Interested in the people behind the skiing, sailing, and traveling adventures? This week’s blog post kicks off a new series: a spotlight on our Lifestyle Barcelona team. We’re going to bring you a series of posts that explores the men and women who design, arrange, and carry out the Lifestyle Barcelona experiences. Whether you’re into water activities or tapas tours in Barcelona, this is the team that puts your adventures together.
To kick things off, we’re going to start with one of the coolest ladies around: international travel expert Iciar Algorri. As the Lifestyle Barcelona Groups and Hospitality Manager, it’s Iciar’s job to make sure that each client feels like he or she is in the most capable hands. As a fan of flash mobs and Barcelona, she fits right in around the office.
Although now Iciar loves Barcelona, she isn’t a Catalonia native. From Tijuana, Mexico, Iciar’s passion for Spain was first sparked when she studied abroad in Florence, Italy. As her father is a native of the Basque Country, Iciar had thought for a while of living and studying in Spain.
“At twenty-three years old, there is not much to lose and everything to gain,” she says of her dilemma. She solved it by going home to Mexico for a visit.
There, Iciar talked through her options with her mother. Although living an ocean away is difficult for any parent, Iciar calls her mother her “biggest fan,” who has always supported her dreams and abilities. While her daughter was struck through with indecision, Iciar’s mother gifted her a vintage tourism book on Barcelona. “Why not?” her mother said.
That was twelve years ago. Since moving to Barcelona, Iciar has explored the expat puzzle of discovering a city twice: first as a tourist, and then as a long-term resident. Her outsider-turned-insider perspective gives her a unique advantage while she plans trips for her clients, since she knows both what activities are exciting to tourists and what activities are underrated no matter how long you’ve lived in one place. After almost two years with Lifestyle Barcelona, she has become one of our experts.
“My relationship with [my] clients is very close,” Iciar says. “They give me the opportunity to help and to create the best experiences in their life, and being able to do that gives me an enormous personal and professional satisfaction.”
Iciar also adds that she doesn’t just enjoy arranging activities and group adventures for Lifestyle Barcelona; there’s more to it. “Not only what we do day by day,” she explains, “but also… we are always looking for new experiences to offer, since the company is open to change.”
Of course, it helps that Iciar enjoys the activities that Lifestyle Barcelona offers—because she likes the activities, she can speak knowledgeably about which ones to suggest to which clients. While she says that she loves “all of the activities,” she admits that “if I need to choose, I would say that the sailing activities are my favorites.”
True to form, when I ask her what her perfect day in Barcelona would be, she has two answers.
In the summer, she says, “[I would take] a sailboat for a couple hours, make a stop for a swim in the gorgeous mediterranean, play with all the water toys available—[like] jet skis, the banana boat, fly fish, crazy sofa, and parasailing, etc—and then finish on a terrace overlooking the sea, eating tapas.”
Not bad. Her perfect winter day? Even better, if that’s possible.
“[I would] take an early hot air balloon ride and go where the wind takes me—such a beautiful and powerful feeling. Once I have finished [I’ll have] a Catalan brunch in the countryside.”
It sounds pretty perfect to me. Iciar knows all the ins and outs of planning activities, getaways, and more; it also seems like she knows all the ins and outs of the city, too. That’s not for nothing, either.
“I came here full of dreams with my backpack and a suitcase,” Iciar says. After arriving at the Prat airport, she took the shuttle into the center of the city. Although she wasn’t quite sure yet where to go in Barcelona, she had her heart set on seeing the “mythical Las Ramblas” first thing. But, being disoriented in an unfamiliar city after a long flight, she took one street too far and wound up on the wrong road. This one, she says, held no “mimes, nor artists, neither flowers. Only cars and buildings.”
It wasn’t at all what she had imagined. Disappointed, Iciar decided to keep walking, to see if maybe she would stumble across the Las Ramblas of her book. Instead she found something better: the bright blue Mediterranean Sea.
“It was there that I knew it was where I wanted to be,” she says. “Barcelona is a city full of life that brings all the opportunities to succeed,” she says. Now an expert on things to do in Barcelona, it seems like Iciar has already succeeded in unwrapping what makes the city such a special place.
Interested in one of these exciting activities? Check out our list of available adventures right here.