chatter in restaurants that were open so much later than at home. And by being out late we even hopped into a club on the beach for some dancing–shoulder to shoulder with happy locals. If I had stuck to my usual time for dinner, I would have been in bed long before that dance party had even started. That would have been such a miss!

Of course this was a bunch of adults, but you might be surprised that not everyone, even in our little group, found this to be easy. But we were all glad we had tried it. I’ve had similar experiences with my kids, too, and discovered (among other things) the power of a well-timed granola bar.

I’m still deep into jet lag so I’m going to call it a day on this post. I’d love to hear how you have succeeded when you’ve taken on the native customs–or have you ever resisted it and had it turn out horribly?!