Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Champions League Tonight - Déjà vu?!

Talk about classic football games! Tonight sees the second night of a welcome return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League with FC Barcelona travelling to London and the Emirates to face Arsenal in a repeat fixture from last year. Gone are the paper stories this year of "Cesc coming home" and the like - perhaps fuelled by constant speculation that Real Madrid will be bidding for him (handily this morning's press has a story with Perez denying the fact).

Barcelona will be looking to regain the title of Champion of Europe after going out last year to Inter, the actual champions and Arsenal looking to avenge their defeat from last year, too. With neither team dipping into their debt ridden pockets to bolster squads in the January transfer window there is no reliance on a new addition to shine, rather the usual suspects will need to be on their game. It will surely be a show of the two football minds in reality - Arsene Wenger with his football philosophy of how he wants to play, and Barça actually playing that way without (seemingly) really trying. Messi has even come out to say the Barça players are scared of Walcott.

Lets hope for a great game and although I think Arsenal will really have to be on top of their game in every position to win over the two legs, they have a good chance with the home advantage tonight and I'd love them to win for the tension that the return leg in Barcelona will bring along with it. It's always better when a team just HAS to come out attacking as they have no other option, than a cagey draw playing for the breakaway goal like so many of last year's world cup matches. Nobody wants to lose and sometimes "football" can be sacrificed for to that end. Prediction? OK, I'll say 2-1.

Coming to the city this month? There are some great last minute Barcelona apartment deals to take advantage of. Or how about the return leg of the Arsenal match here in Barcelona on 8th March?!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The State of World Mobile in 2011

This month, as always, sees the city of Barcelona as host to the most important minds and businesses in the Mobile Phone Industry. Growth of smart phones has increased enormously over the past few years alone, and the huge International companies showcase their wares in Barcelona from the 14th to 17th February (for those of you planning a last minute Valentine's Break, you may want to think again as Barcelona as the destination!).

Barcelona Sights  - World Mobile Congress 2011

Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, RIM Blackberry and Windows Mobile are all vying for your attention alongside Vodafone, A T & T, Telefonica, Ericsson, Yahoo, Twitter and many many more - the keynote speakers list this year reads like a who's who of current internet mobile technology. Facebook reaches millions upon millions of people: 500 million to be exact. And 200 million Facebook users are mobile, getting their Facebook fix from their Android, iPhone, and Windows devices. There's no doubting the market is huge.

Last year, much of the "wow" factor was taken by Google Goggles amazing translation tool and although that has quite possibly been bettered already, you can bet there will be another few rounds of applause in the App Planet this year, too.

The Congress has been injecting life into Barcelona's tourism industry since 2006, and is safe as host for the moment. However, with the bidding launched for 2013 onwards last summer you can bet that everyone involved with the congress is praying for a smooth running this year, given that the announcement is to be made "mid-20112 as to who will take the crown from then on. As usual with Barcelona, petty crime has been a problem in previous years, as well as hiked up hotel room prices (as of writing there was only ONE room available via the official website at the Barcelona W hotel at a cool 8,500 Euros per night!).

If you're coming to Barcelona this February, then consider apartments in Barcelona as a great alternative to hotel rooms. And for a quick look at the top sights, then check out this Barcelona On-line Guide.
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